Considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts
, Usman’s strong takedown defense staved off Covington’s challenges in the early rounds
. A bloodied Covington rallied in the third
, and an eye poke in the fifth from Usman temporarily paused the fight as medical staff tended to Covington
The fight was a rematch from two years ago at UFC
245, where Usman defeated Covington via a fifth-round technical knockout
) in his first title defense
Usman had since gone on to record three more victories — wins against Jorge Masvidal sandwiching a defeat of Gilbert Burns — while Covington beat fellow American Tyron Woodley in September 2020 in his only fight since facing Usman.
The other co-main event determined the women’s strawweight champion, as Rose Namajunas defended her title by defeating Zhang Weili in a split decision in a rematch from April. Namajunas had pulled off a stunning upset of Zhang in front of a home crowd at UFC 261 in Florida to take the title.
Rounding out the main cards, a front kick from Marlon Vera knocked out Frankie Edgar in the third round, ending their men’s bantamweight fight. Featherweight Shane Burgos won by unanimous decision over Billy Quarantillo, and Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler by unanimous decision in a sensational lightweight division bout.