Mohammed Usman could soon join his brother on the UFC roster.
In the second heavyweight semifinal bout of The Ultimate Fighter 30, Usman — the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman — won a split decision over Team Amanda Nunes’ No. 1 pick Eduardo Perez (4-1) to secure a spot in the finals at the upcoming live finale.
It was touch-and-go for the recent PFL competitor, who had to overcome a significant size disadvantage against the taller Perez. Usman’s game plan was to come forward and throw heavy shots early and often, while Perez was content to score with kicks to the leg and body and accurate counter punches. To Usman’s credit, even with Perez successfully countering he was consistently finding the range with his power punches.
In Round 2, Perez began to let his hands go, but that only seemed to make Usman work harder to make up for the deficit. He walked through clean counters while continuing to throw heavy leather.
Both heavyweights won exchanges and were competitive until the end of the third round, so the scoring likely came down to who the judges perceived to be the busier, more aggressive fighter. In this instance, two gave Usman (7-2)* the nod.
Usman received a boost earlier in the episode as his brother Kamaru came to visit the house and give Usman a pep talk. Expect the reigning welterweight king to be in Usman’s corner when he faces Team Julianna Peña teammate Zac Pauga in the finals.
Here are the semifinal matchups and results so far:
Zac Pauga def. Jordan Heiderman via TKO (strikes) (R2, time not announced)
Mohammed Usman def. Eduardo Perez via split decision
Brogan Walker def. Laura Gallardo via unanimous decision
Juliana Miller vs. Kaytlin Neil
Here are the first-round results:
Zac Pauga def. Nyle Bartling via unanimous decision
Kaytlin Neil def. Helen Peralta via split decision
Mohammed Usman def. Mitchell Sipe via unanimous decision
Laura Gallardo def. Kathryn Paprocki via majority decision
Eduardo Perez def. Bobby Maximus via TKO (strikes) (R1, 3:58)
Juliana Miller def. Claire Guthrie via unanimous decision
Jordan Heiderman def. Chandler Cole via TKO (strikes) (R1, time not announced)
Brogan Walker def. Hannah Guy via majority decision
On next week’s episode, Team Peña’s Juliana Miller fights Team Nunes’ Kaytlin Neil in the second flyweight semifinal.
(*TUF bouts are considered exhibitions and fighters’ pro records are not affected by the results on the show)
Season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter is coached by UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Peña and UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. Peña defends her title against Nunes in a rematch that serves as the main event of UFC 277 on July 30 in Dallas.
The finalists of the TUF 30 heavyweight and flyweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract at a finale event with a date still to be announced.
New episodes premiere at midnight every Monday exclusively on ESPN+.
Here is the TUF 30 roster divided by team:
*replacement for Chantel Coates
Advancing to finals: Pauga, Walker, Usman
Advanced to semifinals: Pauga, Neil, Usman, Gallardo, Perez, Miller, Heiderman, Walker
Eliminated: Bartling, Peralta, Sipe, Coates, Paprocki, Maximus, Guthrie, Cole, Guy, Heiderman, Gallardo