Mohammed Usman lived up to his famous last name with a devastating knockout to finish Zac Pauga to claim The ultimate fighter championship at UFC Vegas 59 on Saturday.
An underdog according to betting experts, Usman only needed a short left hook that clipped Pauga in the second round that sent him to the canvas in a heap. Usman followed with a single hammer first that knocked Pauga out of consciousness as the fight was halted just 36 seconds into the second round.
The victory earns Usman a UFC contract where he will join his brother – reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman – in the promotion.
“No bad blood at all,” Usman said of Pauga afterwards. “I respect these guys. I respect Zak. I respect everything they represent. We went to work and ended up here. I just can’t wait to get back to work. We did it. We in the show.
The heavyweights weren’t afraid to commit as Pauga and Usman were both throwing heavy leather in the early exchanges. Usman was throwing a lot of single punches which prevented him from really catching Pauga off guard with his strikes.
In return, Pauga was trying to set up counter kicks as he looked to lure Usman into a trap while looking to feed his opponent with a steady regimen of kicks.
A tight first round gave way to bigger exchanges in the second but this time around Usman was ready to set up his fight finishing streak.
This time it was Pauga who put his head down and Usman timed his left hook which crashed into the chin and sent the Team Elevation fighter to the ground. The follow-up punch was just the icing on the cake as Usman was quickly overruled by the referee as he began celebrating alongside his coaches and family, who were in attendance in Las Vegas .
“He does,” Kamaru Usman said of his younger brother. “It’s his time. A new Ultimate Fighter, first brothers to do so in history.
Usman has long been considered a solid prospect, but he will now join the UFC heavyweight division after one of the most explosive finishes in recent history for reality competition.