Tyron Woodley’s bid to reclaim welterweight crown suffers heavy blow as Gilbert Burns secures dominant unanimous decision victory at UFC’s Performance Institute
Tyron Woodley’s bid to reclaim the UFC welterweight title was dealt a heavy blow after the 38-year-old was comfortably defeated by Gilbert Burns at UFC on ESPN 9 in Las Vegas.
‘The Chosen One’ had been plotting to challenge current champion Kamaru Usman, who defeated him over five rounds last year, and had singled out that his bout against Burns, a team-mate of the Nigerian Nightmare, would set him on course for a shot at the belt.
However, the Brazilian put in a comprehensive display of striking and grappling to shut out Woodley, who was knocked down in the first round and looked trigger-shy throughout the five-round contest at UFC’s Performance Institute.
After a dominant 25 minutes, the 33-year-old secured a unanimous decision victory, with the judges scoring it 50-45, 50-44, 50-44 in Burns’ favour.
His display has propelled him well and truly into the mix for a shot at Usman’s belt in an already stacked division, and Burns made his case to challenge his team-mate in the post-fight interview.
‘I’m very happy,’ Burns told Daniel Cormier on the ESPN+ broadcast. ‘I knew I could do it. I was calling these guys out for a reason. Not bad for a jiu-jitsu guy.’
‘I love the champ, my training partner Kamaru Usman, but gimme the shot.
‘I’ve got a lot of respect and love for you. I beat the former champion in the same way – maybe even better.
If they wanna make a fight in July, I got no scratches or anything, I can do it.’
‘I told you so … I knew I could do it. I called [Woodley] out for a reason. He’s the former champion, I just beat the former champion.’
Burns’ win made it four wins in a row for the Brazilian, who extended his fight record to 19-3 on Saturday. He also landed 76 significant strikes to Woodley’s 29.
‘That’s what [striking coach] Henri Hooft said. Good pressure,’ Burns added. ‘You know jiu jitsu guys, we work hard and push the pace, stay in his face.
He’s not gonna like that pressure, hand, kicks, takedowns, ground and pound. I can do five more rounds if I want to. I’m going to do some push-ups after.
‘As I touched these guys, they can feel it. I’ve been knocking these guys out in the gym with big gloves – shout-out to my guys.
I know I hit hard, we did a lot of boxing and kick-boxing. Right now, come on, my name has gotta be in the No 1 contender [position].’
Woodley fronted up to his fans on Instagram Live after the bout, saying he had no regrets over his display in Vegas.
At 38 years of age, some fans are questioning whether the time is right for the American to retire.
‘You can’t just get on camera when you win, you gotta get on camera when you lose, too,’ Woodley said via Ariel Helwani. ‘No excuses. I’m holding my head high.
‘I got a weird peace for someone who just got their a** whooped.’