MMA

UFC 261: Sports world reacts to highlight reel KOs by Namajunas and Usman

A memorable night at UFC 261 ended with a trio of knockouts in the evening’s three title fights, with the main event victory of Kamaru Usman and the co-main event win by Rose Namajunas likely to end up on highlight reels for years to come.

Namajunas lost the UFC strawweight championship at UFC 237, when Jessica Andrade took a fight that Namajunas seemingly had control of and literally dropped Namajunas on her head. After avenging that loss to Andrade in 2020, Namajunas stepped into UFC 261 on Saturday, two years after losing her title, with a chance to win back the belt against Zhang Weili. It took just over one minute, and with one kick and a few punches on the ground, Namajunas stunned Zhang and became the two-time strawweight champ with a flourish.

In the co-main event of the evening, Namajunas rocked Zhang with that knockout, to the delight of the capacity crowd at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville — including the commentary team — and those watching at home were similarly excited about the moment on social media.

Then, in the evening’s main event, Usman fought Jorge Masvidal in a standup-heavy fight and scored a tremendous knockout of his own to close out the night. Unlike their first fight, which Masvidal took on one week’s notice, there were no excuses to be made. Despite fighting in front of one of the friendliest crowds imaginable in his home state of Florida, Masvidal crumpled when Usman landed a big swinging punch a minute into the second round.

Social media similarly exploded following Usman’s victory.

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