The first fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington delivered UFC fans a classic. Their second clash was no different.
The two welterweights, the champion and No. 1 contender, respectively, lasted the full five rounds Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. Usman took control early, connecting on a few heavy hits and knocking Covington down twice in the second round. Covington didn’t back down, however, as he turned up the aggressiveness in the later rounds to stave off a potential knockout and work his way toward a decision.
When the cards were in, it was Usman who won by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) to retain his belt and further cement his place atop UFC’s pound-for-pound fighter rankings.
Usman wasn’t the only fighter Saturday to defend his title. Rose Namajunas also went the full five rounds against Zhang Weili in defense of her women’s strawweight belt. Zhang did damage early with a few kicks, putting the champion on her heels, but Namajunas got going in the later rounds and had a critical takedown in the fifth that wound up making a difference in the fight.
Here’s how the night went down.
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 live updates, highlights from UFC 268
(All times Eastern)
Usman retains welterweight title with unanimous decision over Covington
Scores: 48-47, 48-47, 49-46
Round 5 (1:32 a.m.): Covington goes in for the first couple of shots. Covington connects on another jab, but Usman counters with a hard hit of his own. Covington hits an uppercut; he has started to land a lot more. The two grapple to the mat. Usman connects with a kick to the head. Usman slips after a kick attempt by Covington but stays on his feet and grapples with him on the side. Time called for an eye poke. Usman connects with a hard kick and throws another punch, but both are able to finish the fight. Respect shown between the two sides at the end.
Nothing but respect after 5⃣ long rounds
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Round 4 (1:25 a.m.): Covington has maintained his aggressiveness coming into the fourth round. He keeps landing hard blows as Usman has waited for an opening. Usman starts going for some more body shots and lands a right hook to the face. Usman lands a left hook and starts to charge in with a few more shots. Covington then lands a kick to the body and goes back on the attack against Usman. Covington pins Usman against the side with about 30 seconds left. Usman gets out and lands a shot.
The champ picking up the pace
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Round 3 (1:19 a.m.): After a few exchanges, Covington lands a solid shot to the head just a minute in, but Usman counters a few minutes later with a shot over the top. The two dance around the cage for a bit before Covington tries to take down Usman. Usman ends up on top and lands a few body blows before they get back up. Covington hits a few jabs before Usman lands a right hook on Covington’s head. Covington starts to land a few more shots and then gets a takedown of Usman.
Combo lands clean for Chaos
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Round 2 (1:13 a.m.): Covington attempts a kick early but Usman is able to get around it and then land a hard left hook. Covington takes another swing and the two grapple for a bit before breaking back out. Usman hits him with a punishing shot when he tried to get in close again. Covington has tried a few high kicks, but Usman has been ready to defend them. Covington rushes in to put Usman against the side. Instead of a takedown, Usman grapples and lands a few blows to the shoulders. Usman firing in a few more shots with under a minute to go and connects with a heavy left that knocks down Covington. Covington gets back up, but Usman keeps firing. Covington goes down to grab Usman and is absorbing body shots as the horn is blown.
THE CHAMP DROPS COVINGTON AT THE END OF ROUND 2⃣
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Round 1 (1:07 a.m.): Usman lands the first jab of the night and then lands another one shortly after that. Covington tries to get a takedown but Usman flips it around and lands a few blows to the head before they get up. Usman and Covington trade shots before Usman gets a quick takedown. Usman lands a hard left after some brief exchanges. Covington takes one last swing but comes up empty as the round ends.
Grappling early in round 1⃣
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1:01 a.m.: No touching of the gloves. This fight begins now.
12:53 a.m.: Now the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC is making his entrance.
12:50 a.m.: The No. 1 welterweight contender is making his walk out to the Octagon.
See below for complete results from the undercard.
UFC 268 results from full card
Rose Namajunas uses late takedowns to defend strawweight title in split decision win against Zhang Weili
Scores: 48-47 Zhang; 48-47 Namajunas; 49-46 Namajunas
Round 5 (12:34 a.m.): It takes about a minute before Namajunas gets a huge takedown. Zhang is firing back with some elbows to the head as she’s pinned down, but Namajunas has kept her on the ground before starting to land punches to the head. Zhang tries to get up with some kicks but Namajunas pins her right back. Namajunas turns the corner and lands a right hand to Zhang’s head. Zhang keeps trying to use her legs to get Namajunas off her, but she hasn’t been able to create enough space to get away, and has been unable to escape the ground. With 30 seconds left, Zhang seemingly had a window to get up, but she stays on the ground and Namajunas strikes her with a shot to the face and pins her again. There’s the horn, and this one goes the distance.
CLUTCH takedown by @RoseNamajunas
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Round 4 (12:28 a.m.): Namajunas lands a few hard punches to start the round, but Zhang gets a takedown. Namajunas didn’t stay down long, however, as she started sending some upkicks to back off Zhang and get back up. Zhang starts to take down Namajunas, and as they’re on the ground, Namajunas is able to flip around on top. The pair exchange hits to the head, but Namajunas keeps adding some hits to the body. Zhang hasn’t made much of an attempt to get up, and Namajunas was able to keep landing shots until the round ended.
Round 3 (12:23 a.m.): The two start the round exchanging jabs, but for the most part they’ve kept some distance between one another. Namajunas lands a hard right toward the middle of the round and the two grapple a bit. Zhang tries a kick but falls down on the attempt. She then tries to pin Namajunas against the side, but Namajunas is able to escape. Zhang lands a hard left hook and then is able to get a takedown and get Namajunas on her back. Namajunas spins around, but Zhang gets back on top near the end of the round and lands a pair of punches.
Saved by the bell
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Round 2 (12:16 a.m.): Zhang once again starting with a few kicks, but Namajunas counters with some punches. After a few kicks, Zhang lands a heavy left hand that stumbles Namajunas. Zhang quickly takes advantage by taking down Namajunas, who lands an upkick before Zhang gets down to wrestle. Zhang starts throwing some body shots before Namajunas is able to get up. Namajunas pins Zhang to the side, then stands up and throws a punch before the end of the round.
Putting a stamp on the end of the second.
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Round 1 (12:09 a.m.): Zhang strikes first with a sideways kick. After absorbing some kicks, Namajunas steps up with a kick and a pair of jabs to Zhang. Namajunas lands some kicks, but Zhang takes her down and tries to establish herself on top. Zhang stands up and lands a jab to the face. She then wraps up, and starts firing in some body shots. Namajunas turns to get up and get herself out. Namajunas attempts a kick, and even though it doesn’t land, it gets Zhang to fall down and she gets in a few punches before the end of the first round.
The end of this round
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12:02 a.m.: Namajunas walks out to the cage, telling herself along the way, “I am the best.” She’s looking to defend her women’s strawweight championship.
11:58 p.m.: Zhang is the first into the ring ahead of her title rematch against Namajunas.
Justin Gaethje picks up impressive win by unanimous decision over Michael Chandler
Scores: 29-28, 29-28, 30-27
Round 3 (10:35 p.m.): Gaethje absorbs a few early punches and the fight goes to the floor, but Gaethje turns it around with a front flip. As soon as they’re back up, Gaethje hits Chandler with a left to the head. Chandler tries a few hard hits but Gaethje connects with a huge right to the head. The two dance around toward the end, but both make it to the decision.
This fight is absolutely BANANAS
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Round 2 (10:34 p.m.): Chandler again comes out throwing a few hard punches, but Gaethje is able to avoid them. Gaethje gets a knockdown on Chandler with an uppercut with about 3:30 left, and he immediately pounces to take advantage. Chandler’s trying to stay low and avoid taking too many shots, but Gaethje has a good hold on him. Chandler gets his arm off, and Gaethje lets him get up. Chandler gets up and goes right back to throwing a few jabs and a few quick kicks as Gaethje waits for an opening. Chandler dives, but Gaethje dodges it. Gaethje takes an eye poke and Chandler tries to jump on the chance, but the ref stops him.
Round 1 (10:27 p.m.): Chandler has come out aggressive. He lands a few solid jabs, and eventually, one hard strike from Chandler gets him off balance. Gaethje gets in some punches and an uppercut on Chandler, who appears to be getting a bit worn out as the round is going on. Chandler attempts a flying knee but Gaethje is able to block it.
10:21 p.m.: Time for the start of the main card.
10:17 p.m.: Chandler was the first to reach the Octagon. Now, Gaethje is heading out.
10:15 p.m.: Walkouts for the first fight of the night starting.
Shane Burgos uses kicks to solidify unanimous decision win over Billy Quarantillo
Scores: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Round 3 (11:12 p.m.): Burgos gets right back where he left off with a couple hard punches. Quarantillo clearly is hobbled on his left leg. Quarantillo falls to the mat, and Burgos gets in a hit. Quarantillo brings the fight to the side and is trying to wrestle Burgos, but Burgos is able to get out of it. Quarantillo gets Burgos down with just over a minute left, but Burgos gets back up and is able to land a few knees on him. Now Quarantillo is hitting him with some knees near the side, but Burgos turns it around and starts to land some jabs before the fight wraps up.
Leg kicks paying dividends for @HurricaneShaneB
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Round 2 (11:05 p.m.): Burgos absorbs a few heavy shots from Quarantillo as soon as the round starts. They face off on the side, and Burgos gets in some punches to the head as the two are locked in. Burgos was able to land some strong jabs on Quarantillo. Quarantillo lands a heavy right with just under a minute left, but Burgos turns it around. Burgos starts hammering him with a few hard shots to the head, pins him against the side and gives him a few body shots at the end of the round.
What a start to the second for @BillyQMMA
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Round 1 (10:59 p.m.): Quarantillo starts with a few kicks and then tries to get in a few uppercuts in the first 30 seconds. Burgos body locks Quarantillo at the side of the Octagon. Quarantillo gets out after a few knees to the body. Burgos starting to throw a few more punches toward the midway point of the round, but has been content to fight a bit more defensively. Quarantillo follows a few shots to Burgos by grabbing his leg and bringing him to the side. Quarantillo slips late, and Burgos connects on a right hander as Quarantillo is down.
10:53 p.m.: Fighter introductions starting for the second fight of the night.
Marlon Vera lands kick to chin to knock out Frankie Edgar
Round 3 (11:43 p.m.): The two exchange jabs to start the round, and Vera gets in a good side kick. Vera has been more the aggressor in this round; he has been controlling the tempo and forcing Edgar to take a few paces back. After a quick stop, Vera lands another hard side kick. Edgar tries to take him down, but Vera escapes it. Vera lands a front kick to the chin, and it takes down Edgar. This fight is over.
What a finale to the CHITO SHOW!!!!
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Round 2 (11:37 p.m.): Vera lands a few jabs, but Edgar gets another takedown just over a minute into the round. Vera lands upkicks on Edgar and starts hitting him with elbows. Edgar connects with some body shots and a jab to the face before they stand up about a minute later. Vera gets Edgar with kicks, and has one strike in the middle with a knee before landing a big knee shot to the shoulder. Vera connects on two more body kicks and adds in a knee before the end of the round.
Starting to close the range in the second!
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Round 1 (11:31 p.m.): Edgar tries to wrestle Vera to the ground, but Vera stays up. Vera tries for a kick, but Edgar grabs him on the attempt. But he can’t do much more than stop the blow. Edgar tries to take him down, but Vera wraps his head up. Edgar escapes the grip and gets himself on top. Edgar tries to lift up Vera and slam him to the mat, but comes back down and swings a few elbows. Vera responds by elbowing him from below. Edgar gets in with shots to the rib. Edgar stands up, and Vera lands some kicks before Edgar comes back down.
11:23 p.m.: Edgar turns the walkout into a runout as he jogs right to the Octagon ahead of the fight.
UFC 268 start time
- Start time: 6 p.m. ET | 3 p.m. PT
- Main card (PPV): 10 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. PT
- Main event: Midnight ET / 9 p.m. PT (approx.)
UFC 268: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 takes place Nov. 6 with the prelims kicking off the event at 6 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view main card begins at 10 p.m. ET. Usman and Covington should enter the Octagon around midnight ET, depending on the length of the undercard bouts.