Gilbert Burns claimed a pivotal victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287, then declared that he wouldn’t accept anything other than a title fight for his next assignment.
Burns outpointed Masvidal in the co-main event in Miami to put himself at the sharp end of the queue for a shot at the UFC welterweight title currently held by the UK’s Leon Edwards.
After a closely-contested opening round, Burns made an early breakthrough in the opening seconds of Round 2.
“Durinho” caught Masvidal wide open with an uppercut that put “Gamebred” on the seat of his pants. Then, after Masvidal bounced back up, Burns closed in, picked up the Miami native, then slammed him to the mat and landed in his opponent’s guard.
With Masvidal trying to tie up the former BJJ world champion, Burns kept the pressure on from inside Masvidal’s guard, landing strikes and forcing the action against the cage.
Masvidal tried to escape with a Granby roll, but Burns stayed glued to him and wouldn’t let him fully escape. Even after Masvidal fought his way back to his feet, Burns kept the pressure on.
Masvidal wasn’t able to escape Burns’ clutches until the final 30 seconds of the round and, despite trading solid right hands with the Brazilian, “Gamebred” wasn’t able to turn the round in his favor.
It meant the stakes were sky high heading into the final round and, after a touch of gloves, the pair traded big shots early as they both loaded up with heavy strikes.
Masvidal started the better in the final frame, but Burns found his range, with a heavy left jab opening up multiple opportunities for big right hands as he stunned “Gamebred” on a number of occasions with big shots.
Then, with just over a minute to go in the round, Burns closed the distance, initiated the clinch, then dragged Masvidal to the mat, where he closed out the fight with heavy pressure from top position.
It meant the bout went the distance, and the three cageside judges were in agreement on the winner, with Burns taking the victory with scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
“Leon Edwards, Colby Covington. I don’t care who has the belt, I’m coming for you!” said Burns after his win.
Masvidal, meanwhile, brought the curtain down on his career with an emotional speech as he seemingly confirmed his retirement.
“I don’t feel the same when I get in here no more,” he admitted.
“I’m a multi-millionaire. I didn’t have s**t when I started. I can say I’m good for life now. Twenty long years, I love you guys!”
UFC 287: Official results
- Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya – for middleweight title
- Gilbert Burns def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Rob Font def. Adrian Yanez via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:57
- Kevin Holland def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 3:16
- Christian Rodriguez def. Raul Rosas Jr. via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kelvin Gastelum def. Chris Curtis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Luana Pinheiro def. Michelle Waterson via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Joe Pyfer def. Gerald Meerschaert via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:15
- Loopy Godinez def. Cynthia Calvillo via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Ignacio Bahamondes def. Trey Ogden via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Steve Garcia def. Shaylian Nuerdanbieke via TKO (body kick and punches) – Round 2, 0:36
- Sam Hughes def. Jaqueline Amorim via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)