Preview: Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman

Preview: Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman

Featured Image Credit: BJ Penn

The UFC is BACK in Sin City for UFC 235, headlined by Jon Jones and Anthony Smith. The co-main of this card is a marquee Welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman.

Woodley is a great champion. As I have mentioned on this week’s podcast, his fight IQ stands above all of his other attributes, making him an extremely tough guy to beat. So tough that he’s defended his belt four times, with one being a majority draw to Stephen Thompson. He is at times underwhelming, whether it be his unwillingness to do any real damage to “Wonderboy” in EITHER of the fights, or being completely content with stuffing Demian Maia takedowns for 25 minutes, much to the dismay of fans. But he doesn’t care about that. It is all about gold for him, and I don’t blame him. He knows that he isn’t the flashiest guy, but the greatest Welterweight ever, GSP, was not always the flashiest guy. Winning is all that is on his mind, and working with top coaches at ATT, expect Woodley to come in with a sound gameplan, looking to execute and extend this title run.

In terms of what that plan may be, it is truly up in the air. I believe that him and Usman have very similar styles, and nothing truly separates them. Maybe he will look to keep his range, taking opportunistic takedown attempts should they come this way. maybe he looks to get a finish early to reassert himself as a killer at 170. It is hard to say what works best, but I know that Woodley will come in with a plan that he and his coaches believe will bring him another W. What should NOT be a part of his gameplan is to walk out to his BAD song he dropped (listen at your own peril).

Kamaru Usman, as he said so himself, is a problem. His last two wins have been impressive outings against Demian Maia and Rafael Dos Anjos. His Maia fight was more impressive than Woodley’s performance against the same man, and his RDA win was more impressive than former interim champion Colby Covington. Using MMA math, he was more deserving than Colby for this shot, and the Maia fight “means” he will be the better man. Now, MMA math doesn’t work out very often, but it is still an intriguing match-up.

For one, this fight is a South Florida MMA rivalry with ATT and Blackzilians. Then, as previously stated, the styles of Usman and Woodley are very similar. They are powerful wrestlers who have more-than-adept striking. They hit hard, and find ways to win. I see Usman trying to take it to the ground, as that has been a key strength in his nine-fight UFC win streak, remaining undefeated in the promotion.

At the end of the day, this is a close fight to pick. While Woodley is the champion, Usman always finds ways to win. If you like analyzing the nitty-gritty of MMA tactics, this is the fight for you.

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