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Kamaru Usman

(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Kamaru Usman Film Study

Kamaru Usman
(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Kamaru Usman Film Study

In preparation for UFC 278, I did a film study that covers UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. This covers some of his biggest strengths and weaknesses. In this video, I take a deep dive into film to discuss smaller details that may go unnoticed at first glance. I suggest you watch that video as the visual aspect makes this far easier to describe, but I will write a short excerpt below. This is the second film study that I have done. The first was done on Israel Adesanya, you can view that here.

Strength Number One: Takedowns and Top Control

Usman is one of the best wrestlers in MMA, and he excels at landing takedowns. His best takedowns come due to his ability to get double underhooks which allows him to easily land big takedowns. He also times takedowns well, which makes every takedown easier to land.

Strength Number Two: Body Strikes

Usman has tremendous cardio. He uses that to his advantage in fights that get to the championship rounds. To extend his cardio advantage he lands a lot of solid body strikes. He sets up these body shots by using it as a misdirection in place of jabs or takedowns. Thus, he can land big strikes while minimizing risk.

Strength Number Three: Catching and Countering Kicks

One of the best avenues to succeed against Usman is to hit him with kicks. This applies to kicks to all three levels. Wisely, Usman made a concentrated effort to minimize his opponent’s ability to land kicks. He often catches kicks and counters with strikes. This dissuades his opponents from kicking as frequently.

Weakness Number One: Jabs Getting Countered

Usman throws one of the best jabs in the UFC. It lands frequently, deals damage, and sets up other strikes. With that being said, his opponents have been able to counter his jab. Gilbert Burns was able to land a knockdown as he threw an overhand right over Usman’s jab. Colby Covington also found success countering the jab in their rematch.

Weakness Number Two: Getting Caught In Exchanges

Usman has made strides in his striking, but he still has defensive holes. At times, when Usman finds himself in long exchanges, he makes defensive mistakes and his opponent takes advantage. This often occurs as he evades with his lead hand towards his waist.

Weakness Number Three: Losing Sight Of His Target

Once again, Usman’s striking is one of his weaknesses. At times, Usman gets over-aggressive and swings widely with his head down. This results in him losing sight of his target and missing when he throws.

How Usman Wins

The path to victory for Usman is dependent on his ability to land his jab or control his opponent with wrestling or clinch work. The jab does damage and sets up other strikes, while the control time neutralizes his opponent’s strikes and wears on their cardio, at a minimum. He could also submit them or deal damage. At UFC 278, these skills should be on full display.

How To Beat Usman

Beating Usman is not easy. First off, opponents must defend takedowns and keep their back on the fence. This results in more striking exchanges and thus more opportunity to exploit his defensive holes. It would also be advantageous to attack with kicks. Kicking to the body could reduce his cardio and force him to defend body strikes. This would help create more offensive opportunities as well. Throwing teeps would also be beneficial as they would stop him from pressuring forward. In turn, this makes it easier to stay out of the clinch. At UFC 278, Edwards may be able to do some of these things.

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