Round one started slowly as both competitors appeared to be feeling each other out. However, Usman seized control of the bout in the second frame as he scored two knockdowns that proved to be the defining moment of the fight.
Covington’s striking proved ineffective early on, but he started tagging Usman with some heavy shots in the third. ‘Chaos’ also scored a takedown, although the judges didn’t give him credit for it. Round four was Covington’s best round as he visibly hurt the champ with a body kick and a combination of punches.
Still, all three judges agreed that Usman had done enough to retain the crown after five rounds. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ earned a unanimous decision nod with scores of 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46.
Rose Namajunas held on to the UFC women’s strawweight title after edging Zhang Weili via split decision in the co-main event. Judges Douglas Crosby and Eric Colon saw the fight in favor of the champ – 48-47 and 49-46, respectively. Meanwhile, judge Michael Bell scored it 48-47 for Zhang.
After making quick work of Weili in their initial encounter at UFC 261, Namajunas proved that she could outlast the Chinese star as well. ‘Thug’ Rose did a splendid job using her reach to tag Zhang from a safe distance and was excellent defensively from her back. On the flipside, ‘Magnum’ was unable to shake Namajunas when the champ scored a takedown in the fifth round.
Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera bailed himself out of what looked like a unanimous decision loss. In the third round, the Ecuadorian landed a timely front kick to put Frankie Edgar away and secure the stoppage win.
In the featherweight division, ‘Hurricane’ Shane Burgos picked up a unanimous decision win over Billy Quarantillo. It was a fast-paced fight from the get-go but Burgos proved to be the more effective fighter after three rounds.
A Fight of the Year candidate kicked off the main card as Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler put on a show for the ages. As advertised, the star lightweights took turns landing bombs. Surprisingly, the bout went the distance with Gaethje landing on the triumphant side of a unanimous decision.
UFC 268 full card results
Kamaru Usman (c) def. Colby Covington (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 knockout (kick, punches)
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 Michailids via second-round knockout (knee)
Bobby Green def. Al Iaquinta via first-round TKO (punches)
Chris Curtis def. Phil Hawes via first-round TKO (strikes)
Nassourdine Imavov def. Edmen Shahbazyan via second-round TKO (punches, elbows)
Ian Garry def. Jordan Williams via first-round knockout (punches)
Chris Barnett def. Gian Villante via second-round TKO (kick, punches)
Dustin Jacoby def. John Allan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Bruno Souza via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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Ode Osbourne def. CJ Vergara via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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