We take an in-depth look at the buildup to Usman vs Masvidal 2 and what happened in their rematch?

UFC 261 was a monumental event in not just the company, but the live sports landscape in the USA. It marked the first time that fans would be invited back to the stadium, after public gathering restrictions due to the pandemic. The event would be headlined by a rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman.

Jorge Masvidal lost to Kamaru Usman at UFC 251
Kamaru Usman kicks Jorge Masvidal in their UFC welterweight championship fight during UFC 251 (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The pair had earlier met at UFC 251 when Masvidal stepped in as a last-minute replacement to Gilbert Burns. ‘Gamebred’ had a dreadful weight cut and showed up in the worst shape of his life. Usman managed to wrestle Jorge for five rounds and scored a unanimous decision victory. However, promise of a rematch was made inside the octagon after the fight concluded.

The pair would eventually meet at UFC 261 in a packed card and sold-out arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kamaru Usman viciously knocks out Jorge Masvidal

Usman had made a switch in gyms before his fight vs Gilbert Burns at UFC 258. Now training with Trevor Wittman at the ONX labs, Usman showed an impeccable and stellar improvement in his striking game, knocking Burns out in the third round.

Masvidal showed up at UFC 261 in probably the best shape of his life and was prepared for the wrestling onslaught of Usman. He began the fight taking the centre of the octagon almost immediately, and touching up Usman with some blitzing lead leg kicks.

Usman managed to take him down in the first round, but failed to do any damage much like their encounter in UFC 251. Masvidal was visibly fighting with a low guard stance, to stock takedown attempts and sprawl as Usman shoots. This opened up his defense and left his chin wide open.

Kamaru Usman saw an opening and made the perfect read by throwing some lead hand jabs to calculate Jorge’s counter. When he finally had the information dialled in, Usman closed the distance with a jab-feint and charged with a straight right down the pipe, that knocked Masvidal out dramatically. He followed up with a few punches, but his opponent was already out.

The highlight-reel knockout earned Usman the KO of the year award for 2021.

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