July 12 (UPI) -- Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 251 on Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
With the victory, Usman (17-1) retained his UFC welterweight title and remained unbeaten in the UFC. His 12 straight wins ties lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest active winning streak in the UFC and equals Georges St-Pierre for the longest winning streak in UFC welterweight history.
Usman outlasted a gassed Masvidal, who took the fight on a week's notice after Usman's scheduled opponent -- Gilbert Burns -- tested positive for the coronavirus. Burns was forced to withdraw from the fight due to the positive test result.
"[Masvidal] is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now," Usman said after the fight. "I had to switch gears and prepare for him on a week's notice. I had to make a mental shift because I trained for Gilbert. I had a completely different game plan."
Masvidal started out hot and pushed the pace in the first round, landing hard kicks to Usman's legs and body. Masvidal also landed multiple hard right hands, but Usman was never in danger.
Usman weathered Masvidal's early onslaught and began to take control of the bout in the second round. From that point on, Usman picked apart Masvidal in the clinch and took him down numerous times.
"There were some areas where I felt with a better training camp I could definitely surpass him," Masvidal said. "I think I showed a lot of my wrestling on six days' notice, that I'm not too easy to take down and to hold down on the ground. I made a lot of mistakes. I tried to fight in spots, because I felt that my gas tank wasn't the greatest."
This was Usman's second title defense. He beat Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 to win the welterweight belt and successfully defended it against Colby Covington at UFC 245 in December.
Masvidal (35-14) defeated Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz in an eight-month span last year to earn the title shot against Usman.
There were two other title bouts on the UFC 251 card. Alexander Volkanovski edged Max Holloway via split decision to retain the featherweight crown, while Petr Yan stopped Jose Aldo by TKO in the fifth round to win the vacant bantamweight title.
UFC 251 main card results:
Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)
Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO in fifth round
Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Amanda Ribas def. Paige VanZant via submission (armbar) in first round
UFC 251 prelims results:
Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir via KO in second round
Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry via submission (anaconda choke) in first round
Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)
UFC 251 early prelims results:
Marcin Tybura def. Maxim Grishin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Raulian Paiva def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Davey Grant def. Martin Day via KO in third round