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UFC February 2021 Recap: In-Depth Breakdown + Biggest Takeaways

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The UFC did not disappoint in the second month of 2021. Fight fans were treated to four events, 40+ fights, and a whole lot of action. Join us as we take an in-depth look at the stats and biggest takeaways for our UFC February 2021 Recap!

UFC February Recap

UFC February 2021 Recap: The “Nitty Gritty”

UFC Vegas 18 (2/6)

  • 12 Fights
    • 7 Decisions
      • 6 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 5 Finishes
      • 4 KO/TKOs
        • 2 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 in Round Two
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
    • Performance: Alexander Volkov (TKO) and Cory Sandhagen (KO)

UFC 258 (2/13)

  • 10 Fights
    • 6 Decisions
      • 6 Unanimous
    • 4 Finishes
      • 1 KO/TKO
        • 1 in Round Three
      • 3 Submissions
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: N/A
    • Performance: Kamaru Usman (TKO), Julian Marquez (Submission), Anthony Hernandez (Submission) and Polyana Viana (Submission)

UFC Vegas 19 (2/20)

  • 12 Fights
    • 4 Decisions
      • 3 Unanimous
      • 1 Majority
    • 8 Finishes
      • 7 KO/TKOs
        • 4 in Round One
        • 3 in Round Two
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 In Round Two
  • Bonus Winners:
    • Fight of the Night: N/A
    • Performance: Derrick Lewis (KO), Chris Daukaus (TKO), Tom Aspinall (Submission) and Aiemann Zahabi (KO)

UFC Vegas 20 (2/27)

  • 9 Fights
    • 7 Decisions
      • 7 Unanimous
    • 1 Finish
      • 1 KO/TKO
        • 1 In Round Three
    • 1 Draw
      • 1 Majority
  • Bonus Winners:
    • Fight of the Night: Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera
    • Performance: Ronnie Lawerence (TKO)

February 2021 Totals

  • 43 Fights
    • 24 Decisions
      • 22 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
      • 1 Majority
    • 18 Finishes
      • 13 KO/TKO (0 in Rounds Four or Five)
        • 6 in Round One
        • 5 in Round Two
        • 2 in Round Three
      • 5 Submissions (0 in Rounds Four or Five)
        • 1 in Round One
        • 3 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
    • 1 Draw
      • 1 Majority
  • Total Bonus Money Awarded = $750,000
    • 2 Fight of the Nights
    • 11 Performance Awards

UFC February 2021 Recap: Biggest Takeaways

The Nightmare Continues

At UFC 258 we saw the welterweight king Kamaru Usman square off against former teammate Gilbert Burns, in the main event. A fight that was scheduled two times prior and one of the most anticipated title fights of the year. It lived up to the hype and then some! The tension all week leading into the event could be cut with a knife. The pre-fight staredown is one of the most intense I have seen in recent memory, with neither man wanting to break eye contact first. You could just sense something special was going to happen when both of these men got locked inside the octagon together.

Right from the opening bell, Gilbert took center control of the octagon with his well-known pressure and ultra-fast striking. Less than a minute into the fight, Burns landed a huge overhand that rocked Usman and dropped him for a short time. I was left on the edge of my seat wondering if Gilbert was the man to get the job done. However, Usman weathered the early storm and remained calm the remainder of the first round. Burns was definitely up 1-0 going back to the stools before the second round commenced. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: In this handout image provided by UFC, Kamaru Usman of Nigeria reacts after his victory over Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This is where we saw one of the best coaches in the industry reassure they had Burns right where they wanted him. Trevor Wittman, famed striking coach of former champions Rose Namajunas and Justin Gaethje, knew exactly what would find success for Kamaru heading into round two. As soon as the second round began, we saw the champion go to work. Usman landed his jab repeatedly throughout this round, busting up Burns very badly. I truthfully cannot recall in recent years a simple jab that took such a prominent role in a championship bout. It was clear over the past year how much work Kamaru had been putting in to improve his striking. Gilbert seemed to have no answers, as he could not stop getting beaten up in the second by Usman. The round ended, seemingly with no end in sight for the beatdown that Usman had begun to pour on.

Then, as soon as the third round got underway, the fight was over. This is because just thirty-four seconds into the round, Kamaru managed to drop Burns with one of the aforementioned jabs and quickly pounced for the ground and pound TKO victory. We had just witnessed the true definition of a champion. After being hurt badly in the first, Usman listened to his coaching, implemented the perfect gameplan, and proceeded to deliver a masterful performance for the remainder of the fight.

With this win, Kamaru Usman not only successfully defended his title for the third time but won his thirteenth straight fight in the Welterweight division, snapping Georges St-Pierre’s record. This also was Usman’s seventeenth straight victory, having not tasted defeat since his second-ever professional fight back in 2013. If you didn’t recognize Kamaru as one of the most dominant champions in the UFC coming into this fight, you must see it now. He is on a mission to become one of, if not the greatest fighter of all time and I am unsure if anyone will be able to stop him. One thing I am certain of is that the “Nigerian Nightmare” is coming to haunt every welterweight contender’s dreams.

Heavyweight Headliners

The month of February was ruled by heavyweights. That is because of the four UFC events this past month, three of them were headlined by the big fellas. Each matchup would prove vital to the top-ten of the division, which made these bouts even more intriguing. Let’s have a quick recap of all the Heavyweight action and the state of the division that February left behind!

First, we saw Alistair Overeem take on Alexander Volkov at UFC Vegas 18. This was an interesting matchup because Overeem was essentially on his “The Last Dance” vibe like Michael Jordan in 97-98. However, Volkov would put a stop to the fairytale ending in a violent way. “Drago” as he is dubbed, controlled the striking from the second the fight began and did not let up until the finishing sequence that put down the legend that is Alistair in the second round. Volkov has looked very dangerous in his last two bouts, finishing both via TKO with the other coming against Walt Harris. Looking very rejuvenated as of late, I would love to see Volkov fight the loser of the upcoming championship bout between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou!

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: In this handout image provided by UFC, Alexander Volkov of Russia reacts after his knockout victory over Alistair Overeem of the Netherlands in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In our second heavyweight main event of the month, “The Black Beast” made all of the headlines after a vicious one-punch KO of Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19. After being controlled virtually the entire first round with little to no offense of his own, Derrick Lewis quickly changed that in the second round. Lewis was waiting for the one opportunity to land clean and it came when Blaydes shot in for his first legit takedown attempt of the fight, and little did we all know it would be the last. Derrick landed one of the most perfectly timed uppercuts you will see in MMA and just like that, he found himself on a four-fight win streak and tied for the UFC record in KO/TKO victories. Derrick has proved to us time and time again to never count him out of a fight and he showed why here. As for what should be next for Derrick, the answer is quite clear… but you’ll have to read below to find out who that opponent is!

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 20: Derrick Lewis reacts after his knockout victory over Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Last, but certainly not least in the February heavyweight marathon was the matchup between Jarizinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane at UFC Vegas 20. This was 25 minutes of control and distance management out of Gane. The Frenchmen never allowed Jairzinho to land cleanly and constantly evaded, essentially neutralizing any offense from his opponent. Cyril picked his shots, avoided damage, and came out with one of the cleaner five-round victories you will see inside the octagon. Now it is time to see if he can tame “The Black Beast” that is Derrick Lewis. This fight would be a clear-cut number-one contender matchup to determine who should fight for the Heavyweight title next, after Jon Jones that is. For Gane, we need to see him tested one last time against a powerful striker and for Derrick, a chance to solidify that his one-shot power can work on any opponent that is across from him.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 27: (L-R) Opponents Jairzinho Rozenstruik of Suriname and Ciryl Gane of France face off prior to their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Hope you enjoyed our UFC February 2021 Recap!


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Dominic Sallee is a Combat Sports writer. He focuses primarily on the UFC, with plans to venture out with pieces from other MMA organizations in the future. Along with writing, Dominic is also the Co-Host of the Below Average Joe's MMA Podcast, which produces 2-3 new episodes per week about all things in the MMA community!