Kamaru Usman once again ended the night as the UFC's welterweight champion with a memorable fifth-round TKO win over Colby Covington to close out UFC 245.
The two welterweights put on a show that will easily be a Fight of the Year contender. Both pushed the pace over the course of five rounds before The Nigerian Nightmare closed it out with a massive right hand and put the challenger down for the count.
In an unpredictable turn of events, neither of the prolific grapplers even shot for a takedown. Both decided to bite down on their mouthpieces and throw at one another. With Covington pushing the pace early and Usman opting to invest in body blows, the pace didn't slow until the third round.
Heading into the fifth and final round, the bout appeared to be as close as possible, and Covington had the lead on two of the judges' scorecards.
Fortunately for the champion, his cardio didn't fail him and the cards weren't necessary.
It was an incredible end to what was a spectacular way to end the 2019 pay-per-view schedule. Here's a look back at the biggest fights of the night, which included three great title bouts.
- Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington via TKO at 4:10, Round 5
- Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)
- Amanda Nunes def. Germaine de Randamie via unanimous decision (49-44, 49-46, 49-45)
- Marlon Moraes def. Jose Aldo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Petr Yan def. Urijah Faber via KO (head kick) at 0:43, Round 3
- Geoff Neal def. Mike Perry via TKO at 1:30, Round 1
- Irene Aldana def. Ketlen Vieira via KO at 4:51, Round 1
- Omari Akhmedov def. Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Matt Brown def. Ben Saunders via KO (strikes) at 4:55, Round 2
Fight Pass Prelims
- Chase Hooper def. Daniel Teymur via TKO (strikes) at 4:34, Round 1
- Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jessica Eye def. Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Punahele Soriano def. Oskar Piechota via KO (punches) at 3:17, Round 1
Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski was hyped as a high-level striking match, and it didn't disappoint. The challenger became the champion in a good old-fashioned game of high-stakes physical chess that delivered five rounds of action.
The biggest story throughout the fight was the Australian's leg kicks. He battered the champion's lead leg to the point that he fought much of the bout in a southpaw stance and never seemed to get settled in to pressuring his opponent like he is wont to do.
Holloway had his moments. There were plenty of exchanges for both fighters to add to their highlight reels, but in the end, Volkanovski's ability to disrupt Holloway's rhythm showcased impeccable preparation, and he didn't wilt under the pressure in the later rounds.
The featherweight division is among the most intriguing in the UFC, and Volkanovski completed a quick rise that will only make it more compelling.
The loss snaps a winning streak that dated back to 2013 for Holloway. The new champion is the first to defeat Blessed at 145 pounds since Conor McGregor more than six years ago.
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie
Germaine de Randamie had way more impressive moments in her championship bout with Amanda Nunes than most opponents. Yet, she still suffered the same fate that anyone fighting Nunes in a championship fight has.
Nunes has just torn through some of the biggest names in women's MMA but had to battle some adversity against The Iron Lady. De Randamie did some of her best work in the second round when a flying knee and some vicious muay thai knees in the clinch connected with the Brazilian.
But the X-factor in the bout was Nunes' grappling skills. Anytime de Randamie had too much success in the standup, Nunes was there to answer with a double leg and stifling ground-and-pound. De Randamie did threaten with a deep submission attempt in the fourth round, but other than that, it was all Nunes in the final two rounds.
At this point, Nunes has nearly cleared out the women's bantamweight division. It's hard to tell what fight the UFC could possibly put together that would garner any more interest than watching Nunes keep chasing records.
Marlon Moraes vs. Jose Aldo
When Jose Aldo decided to move down to 135 pounds after a legendary career as a featherweight, there were understandably some questions. The extra 10 pounds of weight-cutting can be tough for any fighter, and at 33 years old, Aldo isn't exactly a spring chicken.
Aldo didn't earn the win against Marlon Moraes, but it was about as close a fight as one can have without scoring it a draw.
Moraes picked up the split decision thanks to a strong start and finish to the bout. He scored early with his striking and got a takedown to cement the first frame. Aldo rebounded in the second round, though, as his forward pressure got to Moraes.
Ultimately, it was Moraes' ability to come from behind in the third frame that earned him the fight on two of the judges' scorecards. The Brazilian needed the win after losing his last bout in a title fight against Henry Cejudo.
Petr Yan vs. Urijah Faber
If people were unfamiliar with Petr Yan before Saturday night, he made sure people know his name now after his fight against Urijah Faber.
The 26-year-old barely broke a sweat in dismantling the 40-year-old Faber. Yan's immense striking talent was on display throughout as he stalked The California Kid down and battered him for two rounds before getting the finish in the third.
With Faber beaten and sporting a nasty cut on his face, Yan uncorked a high kick that floored him for the final time.
The win launches Yan into the title conversation. The Russian came into the bout on a five-fight UFC win streak that includes victories over John Dodson and Jimmie Rivera. A stacked UFC 245 card against a legend like Faber is the perfect precursor to Yan's next fight either for the title or the No. 1 contender spot.