Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman retained his title with a unanimous decision victory over baddest man on the planet Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 which was held on 'Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi.\r\n\r\nThe UAE's Yas Island has been transformed into a closed-off fight island able to stage four UFC events in July after UFC President Dana White secured it due to the current coronavirus pandemic.\r\n\r\nMasvidal was drafted in at six days notice to face Nigerian Usman and the American could not find an answer to Usman's expert wrestling game.\r\n\r\nThe 33-year-old <a href="https:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Kamaru_Usman">Nigerian<\/a> successfully defended his belt with a gritty display to earn scores of 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 from the three judges after five grueling rounds in an "octagon in the sand" without UFC fans.\r\n\r\nAuthorities set up a safety zone including an arena, hotel, training facilities and a restaurant which will only be open to fighters, coaches, UFC staff and other event personnel.\r\n\r\nThere are more than 2,500 UFC personnel and Yas Island employees staying within the zone, with all local staff having been in quarantine for 14 days.\r\n\r\nUsman should have been fighting Gilbert Burns in the first main event of the four-event run but the Brazilian tested positive for coronavirus so Masvidal stepped in.\r\n\r\nThe 35-year-old American found a home for his strikes early on as he started the faster of the pair. He had a clear speed and accuracy advantage in the striking department and he shocked the champion with multiple shots during the opening exchanges, while nullifying Usman's early takedown attempts.\r\n\r\nBut Usman exerted constant pressure on the challenger as he denied Masvidal the time and space to throw his strikes. Usman looked to use his clinch work to wear on Masvidal, with much of the second round spent against the cage in a lengthy and gruelling exchange. The legacy of the round was a nasty cut above Masvidal's right eye, courtesy of an accidental clash of heads.\r\n\r\nA huge slam takedown from Usman was the biggest moment of the third round as the champion continued to smother Masvidal's striking.\r\n\r\nThat pattern was repeated through the final two rounds as The Nigerian shut down Masvidal, who had earned his shot at the title with a trio of stoppage victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz in 2019.\r\n\r\nUsman's victory improved his record to 17-1 and extended his winning streak to 12 fights in the UFC.\r\n\r\n"Jorge is a tough guy and I give him credit for that," said Usman.\r\n\r\n"They call him 'Gamebred' for a reason - he's always game to fight. I'm just a level better. I have more tools in the toolbox."