Leon Edwards defied the odds again on Saturday as he overcame a crucial points deduction to defeat Kamaru Usman for the second time in three straight clashes.
In the UFC 286 main event, Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) defeated Usman (20-3 MMA, 15-2 UFC) via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47) to remain in the Promotion Welterweight Title at The O2 in London.
Usman was patient in Round 1 as he clearly respected Edward’s shot. With Usman’s low volume, Edwards capitalized and took control of the fight early on. In round 2, Edwards landed a big knee, perhaps his biggest punch of the fight, around the same time the crowd chanted his signature “Headshot, dead.”
Usman was briefly on roller skates but recovered to score a takedown and land big punches at Edwards who eventually got back up and separated.
A massive, fight-changing moment occurred in Round 3 when Edwards was deducted a point by referee Herb Dean for committing an apparent cage hold on an Usman takedown attempt. The foul was one of many for Edwards throughout the fight, who was also warned of groin punches and a glove hold.
Competitors moved into the championship rounds as the momentum continued to shift. As the minutes passed, Edwards seemed to be getting tired. However, the champion fought his way through. Edwards was successful in Round 4 and after taking a few deep breaths in Round 5, he sent the crowd into a frenzy as he started Round 5 with some big strikes.
Usman pressed as he repeatedly attempted takedowns in the final lap. Edwards denied each time until Usman eventually dragged him to the ground with around 90 seconds on the clock. Edwards got up and eventually parted with about a minute left. Usman fired again, much to the disdain of the London crowd. Usman continued to press until the final bell.
2⃣5⃣ minutes in the books!
Drop those scorecards NOW #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/zPXEkDIpEC
— UFC (@ufc) March 19, 2023
The main event on Saturday was a trilogy rubber match. Long before they became competitors, Usman and Edwards fought at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015. Usman defeated Edwards by unanimous decision in a three-round preliminary card match.
Almost seven years later at UFC 278 in August, they fought again for the welterweight title on the line. In an absolute shocker, Edwards rose and completed a comeback with a headbutt out of nowhere that knocked out then-champ Usman and gave him the title.
With Saturday’s victory, Edwards is unbeaten in 12 fights – since the first fight against Usman. Other notable victories during the stretch include Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone.
After the fight, Usman vowed to return for another title run sooner rather than later. He enters the first multifight skid of his career.
Recent UFC 286 results include:
Leon Edwards defeated. Kamaru Usman by majority vote (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)
Justin Gaethje defeated. Rafael Fiziev by majority vote (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
Gunnar Nelson defeated. Bryan Barberena via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:51
Defeated Jennifer Maia. Casey O’Neill by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Marvin Vettori defeated. Roman Dolidze by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jack Shore defeated. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:27
Chris Duncan defeated. Omar Morales by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Yanal Ashmoz defeated. Sam Patterson via KO (punches) – Round 1, 1:15
Muhammad Mokaev defeated. Jafel Filho via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 3, 4:32
Defeated Lerone Murphy. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Christian Duncan defeated. Dusko Todorovic via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:52
Jake Hadley defeated. Malcolm Gordon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01
Joanne Wood defeated. Luana Carolina by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein declared majority tie (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Defeated Veronica Hardy. Juliana Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286 for more information on the card.
Source : mmajunkie.usatoday.com