It’s another Usman having his day in the Octagon

On a night when none of the 10 fights went on the scorecards, it seems somehow fitting that one of the stars of the night was a guy surnamed Usman.

Kamaru Usman is the UFC Welterweight Champion, the pound-for-pound fighter in the world and one of the greatest MMA fighters in history.

His younger brother Mohammed doesn’t have his reputation or fame but he did make a bit of history on Saturday. He knocked out Zac Pauga, a former member of the Houston Texans practice team, 36 seconds into the second round at Apex in Las Vegas to win the heavyweight division of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter. In doing so, the Usmans became the first brothers to win TUF.

Kamaru Usman, who won his 21st welterweight season in 2015, was in his younger brother’s corner on Saturday. Mohammed Usman’s last name may have helped him get into the TUF lineup, but once he got there, he created his own success.

With former WBC boxing heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder watching from ringside, Mohammed Usman cracked Pauga’s chin with a left hook to end things early.

That earned him a UFC contract three years after the tragic death of his 3-year-old son Nash, who accidentally drowned.

“It means the world to me” to win TUF for his son, Usman said. “He means the world to me and he’s the reason I’m here now. Don’t get me wrong man. I could sit up here and tell you it’s easy, but it’s not. I’m in pain every day of my life. It hurts me now to sit up here and talk about it. I know he wants me to have a good life. He wants me to take care of my children that I will have in the future [as well as] my current children. He wants me to be a blessing to them.

“That’s number 1. I’m just trying to be the best dad I can be and to show my kids and my future kids that there’s nothing you can’t achieve in this world if you put your mind to it.” concentrated.”

He has lived in his brother’s shadow most of the time, working diligently while serving as Kamaru’s hype-man for his battles. But he set his mind to winning TUF and earning a UFC deal, and he did it in a big way.

Mohammed Usman of Nigeria prepares to fight Zac Pauga in a heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at the Apex on August 6, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mohammed Usman put on a show on Saturday, but he wasn’t the only one. Each of the 10 fights ended in a finish, for only the second time in UFC history.

Geoff NEal overcomes slow second round, angry coach

Geoff Neal excelled in the first round of his welterweight bout with Vicente Luque. Neal landed 52 significant strikes in the first round and repeatedly rocked Luque with a straight left hand. Neal was powerful, accurate and in control.

But in the second he took his foot off the accelerator and it became a more consistent lap. It’s, he said, a problem he often has. His trainer at Fortis MMA, Sayif Saud, knew and let him know after the round. Saud got in Neal’s face during rest time and told him in no uncertain terms to get going.

“I tend to take off on the second lap, especially when I’m doing a hard first lap,” Neal said. “I’m just like, ‘Let’s see if I can get through this round and come back in the third,’ but that’s just stupid of me.”

Neal hurt Luque with a violent straight left that sent him into the cage. Neal then threw eight consecutive left uppercuts before the fight was stopped at 2:01 of the third.

Jamahal Hill bounces back in fourth place after an uneven third place

Thiago Santos defeated Jamahal Hill five times in the third round of Main Event in a light heavyweight bout. But Hill, who dubbed Apex “Sweet Dreams Stadium” for its success there, was undeterred.

He suspected Santos would tire of the wrestling-heavy third as he knocked down Hill five times in 11 attempts. Hill came out quickly in the fourth, injuring Santos.

He dropped him and finished him off with a vicious bottom and pound. Referee Herb Dean stopped it at 2:31 of the fourth when Hill Santos elbowed.

“I just don’t stop working,” Hill said. “I learned that from my coaches and my team, just keep working.”

Hill came into the fight in 10th place at the light heavyweight division, with Santos in sixth place. He’s hoping for a title shot next against champion Jiri Prochazka but said if he doesn’t step in he wants ex-champ Jan Blachowicz, who is No. 2.

Julia Miller wins TUF flyweight title

Juliana Miller pulled off a perfect 4-on-4 on Saturday’s takedowns to dominate Brogan Walker and win the TUF 30 Flyweight Title via a third-round TKO. She elbowed Walker to the head off the mountain at 3:57 on the third and final lap.

It was a dominant performance from Miller, who had a 9:40 control time in a 13:57 bout time.

Miller landed 54 of 85 of her significant strikes, averaging 63 percent, in addition to perfect takedown performance.

Biggest highlight was Bryan Battle’s Headbutt KO

Former TUF winner Bryan Battle had perhaps the most memorable moment of the night. It took him just 44 seconds to stop Takashi Sato in their fight, knocking out Soto with a kick to the head.

Battle said he and his trainers at camp noticed that Sato was prone to headbutting.

“We expected that,” he said. “I didn’t see it happen so quickly. That was probably the nicest strike I’ve ever thrown.”

After the fight, he called out both Bryan Barberena and Ian Garry to a fight.

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