In the main event of UFC 286 in London on Saturday night, Leon Edwards did everything in his ability to defend his welterweight title over five intense rounds, including breaking and breaking multiple laws. After winning the majority decision against Kamaru Usman, Edwards finally cemented his position as the finest 170-pound fighter in the world.
When it took Edwards until the very last second of his battle with Usman at UFC 278 to score a head kick knockout in a contest Usman had mainly dominated, there were questions about Edwards’ claim to the king.
Edwards made a great first impression in this encounter by keeping his distance well and controlling the striking exchanges. It’s possible that Edwards was utilising his body kicks and leg kicks as a setup for another head kick like the one that won him the welterweight championship in his previous fight with Usman.
The first blow of the bout to knock either combatant off balance was Edwards’ knee to the chin, which briefly put Usman on stilts. Usman responded with a powerful right hand, secured a takeover, and landed a large flurry of punches to the head as Edwards struggled to get to his feet. This demonstrated that his chin had not been broken by the aforementioned head kick.
Edwards used a fence hold to avoid being brought down while Usman continued to focus on his wrestling, which led to a crucial moment in the fight. As soon as an illegal move was made, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight and awarded Edwards a point, preventing Usman from completing the takedown. After landing his second low blow of the fight and adding it to a glove grab that had already earned him a warning, Edwards almost lost a second point in the round.
The head kick that Edwards had been building up to all fight long was ultimately thrown in the final round, interspersed with uppercuts and straight punches. The fifth of five very close rounds was decided by Edwards’ ability to resist takedowns, continuously fighting off blows from Usman and immediately rising to his feet when knocked to the ground.
As the bout proceeded to the scorecards, it appeared that either man could win or that a draw because to Edwards’ point deduction.
Instead, Edwards was declared the winner by a wide margin, to the raucous applause of the London crowd as the official scores of 48-46, 48-46, and 47-47 were announced.
UFC 286: Edwards vs Usman results
- Leon Edwards (c) def. Kamaru Usman via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)
- Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fiziev via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Gunnar Nelson def. Bryan Barberena via first-round submission (armbar)
- Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
- Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
- Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via first-round TKO (punches)
- Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via third-round submission (rear naked choke)
- Lerone Murphy vs. Gabriel Santos via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Christian Leroy Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via first-round TKO (injury)
- Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via first-round TKO (punches)
- Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ludovit Klein vs. Jai Herbert ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
- Veronica Macedo def. Julianna Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)