Kamaru Usman stuffs Demian Maia's takedowns, wins eighth straight in UFC by a wide margin

Kamaru Usman may just have put together the most unnoticed eight-fight winning streak in UFC history. The seventh-ranked welterweight ran his UFC record to 8-0, the second-longest winning streak in the division’s history in the UFC behind ex-champion Georges St-Pierre’s 12, when he scored a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile.

Usman was in control throughout and won by scores of 49-46 twice and 50-45.

It was far from a compelling performance, and Usman declined to call anyone out after defeating Maia, his first ranked opponent. He may have had an excuse for the performance, though, as he said in the cage following the bout that he believes he broke both of his hands.

“Nothing but respect for Demian Maia, who is a legend in this game,” Usman said. “It was an honor to come in here and compete with him. I broke the right hand in the second round and then I went out and broke the left one in the third.”

Maia, a jiu-jitsu specialist who has struggled greatly with wrestlers, didn’t cause Usman many problems. Maia’s attack was predictable, as he used a jab and tried a single-leg takedown and not much else. Usman outstruck Maia 97-33 and defended all 15 of Maia’s takedown attempts in the five-round bout.

Maia came into the bout ranked fifth, and Usman dominated him.

“For the longest time, all I heard was I had not fought a top-10 guy,” Usman said. “Demian Maia is a legend, a two-time title challenger, and I just dominated him.”

His problem, though, was that he didn’t do anything spectacular and his wrestling is too strong to make many of the men ranked above him all that interested in fighting him.

But Usman, who dropped Maia with a good right hand in the fourth, did the most important thing that he could have done: He won.

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