<
>

Kamaru Usman continues rise to the top with brutal knockout

Al Powers for ESPN

After winning his last four UFC fights by judge's decision, most fans would be forgiven for expecting more of the same from Kamaru Usman on Saturday night.

However, Usman showed up to UFC Fight Night with other plans and produced vicious first round knockout against Sergio Moraes, which was exactly what the Nigerian Nightmare needed in order to remind match makers why deserves a top five (or at least top ten) opponent next.

After walking out to the Octagon to a song by Nigerian musician Olamide, Usman showed his intent early on as he traded punches with Moraes.

"My game plan was straight destruction," Usman told KweséESPN after the bout. "Just show the savage that I really am.

"I keep telling them I'm the best in the world. They don't want to believe me so I have to go out there and show them one guy at a time."

Moraes, after being dropped to the ground early in the first round, tried to bait Usman into top mount position but Usman was well aware respectful of Moraes' jiu-jitsu ability.

"He's a specialist down there. I could've stayed on top and beat him up down there but I didn't want to do that.

"I wanted to make a statement that I'm a complete fighter because everyone thinks I'm a heavy grappler. I wanted to keep it standing, just beat him up and get him out of there," said Usman.

With his eyes on the Welterweight title, Usman did not hold back in his post-fight interview and called out former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (RDA), who is currently ranked fifth in the welterweight division.

"There's two fights and then I'm fighting for the title. It could be two or it could be one. I'll beat up RDA then I can fight a title eliminator against the winner of (Colby) Covington and (Demian) Maia.

"Then I'm fighting for the strap mid next year," said Usman.

Fellow Nigerian-American fighter Azunna Anyanwu lost a controversial decision to undefeated Justin Ledet.

Anyanwu did well in dictating the fight inside the Octagon but lost to Ledet who out landed the Philadelphia based Nigerian.

Despite the loss, Anyanwu won the respect of fans with his stamina as well as desire to stand and trade punches while pushing the fight.

A full camp before his next fight with more time to prepare might be what Anyanwu needs in order to finish his next fight without letting it get to the judges.