Video Credit: CBS Sports

New FSM Essential Recap: UFC 268 – Usman vs Covington 2


At UFC 268 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, two champions defended their titles in rematches that delivered an excellent night of fights.


UFC 268 - Usman vs Covington 2
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The UFC was back in the Big Apple for a stacked card featuring two title fights in the men’s welterweight division and the women’s strawweight division, along with a main event-worthy bout as the card opener. The fans were in for a treat.

The main event saw a rematch as Kamaru Usman (20-1) defeated Colby Covington (16-3) unanimously in a thrilling five-round battle. These two have built quite the rivalry and let it all out in the cage just as they did their first go around at UFC 245.

This time around, both fighters took their time and wanted to measure things out instead of going right at it like in their first meeting.

Usman got off to a hot start applying his jab and having control of the octagon with his forward movement. The challenger was looking to slow things down with leg kicks and combinations but couldn’t find his rhythm early. In the second round, Usman landed a solid left hand that knocked Covington to the ground. Then, quick on his feet, the champ landed another left hook that drilled Covington to the floor, which looked like the end. But time ran out with the horn sounding, and Covington was in a world of hurt survived.

Regaining himself in the third round, Covington started to find his momentum and put together solid combinations. In the first two rounds, Covington was trying to establish outside leg kicks to slow down the forward pressure of Usman, switching from southpaw to an orthodox stance and circling away. Now, Covington would stop changing his stance, stand his ground, move forward himself, and start to put the champion on his heels.


UFC 268 - Usman vs Covington 2
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

A close but competitive third round saw that Covington had a lot of fight left in him despite nearly being out of it in the second. The fourth round was Colby’s best of the night as he continued his new strategy and saw his strikes finding a home more often.

Covington had his moments; it looked like this fight would come down to the last round once again. But, this is where the champion showed his grit, dug down, and did what all greats do, show their best efforts when it comes down to winning or losing.

Usman started pushing forward again as his powerful strikes began to land and slow Covington’s movement down. As the fight neared its end, it was clear that Usman separated himself enough in this bout to walk away once again the victor.

After the final bell, both fighters stood toe to toe, exchanging words of encouragement and respect. While there was a lot of bad blood between these two, sharing the octagon with someone for ten rounds where you both gave everything you had and took the best from the other, a metal bond of respect naturally is formed.

The saying goes, styles make fights, and some fighters were made to fight one another. This is the case for Usman vs. Covington, two gladiators who were made to fight one another, and we were entertained on both occasions.



The co-main event saw a five round battle, while the opening bout of the main card gave us a Fight of the Year shoe-in.


UFC 268 - Usman vs Covington 2
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The co-main event saw Rose Namajunas (11-4) defend her strawweight title against the woman she uncrowned, Zhang Weili (21-3), via split decision.

Both warriors gave us a tremendous showing as each round was a closely contested battle, with both having their moments of shine. The champ Namajunas kept finding a home for her straight right hand while the challenger Weili found a home for her left hand.

Their first bout at UFC 261 saw its ending 78 seconds into the match as Rose pulled off the unbelievable upset with a left-high kick.

Weili, not wanting to get caught again, made adjustments in her camp by training with former Olympic Gold Medalist, two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo and his coaching staff. And the changes were made clear as Weili looked to grapple, took Rose down to the mat more, and applied her strength on the floor.

But Namajunas would work diligently not to be on her back for long. She stayed active in moving around and finding ways to go from being on the bottom to the top position. When on their feet, these two were neck and neck.

The real change came when the bout was on the ground as Weili got the takedowns, but Rose’s positions changed, and ground and pound separated the two. In the end, Thug Rose once again saw her hand raised in a tough and grueling rematch that wasn’t short of excitement and brilliant technical skills on display.


UFC 268 - Usman vs Covington 2
Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The opening bout on this card was the people’s main event, a matchup worthy of its own card. Justin Gaethje (23-3) defeated Michael Chandler (22-7) in a three-round war that is easily a Fight of the Year nominee, if not the flat-out winner.

Both fighters have built a history of coming forward, throwing caution to the wind, and swinging for the fences with ruthless aggression, a kill or be killed mentality.

From the start, both these gladiators started throwing heavy bombs, believing that this wasn’t going to go the distance. Gaethje was looking to land his thunderous leg kicks, which had ended fights before, but Chandler was quick to either slide out of reach or kick his leg back to dodge it. But as the leather kept flying, Gaethje would start to land his leg kicks which slowed Chandler’s movement as they’ve done to nearly every opponent of Gaethje’s in the past.

Both had moments where it looked like the fight was over. Gaethje landed a beautiful uppercut in an exchange that dropped Chandler. Still, the former All-American gathered himself quickly to survive, get back to his feet, and continue throwing punches.

Then came a real-life Terminator moment. At one point, Chandler was against the fence, took a punch from Gaethje, dropped his hands, walked forward, and took another punch from Gaethje that didn’t seem to faze him. As thrilling as this bout was, Gaethje was able to pull ahead as his vicious leg kicks and powerful punches wore on Chandler enough to slow him down and put a halt to his usual high output offense. As Gaethje moves forward in the division, these two should and will meet again, hopefully in a five-round bout so we can see more of this rivalry.



Another good fight card is in the books as the UFC continues to entertain fantastic showings one after the other. Whether we are watching champions, former champions, title contenders, or up and comers, the UFC will continue to give us entertaining events to enjoy.


Be sure to check out for all your latest in MMA, Las Vegas sports news, events, previews, recaps, and my weekly show, Kalani’s Corner.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

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