Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal are scheduled to headline UFC 261 with their welterweight title fight. Ahead of the rematch between the two, former UFC fighter and analyst Dan Hardy weighed in on Kamaru Usman's varied strategies with his opponents.
According to Dan Hardy, it was wise for Usman to use his clinch work to nullify Masvidal's striking as opposed to Gilbert Burns, who is a grappler. Comparing the two fights of Kamaru Usman, Hardy said on the Dan Hardy Breakdown show:
"If you are controlling (Jorge) Masvidal, your control of Masvidal looks very different to your control of Gilbert Burns. Because it’s not about controlling a human being, it’s about controlling the best skill sets of that fighter. So with Masvidal being a sharper striker it makes sense to control Masvidal up against the fence and on the floor. For gilbert Burns, it makes sense to keep him at a distance. ‘Stay away from me, do not try and strangle me, do not touch my neck. Because that’s his main skill set. The supplementary skill sets of Gilbert Burns are looping punches and kind of wild kicks. It’s just not the same kind of finesse as Masvidal. So the gameplan of course for Usman, is not gonna be the same."
Dan Hardy on Kamaru Usman's 'rare' striking
Dan Hardy was all praise for Kamaru Usman's crisp punches and found them to be a rarity in general. Suggesting that Kamaru Usman put his striking on display against Masvidal, Dan Hardy said:
"So, we gotta see the striking. We gotta see his beautiful pin point accurate, straight, no build up, no wind up, it goes from here (gestures fist near his own chin) onto your chin kind of striking. And it’s so rare that we see this kind of striking in MMA or just generally. Because there’s an excitement, there’s a desire to build up and to throw power, to do as much damage as you can. Usman thinks about it tactically, as a method of competing, it comes across so well in his style. Because he is there to win and he knows he just needs to keep placing this on your face, consistently, regularly and as cleanly as possible."