Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) to retain the welterweight title in the UFC 251 main event Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Masvidal attacked Usman as soon as the first round began, clearly hunting for a quick knockout. The challenger had his most success in that frame, but his efforts were enough to earn the round on only one judge's scorecard.
The rest of the fight was a dominant performance by the champion, who wore down Masvidal with clinch work and takedowns. Usman beat up the challenger with foot stomps, body shots, and shoulder bumps against the fence.
Masvidal gassed out midway through the fight, likely due to taking it on short notice and Usman's grueling style. He defended some of the champion's takedown attempts but "The Nigerian Nightmare" took down his opponent at will from the third round on.
It was the fight many expected from Usman - an accomplished wrestler going up against a dangerous striker.
Masvidal went for broke in the final seconds of the five-round headliner but failed to connect on any power shots.
With the victory, Usman tied former two-division champion Georges St-Pierre for the longest winning streak in UFC welterweight history (12), according to UFC Stats' Michael Carroll.
The 33-year-old also joined current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and former middleweight king Anderson Silva as the only fighters to start their Octagon career with 12 straight victories, according to MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn.
Masvidal, the BMF titleholder, saw his three-fight winning streak come to an end.