Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington result plus Rose Namajunas and Justin Gaethje reaction tonight

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Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington again contested a classic for the UFC welterweight title on Saturday night, with Usman outpointing his rival to retain the belt against him for a second time.

Two years after Usman stopped Covington in the fifth round of one of the most competitive title fights in UFC history, the Nigerian-American again put the gold on the line against the Floridian this weekend. And in the main event of UFC 268, in a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City, Usman again overcome Covington in a thrilling encounter. The fight went to the judges’ scorecards and, although a draw was conceivable – even a narrow Covington victory – Usman was declared the winner via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

In the evening’s co-main event, strawweight Rose Namajunas also retained her title on points, beating Weili Zhang 48-47, 47-48, 49-46 for a split-decision victory. Earlier this year, Namajunas became a two-time strawweight champion by stopping Zhang via first-round head kick, but the Chinese star gave a much better account of herself in New York City, arguably unfortunate not to get the nod on the judges’ scorecards.

Earlier in the night, Justin Gaethje outpointed Michael Chandler, with the main-card opener somehow over-delivering. Gaethje’s meeting with fellow lightweight contender Chandler was expected by many fans to play out as fight of the night, yet somehow the contest was even more competitive and brutal than anticipated. A fine start by Chandler gave way to a second round in which the former Bellator champion was dropped by Gaethje, though Chandler would survive and go on to hurt his fellow American numerous times in a valiant losing effort.

Re-live updates from the UFC 268 prelims and main card, below.

UFC 268

  • Kamaru Usman (C) def. Colby Covington via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

  • Rose Namajunas (C) def. Weili Zhang via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)

  • Marlon Vera def. Frankie Edgar via third-round KO (front kick, 3:50)

  • Shane Burgos def. Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Alex Pereira def. Andreas Michailidis via second-round TKO (jumping knee, 0:18)

  • Ian Garry def. Jordan Williams via first-round KO (strikes, 4:59)

UFC 268 – Full report

06:31 , Alex Pattle

Kamaru Usman overcomes Colby Covington again in classic for welterweight title

UFC 268 – Full report

06:30 , Alex Pattle

UFC 268 – Usman def. Covington

06:25 , Alex Pattle

UFC 268 – Usman def. Covington

05:40 , Alex Pattle

Covington: “I had my moments, I wobbled him a couple of times, I just couldn’t capitalise. It was his night, he had a better night. Thank you to the first responders, military. Love me or hate me, I’m just getting started. I’ll be back in the gym on Monday. I don’t give a s*** if you hate me, I still love you.”

UFC 268 – Usman def. Covington

05:35 , Alex Pattle

Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

AND STILL!

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:34 , Alex Pattle

Indy Sport has Covington winning the final three rounds, but losing the first and suffering a 10-8 in Round 2.

That would make this fight a draw…

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:33 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

The action resumes with 30 seconds left on the clock. Body kicks by Covington.

He blocks a high kick from Usman.

They make it to the buzzer, and Covington appears to tell Usman that it’s all about “the money”.

“Nothing but love.”

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:31 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

Usman slips while retreating as Covington throws a head kick.

Covington chases the champion and grabs him against the fence.

“Colby” chants in MSG…

Nice elbow off the break for Covington. One minute left in this fight.

The action is paused for an eye poke on Covington.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:28 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

Usman punches to the body twice. Nice one-two from Covington, but Usman fires back!

Great combination from Covington with his back to the fence! And again, and he hurts Usman!!!

Covington, perhaps unwisely, shoots for a takedown, and Usman stuffs it and lies on top of his challenger.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:26 , Alex Pattle

Round 4

Usman with a couple of good body shots. More strikes landing up top for Covington. This is getting fun.

Strong left hook by Usman – it’s a long one.

Nice body kicks from Covington, and he hurts Usman with a left hand! And again!

Usman puts his head down and starts winging punches!

Covington grabs the champion against the fence and lands a couple of nice elbows! He finishes the frame with a fine punch, too!

A great round for Covington. As Indy Sport sees it, Covington has won the last two rounds, but Usman won the first two – and the second with a 10-8.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:22 , Alex Pattle

Round 4

Into the championship rounds.

Good left hand from Covington! He’s definitely improving. “Colby” chants. He’s still grinning.

Fierce body kick from Usman. Stiff jab by Covington. He then lands an uppercut and a hook!

A great spell for the challenger here!

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:19 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

The crowd boo a lull in the action, but the fighters then trade combinations!

Big body hook by Usman. Covington grins.

The challenger lands a series of punches, then grabs a body lock on Usman! He drags the champion along the fence and halfway down!

A huge moment for Covington late in the round! He might have stolen it!

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:17 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Covington sees a head kick blocked, then another.

Good left hook from Covington now! Usman shakes it off, though.

Usman blocks another head kick, but Covington finds a home for a straight punch.

Covington shoots for a takedown, but yet again it’s stuffed. Usman lies on his challenger and fires off body punches.

The pair stand.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:13 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Good right hook by Covington, who’s grinning at Usman.

Covington shoots for a takedown against the fence, but Usman keeps his challenger at bay.

Eventually they separate and are back in the centre of the Octagon.

A left hook drops Covington! Then Usman drops him again with the same punch!

Covington shoots for a takedown late in the round – denied! Can he make it to the buzzer?! YES, but only after absorbing a lot of punches to the body!

Covington is on borrowed time.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:10 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Usman blocks a high kick and lands a strong left hook – then another.

Low kick by Covington. He charges forward again with punches, purely so he can close distance and grab Usman.

He pushes the champion back to the fence but can’t keep Usman there.

The counter left hook is landing repeatedly for Usman.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:07 , Alex Pattle

We knew this already, but Usman clearly has the power and strength advantage. Covington’s cut appears to have come from a clash of heads.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:06 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Covington lands some clean overhands then evades an uppercut, but he’s caught with a hook.

Covington is cut already, bleeding down his cheek.

Round 1 is in the books and likely goes to Usman.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:05 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Usman still pressing forward. Covington steps forward with winging hooks off both sides. Neither lands.

Usman lands a punch against the fence, but Covington lands a counter, too.

Covington charges forward with punches, but he’s taken down immediately!!

The challenger jumps back to his feet. Usman catches a kick and strikes the body.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:03 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

No touch of gloves, unsurprisingly. We’re under way.

“Colby” chants. Usman in the centre, pressing forward. Covington cautious.

The challenger kicks high then punches to the body – both blocked.

Covington shoots for a single-leg takedown!!! Already more wrestling than in the first fight!

Usman stuffs it… The pair stand.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

05:01 , Alex Pattle

Bruce Buffer has taken care of the fighter introductions…

IT’S TIME!

Five rounds for the undisputed welterweight championship of the world!

Let’s go…

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

04:59 , Alex Pattle

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

04:58 , Alex Pattle

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

04:55 , Alex Pattle

Usman is 19-1 and has won 18 fights in a row.

Covington is 16-2, having won seven straight contests between his first defeat and his loss to Usman.

Former interim champion Covington is out first, to former WWE superstar Kurt Angle’s “You Suck” theme. Some in Madison Square Garden join in with the chant, but they seem to be behind the American really!

Now Nigerian-American Usman walks out to boos.

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

04:51 , Alex Pattle

Since their first meeting, Usman has fought and won three times, and Covington has competed once – also winning.

Usman outpointed Jorge Masvidal on ‘Fight Island’ last summer before stopping him in the second round with a vicious right hand this spring, those victories coming either side of a third-round finish against close friend and former teammate Gilbert Burns.

Meanwhile, it’s been 14 months since Covington dominated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, with ‘T-Wood’ eventually succumbing to a rib injury in the fifth round.

Which will pay off here: Usman’s activity, or Covington’s dedication to training specifically for this rematch?

UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington

04:47 , Alex Pattle

It’s main event time.

The evening’s final bout sees fierce rivals Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington battle for the welterweight title for a second time, following their all-time great contest two years ago.

In December 2019, champion Usman finished Covington in the fifth round after the two elite wrestlers put their usual gameplans aside to trade non-stop punches and kicks for the best part of 25 minutes.

Will we see another classic here? Will Usman get an earlier stoppage?

We’re about to find out.

UFC 268 – Namajunas def. Zhang

04:40 , Alex Pattle

Zhang is very gracious in defeat here. She arguably won that fight, but she’s not bitter at all.

UFC 268 – Namajunas def. Zhang

04:38 , Alex Pattle

Rose Namajunas (C) def. Weili Zhang via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46).

AND STILL!

Not how Indy Sport saw it, but certainly not a robbery by the champ!

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:36 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

Namajunas ends the fight on top!

There’s no doubt the champion took Rounds 4 and 5, but the first three were close…

Indy Sport gave them all to Zhang, meaning a 48-47 scorecard in favour of the challenger.

Will the judges see it the same way? Will Zhang regain the title? We’ll find out any moment now…

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:34 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

Zhang is again doing fairly well to limit any damage from Namajunas.

More “USA” chants.

The champion is still in control here, it’s just a question of whether she’s doing enough to win a close decision – or whether Zhang’s early slickness will prove to be enough.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:32 , Alex Pattle

Round 5

A brief pause early in the round, with Namajunas having started without her mouthguard.

Clean inside leg kick from Zhang. The challenger ducks under a hook and grabs Namajunas, but can’t do anything with the champion.

Huge takedown from Namajunas! How important could this be?

Good punches from Namajunas from above!

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:29 , Alex Pattle

“Hey, are you f*****g having fun?!” coach Trevor Wittman asks Namajunas.

Into the final round we go…

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:29 , Alex Pattle

Round 4

Namajunas turns well and ends up on top! “USA” chants.

She digs punches into Zhang’s body. Nice elbow by Zhang from the bottom, though!

The challenger is limiting Namajunas’ output as the clock ticks down.

Namajunas will take the round, and she either trails 3-1 heading into the final frame or is even at 2-2.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:26 , Alex Pattle

Round 4

Into the championship rounds. The first three were all close, but all won by Zhang as Indy Sport sees it.

Namajunas clips Zhang with a good right hand!

Zhang catches a kick and takes down the champion! Namajunas bounces back to her feet well!

Namajunas is finding increasing success with her right hand.

A scramble sees Zhang take Namajunas’ back on the feet. She weighs down on the champion, and now she gets hooks in…

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:23 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Namajunas clinches but can’t keep Zhang tied up.

She knocks Zhang off balance with a right hand! The challenger recovers well, however. That seemed to be a slip rather than a knockdown.

Namajunas is still holding the centre of the Octagon. She tags Zhang with a counter punch.

Zhang lands a heavy hook! She follows it with a beautiful takedown!

She’s trying to take the back late in the round… She ends up in mount, where she’ll end the round!

That was a very close round, but Zhang might have done enough to take it late on!

The challenger may already be 30-27 up…

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:20 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Hard to tell whether Zhang’s corner were telling her “1-1” or “one more” – i.e. one more round is enough to win this.

The women trade leg kicks, one minute into Round 3. Uneventful until this point.

Zhang wings a right hook, but it’s way off. Leg kick for Namajunas, then a right overhand.

Solid leg kick from Zhang, then one to the body!

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:16 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Left hand staggers Namajunas!! Zhang then catches a head kick and takes down the champion!

Namajunas is able to limit Zhang’s output, before getting to her feet.

Now Namajunas with a takedown against the fence!

It’s a bit too late in the round, though, and Zhang banks another.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:14 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Namajunas lands a leg kick then a straight punch in a flurry.

She flicks out a front kick to the head but misses.

HUGE right hand from Zhang! Namajunas eats it, then lands some good hooks!

Zhang misses with a head kick, steps in and gets caught with a counter punch!

Another leg kick by the challenger, and again the champion returns fire up top.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:11 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Another leg kick from Zhang, inside.

The challenger strangely falls over backward at the end of the round! Maybe a slip? Maybe an overreaction to a Namajunas movement?

Either way, Zhang takes Round 1.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:09 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Zhang with a huge punch from above! She tries for a couple more but can’t quite find the accuracy.

Great work from Namajunas to spring back to her feet!

Zhang lands a body kick off the break as the pair separate.

“USA” chants in MSG.

Straight punch and head kick by Zhang, but the latter doesn’t land clean.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:07 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Low kick by Zhang. Again, but it’s checked. Another lands.

Namajunas is pressing forward anyway, and she lands a good combination up top!

She blocks a head kick attempt.

Again Zhang lands a low kick, but Namajunas returns fire with another combination of punches to the head.

Zhang with a good takedown, though!

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:04 , Alex Pattle

The fighters touch gloves and we’re under way!

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:03 , Alex Pattle

Zhang’s defeat by Namajunas in April saw the Chinese star’s 21-fight win streak come to an end. She enters this bout with a 21-2 record.

Namajunas, meanwhile, is 10-4. She enters on the back of two straight victories.

Boos for Zhang in NYC.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

04:01 , Alex Pattle

Zhang out first, looking happy and relaxed. Now the champion Namajunas, looking focused – and a little nervous actually…

She repeatedly mouths “I’m the best,” the phrase she repeated during the fighter introductions in April, moments before she stopped Zhang.

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

03:57 , Alex Pattle

Namajunas is no stranger to a rematch.

The American dethroned Joanna Jedrzejczyk in this very building in 2017 with a first-round KO, before outpointing the Pole in their rematch – a five-round war.

Namajunas then lost the belt in 2019 after being dumped on her head by Jessica Andrade, but beat the Brazilian via decision in a close, three-round rematch.

Now, she rematches Zhang. If the trend is anything to take guidance from, this one should go much longer than the pair’s first meeting…

UFC 268 – Namajunas vs Zhang

03:51 , Alex Pattle

Next up is the co-main event!

Rose Namajunas defends her strawweight title against Weili Zhang.

Namajunas became a two-time champion in the division by stopping Zhang with a first-round head kick in April, and the Chinese star will herself look to regain the belt in this instant rematch.

UFC 268 – Vera def. Edgar

03:45 , Alex Pattle

Marlon Vera def. Frankie Edgar via third-round KO (front kick, 3:50).

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:44 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Lots of pressure from Vera in this round.

Edgar throwing combinations up top to try to keep his opponent at bay.

The American catches a kick and takes down Vera, who is right back to his feet and separating himself from Edgar.

OH! STOPPAGE!

Vera lands a beautiful front kick to the face and Edgar drops to the mat! Vera follows up with some clean strikes, and the fight is stopped!

Edgar is frustrated, but it was the right call.

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:38 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Vera grabs Edgar by the back of the head and lands a good knee to the face!

A back elbow appears to stun Edgar late in the round!

Edgar appeared to have that one in the bank, but his opponent came on strong late on…

The pair exchange stern words after the buzzer, and Vera puts his middle finger up at Edgar!

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:35 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Edgar with a right hook to the body and left hook to the head. Vera pressing forward anyway.

Edgar with a well-timed takedown! Again he’s on top, again Vera tries for some up-kicks…

Edgar back into Vera’s guard, but the Ecuadorian initiates a scramble and does so well to get free.

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:31 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Vera tries for some up-kicks… And lands a few! Great work.

Edgar drops back into his opponent’s guard, and that’s where he’ll end the round.

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:29 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Vera looks much taller here. Edgar shoots for a takedown but is denied.

Low kick from Vera; Edgar goes high with a combination. He follows it with a right straight.

Now Edgar kicks low. He secures a takedown this time but lands in a guillotine attempt from Vera.

Edgar pops his head out and begins to throw strikes from above. Nice elbows.

UFC 268 – Edgar vs Vera

03:20 , Alex Pattle

Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is in action next!

The 40-year-old previously dropped down to featherweight, before dropping down again to bantamweight.

The New Jersey native is 1-1 in the division, having won a split decision against Pedro Munhoz last year, before suffering a flying knee knockout defeat by Cory Sandhagen earlier this year – just 28 seconds into Round 1.

Edgar is up against Ecuadorian Marlon Vera here.

UFC 268 – Burgos def. Quarantillo

03:15 , Alex Pattle

Shane Burgos def. Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

A close contest that could have gone either way.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

03:13 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Quarantillo has done so well to make this competitive despite his leg issue. In fact, he might even steal this round!

It’s a close one, and likely decisive for this fight…

We’ll go to the judges’ scorecards.

A great contest.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

03:10 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Quarantillo’s left leg seems messed up. Burgos hasn’t thrown tons of low kicks, but he has landed some and executed some clever trips, too.

Quarantillo can barely stand! He knows he can’t trade with Burgos, so he pushes his opponent to the fence and tries to drag him to the mat.

Burgos escapes and brings the action back to the centre of the Octagon – but only briefly!

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

03:06 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Huge shots landing for both men!

Burgos has the greater power and has Quarantillo staggering and swinging wildly!

The crowd finally come to life!

Burgos might have stolen that round late on.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

03:05 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

The pair trade wide hooks. Burgos kicks low, inside.

Quarantillo gets ahold of his opponent again, but Burgos reverses the position against the fence.

The pair separate, and Burgos doesn’t quite fully extend on a head kick – it comes up slightly short.

Lots of punches being exchanged now! Very competitive. The significant strikes landed are almost even.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

02:59 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Burgos starts to land some fairly heavy hooks, leading Quarantillo to shoot for a single-leg takedown. Burgos defends it and breaks away.

Back to the centre of the Octagon, and Burgos hurts Quarantillo with an uppercut!

Quarantillo does well to stay composed, and he ends the round in control against the fence.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

02:57 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Quarantillo mixing it up nicely with punches and kicks to the body and head.

Burgos grabs his opponent and drives him to the fence. The crowd seem drained from that last fight…

Burgos with stamps to the feet of Quarantillo, who responds with knees to the body as the pair separate.

Terrific accuracy from Billy Q so far. He’s busted up Burgos’ nose somewhat with jabs.

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

02:55 , Alex Pattle

Burgos is 13-3; Quarantillo 16-3.

Burgos has lost his last two fights, while Quarantillo has lost just one of his last 10.

We’re under way…

UFC 268 – Burgos vs Quarantillo

02:50 , Alex Pattle

How do you follow that fight?

Well, to be fair, Shane Burgos often brings the action.

He’s in a featherweight meeting next, with grappling specialist Billy Quarantillo.

UFC 268 – Gaethje def. Chandler

02:45 , Alex Pattle

Gaethje: “Me and him are living in the wrong time. We should have been fighting to the death in a coliseum.”

UFC 268 – Gaethje def. Chandler

02:42 , Alex Pattle

Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).

Unreal fight.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:42 , Alex Pattle

The opponents, who had a bit of venom between them this week, hug for a while here! Respect earned.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:41 , Alex Pattle

Indy Sport has it:

Round 1: Chandler 10-9

Round 2: Gaethje 10-8

Round 3: Gaethje 10-9

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:40 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

Both men landing here, but Gaethje doing more damage!

Chandler was ahead in this round, but he might have slipped behind!

A surprisingly quiet end to the round and fight follows…

Indy Sport has it in Gaethje’s favour, but don’t rule out a draw…

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:38 , Alex Pattle

Round 3

More low kicks from Gaethje. Right straight for Chandler, jabs by Gaethje.

Chandler presses forward with a series of hooks to the body! An more, good work.

Hook lands to the head for Gaethje, and Chandler beckons him on!

Chandler DUMPS Gaethje to the mat! But Gaethje is quick to get back to his feet.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:34 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

There’s a brief pause late in the round, with referee Mike Beltran stopping the fight as Chandler accidentally grazes Gaethje’s eye.

Boos from the crowd, but Gaethje is okay to resume.

Onto Round 3.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:33 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Gaethje eventually lets Chandler back to his feet.

The former Bellator champion is hurting but lands a big uppercut to the body.

Uppercut from Gaethje now. Chandler with a right straight!

Gaethje with another leg kick, Chandler tries for a takedown but again it’s denied.

Chandler is still lucid, but he’d bloodied and tired.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:31 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Chandler’s lead leg looks beaten up. Gaethje is still attacking it.

Some “let’s go, Chandler” chants, which are met with boos.

Gaethje backs up Chandler to the fence, but then steps back.

KNOCKDOWN! Huge uppercut from Gaethje!

Somehow Chandler is still in this, holding onto his opponent’s legs…

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:27 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

More leg kicks from Gaethje. He’s taken some huge shots, but he’s pieced up Chandler, too.

Chandler shoots for a takedown late in the round, but it’s defended.

Slapping left hook from Gaethje!

How do you score that round?! It’s maybe round of the year…

The opponents bump fists…

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:25 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Good leg kick from Gaethje…

ONE-TWO from Chandler hurts Gaethje!

Gaethje comes back with a hook, Chandler hurts him with a flying knee!

Gaethje responds and cuts Chandler, who also eats an elbow!

Knee to the body from Chandler.

This is unreal.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:24 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Chandler evades a leg kick at once, then another. He goes close with a couple of punches…

This writer has a knot in his stomach…

Gaethje finally lands a leg kick, and Chandler returns fire!

Oh! The men are trading punches in the pocket by the fence!

Gaethje swings big with an uppercut, but it misses…

This is exactly what we expected. It’s fantastic. “Gaethje” chants.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:20 , Alex Pattle

Bruce Buffer with the introductions, the atmosphere in Madison Square Garden is electric…

Here we go!

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:19 , Alex Pattle

Chandler is out first, then Gaethje to huge cheers.

The NYC crowd is behind Gaethje here, it seems!

‘The Highlight’ has won 19 of his 22 victories via KO/TKO…

Chandler, meanwhile, has won 10 of his 22 victories via KO/TKO.

Gaethje has one submission win to his name; Chandler has seven.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:17 , Alex Pattle

Although Gaethje and Chandler both lost title fights in their respective last bouts, the winner of this clash is expected to challenge for the lightweight belt again next…

Charles Oliveira defends the gold against Dustin Poirier next month in the main event of UFC 269, with the victor of that clash likely next for Gaethje or Chandler.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:13 , Alex Pattle

Chandler was so close to becoming UFC lightweight champion in his last bout, in May.

The American almost stopped Charles Oliveira late in Round 1, only to be dropped with a perfect hook early in Round 2, a strike that spelled the beginning of the end for the former Bellator champion.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:06 , Alex Pattle

Gaethje was riding a four-fight win streak before he was submitted by Khabib in the second round of their title clash last October.

In fact, Gaethje entered the bout as interim champion, having picked up that belt with the finest display of his career – piecing up Tony Ferguson for four-and-a-half rounds in spring 2020.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

02:03 , Alex Pattle

Gaethje (22-3) vs Chandler (22-6) was set to take place just before tonight’s co-main event, but it was moved to the start of the main card this week.

That’s because Gaethje’s coach, Trevor Wittman, also trains Rose Namajunas and Kamaru Usman – who fight in the co-main event and main event respectively.

So, to prevent Wittman from coaching during three consecutive fights, Gaethje vs Chandler will take place earlier than originally planned.

Many fans at first thought the move was simply because this bout is the perfect way to kick off a stacked card at MSG.

This one should be brutal… Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go past Round 1.

UFC 268 – Gaethje vs Chandler

01:57 , Alex Pattle

Next up, the main card…

It kicks off with what many fans believe will be fight of the night: Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler.

These two lightweights are elite wrestlers with tight boxing – and, particularly in Gaethje’s case, power.

In each of their last fights, the two Americans came up short in their respective bids for the 155lbs title; Gaethje was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov over a year ago, with Chandler then knocked out by Charles Oliveira earlier this year when the retired Khabib’s vacant belt was on the line.

Former Bellator champion Chandler is fighting for the third time this year, with his loss to Oliveira following his successful UFC debut against Dan Hooker in January, a contest he won via emphatic first-round KO.

UFC 268 – Pereira def. Michailidis

01:48 , Alex Pattle

Alex Pereira def. Andreas Michailidis via second-round TKO (jumping knee, 0:18).

UFC 268 – Pereira def. Michailidis

01:47 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

Oh! Early in Round 2, Pereira gets the KO with a jumping knee! That’s what he’s all about!

He celebrates with new UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Texeira in his corner.

UFC 268 – Pereira vs Michailidis

01:44 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Little action in the clinch, and the opponents are separated by the referee.

But at once they’re back against the fence, with Michailidis in control.

The first round ends with the fighters in that position, to heavy boos in NYC.

UFC 268 – Pereira vs Michailidis

01:42 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Michailidis wisely shoots for a takedown early on, and he gets it against the cage.

He has a hook in as he looks to take Pereira’s back. He’s staying patient, firing off punches to the face of his opponent.

The Greek loses his hook. The MSG crowd don’t like this grappling.

Pereira is back to his feet, still against the cage.

UFC 268 – Pereira vs Michailidis

01:34 , Alex Pattle

Pereira lost his MMA debut but has since won three in a row. His Greek opponent Michailidis (13-4) is 1-1 in the UFC, having won his last outing in May.

UFC 268 – Pereira vs Michailidis

01:21 , Alex Pattle

The final prelim bout of the evening should be an interesting one.

Alex Pereira is a kickboxing champion, who twice beat UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the sport.

He even handed ‘Stylebender’ his only KO loss as a kickboxer.

Therefore, if Pereira is to enjoy a successful UFC debut here, don’t be surprised to see him fast-tracked towards a title shot.

Of course, he must first beat Andreas Michailidis, and even then he’d need a couple more wins at least to get to Adesanya – who is set to defend his belt against Robert Whittaker early next year.

UFC 268 – Green def. Iaquinta

01:14 , Alex Pattle

Bobby Green def. Al Iaquinta via first-round TKO (strikes, 2:25).

Green silences the NYC crowd by stopping their man!

UFC 268 – Iaquinta vs Green

01:13 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Green looking relaxed with his hands down early on. Lovely one-two from him.

He misses with a jab but has Iaquinta swinging wildly. He’s showboating already.

He knocks down Iaquinta with a one-two, with his back to the fence!

Iaquinta can’t recover, and referee Marc Goddard steps in as Green lands numerous hammer fists with his opponent on the mat!

UFC 268 – Iaquinta vs Green

01:03 , Alex Pattle

This should be a fun one. Al Iaquinta, best known to some fans for lasting five rounds against Khabib Nurmagomedov, returns after two years out.

The New Yorker should have huge backing from his home crowd tonight as he takes on Californian Bobby Green.

Iaquinta lost his last two bouts – against Dan Hooker and Donald Cerrone – via decision, as has Green.

UFC 268 – Curtis def. Hawes

00:56 , Alex Pattle

That was a great win for Curtis on his UFC debut.

Hawes looked so slick and technical from the opening buzzer, and he was finding success to the head and body with various weapons.

Curtis had literally just started to gather some momentum when he secured the stoppage, though. His hook staggered Hawes, who just couldn’t recover.

UFC 268 – Curtis def. Hawes

00:51 , Alex Pattle

Chris Curtis def. Phil Hawes via first-round KO (strikes, 4:27).

UFC 268 – Hawes vs Curtis

00:48 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Curtis lands a nice hook to the body, then a kick. He staggers Hawes with a counter left hook to the head!

Hawes stumbles and eventually collapses! The referee steps in!

Against the run of the fight, Curtis secures the knockout!

UFC 268 – Hawes vs Curtis

00:46 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Slick one-two from Hawes at once. He looks very tidy in all of his movements, even the smallest ones. He fires off a straight right and two front kicks to the body. Another.

He’s pressuring Curtis greatly. More body kicks. Southpaw Curtis returns fire with a left straight, but he’s stunned by another one-two!

Curtis catches a body kick attempt, then dodges a jab. He just misses an uppercut as Hawes enters.

Hawes tries for some side kicks to the knee. He threatens some takedowns, too – just to keep Curtis guessing, it seems.

Some nice knees up the middle from Hawes.

UFC 268 – Hawes vs Curtis

00:43 , Alex Pattle

Curtis’ pro record is 26-8. Hawes’ is 11-2. We’re under way.

UFC 268 – Hawes vs Curtis

00:40 , Alex Pattle

In his 35th pro fight, Curtis is finally making his UFC debut – having featured on the company’s Contender Series TV show three years ago.

He faces a tough task here, though, as he takes on fellow Contender Series alumnus Hawes, who is 3-0 in the UFC.

UFC 268 – Hawes vs Curtis

00:30 , Alex Pattle

Next up on the prelims is Phillip Hawes vs Chris Curtis in a middleweight contest.

UFC 268 – Imavov def. Shahbazyan

00:27 , Alex Pattle

Nassourdine Imavov def. Edmen Shahbazyan via second-round TKO (4:42, elbows).

UFC 268 – Shahbazyan vs Imavov

00:25 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

On the canvas, Shahbazyan tries for a guillotine but he doesn’t have his hands connected…

Imavov is able to escape and is now in his opponent’s guard, raining down heavy strikes.

Shahbazyan is bleeding badly! Imavov moves into a crucifix mount and is elbowing Shahbazyan, who has no way of defending himself!

He tries to buck his hips to get Imavov off him – ‘bridging’ – but he can’t! And the referee steps in to halt the onslaught of elbows!

Imavov gets it done!

UFC 268 – Shahbazyan vs Imavov

00:22 , Alex Pattle

Round 2

The cut on Imavov’s face actually came from an accidental eye poke – nasty…

The Russian-born Frenchman has Shahbazyan up against the fence, but Shahbazyan reverses the position.

Another choke attempt by Imavov, it looks like a standing D’Arce… Again Shahbazyan escapes!

Shahbazyan goes for another takedown, but once again he’s caught in a D’Arce! It’s a naive move from the youngster.

Somehow, he gets out yet again, wow…

UFC 268 – Shahbazyan vs Imavov

00:17 , Alex Pattle

Round 1

Shahbazyan with a heavy outside low kick early on. Then another from the 23-year-old, who is light on his feet here.

Imavov swings a wide hook, but his opponent counters with two quick jabs.

Imavov, a rarity as a Dagestani who prefers to strike rather than wrestle, lands an overhand right.

The pair grapple against the fence now, to the dismay of the MSG crowd… Shahbazyan has the advantage, and appears to have cut Imavov in the melee.

Shahbazyan surprisingly lands a takedown, but is forced to escape a decent guillotine attempt!

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent’s website



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