Usman was ranked No. 13 in the 170-pound division heading into the fight and extended hi s winning streak to 10 consecutive fights. “The Nigerian Nightmare” wanted to make a statement against Moraes and did. He handed the Brazilian is first loss since 2012.
The two met in the center of the cage and threw heavy shots. Usman delivered low leg kicks and pressed forward. He knocked Moraes down early in the fight, but Moraes quickly got back to his feet. Moraes planted on his feet and unloaded counter punches as Usman closed the distance. He landed some, but not enough.
Midway through the opening round, Usman stepped in with a right hand that connected perfectly on Moraes’ chin and left him face-planted on the canvas. There was no need to follow up with more strikes.
“Listen, anybody in that welterweight division that think they want this, you know you don’t because I’m a problem. I’m a problem in that division,” said Usman after the knockout win. “Anybody. Who wants this fight?”
Moraes hadn’t lost in the welterweight division until Saturday. Usman gave credit to his training partners and coaches for the win.
“He’s a very good specialist, but in my gym we have so many variations of different types of specialists,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of guys. I’ve seen it all. I’ve done it all. Anybody, anytime, anywhere. Bring it. They don’t know I’m a problem.”
Usman wants a big named opponent for his next fight and called out former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Dos Anjos moved up to the welterweight division earlier this year and has reeled off back-to-back wins.
“They keep lining up anybody and I’ll keep taking them out. RDA, you want to come into my division and want to talk about you going for the title. Are you serious? Line em up. Line em up and let me send him back down and cut weight again. Line em up,” he said.