Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has ground out a decision victory over Jorge Masvidal to keep his belt, and Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title at the UFC 251 event in Abu Dhabi.
With Masvidal taking the title fight on six days' notice, after Gilbert Burns pulled out with a positive coronavirus test, Usman used superior wrestling and clinch work to wear down the challenger over five rounds.
The 33-year-old ripped vicious hooks to the body against the cage and smothered Masvidal on the ground, sapping the challenger's energy for a convincing win.
"All these guys, they're preparing for one guy and that's me at the top of the mountain," Usman said afterward. "I had to make a mental shift.
"Masvidal is tough and he showed it out there."
In the co-main event, Australian Volkanovski, who won the featherweight belt from Max Holloway in December 2019, found himself behind his rival early, after he was knocked down at the end of each of the first two rounds.
The former semi-professional rugby league player dug deep, relying more on his wrestling and doing just enough over the final three rounds to edge out the Hawaiian on the judges' scorecards to remain unbeaten in the UFC.
In the other title fight on UFC's 'Fight Island', Russia's Petr Jan scored a brutal technical knockout over Brazilian Jose Aldo to claim the bantamweight title left vacant by the retirement of previous champion Henry Cejudo in May.
Dropping down a weight class, former featherweight champ Aldo held his own, but wilted in the fourth round, and the Russian dominated him with ground strikes in the fifth, until the referee waved the fight off, declaring Yan the winner by technical knockout