UFC 286 results: Leon Edwards defeats Kamaru Usman in thrilling fashion to defend his welterweight title.
Following his decisive victory over Kamaru Usman in their trilogy bout, LEON EDWARDS retained his UFC welterweight title.
On Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, the main event of UFC 286 featured a rematch between the pride of Birmingham and the Nigerian Nightmare.
In their rematch last August, Edwards ripped the belt from Usman’s hands with a stunning head kick KO to become Britain’s second UFC champion.
And his reign continued with a majority decision victory over the former pound-for-pound king of the UFC.
The rowdy O2 crowd booed as Nigeria’s Nightmare Usman walked out, but he still looked unfazed.
But Edwards didn’t flinch as his music blared and he marched to the cage to the applause of an entire country.
Usman took the center of the octagon right away, and the champion opened with a low kick that he had to avoid with a barrage of feints.
Early in the round, the crowd chanted, “Headshot dead,” to remind Usman of the fate he suffered only seven months earlier.
They were followed by a series of “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky” performances as the two men continued to get to know one another.
Usman put his right hand down as soon as they stopped, and Edwards followed suit with a left hand a few seconds later.
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By squeezing Edwards up against the cage, Usman hoped to secure a takedown.
But the champion did very well to avoid touching the fence. Usman was reminded of Edwards’s nasty arsenal when the latter delivered a nice knee to the middle of his face after a clinch.
Usman was nearly knocked out by a body kick and was compelled to close the gap. Usman made sure to lock eyes with the champion after the horn sounded, ending the round in his glare.
At the beginning of the second, the crowd booed Usman for trying to close the distance before the referee, Herb Dean, gave the all clear.
After complaining about a low blow, which was unjustified, he was hit with a new round of blows.
Edwards’s body and leg kicks were still knocking the challenger to the ground.
Soon after, Usman took a knee to the gut and was followed up with a left hand that left him sputtering.
But he managed to stay upright and land a big right hand, which he then used to move into a takedown.
Edwards was knocked against the fence for a second, but he got back up.
Still, he got back up and landed a piston straight left after foolishly putting himself back in a bad position with a takedown.
Soon after, however, Usman shifted strategies, instead jabbing the Brummie in the body and throwing leg and teep kicks.
As the horn sounded to signal the end of the second round, both men landed hard right and left hands on each other before jawing each other down.
Early in the third, Edwards again found a perfect spot on the inside of Usman’s lead leg and pummeled it.
Edwards appeared deflated after Usman landed a high crotch takedown on him.
But he got back up, only to have a point deducted for a fence grab shortly after.
Even though the break in play was due to Edwards’s foul, they resumed their fight in the center.
Edwards was reminded of Usman’s strength with a stiff jab from the former domina champion.
Usman, the hungry challenger, kept up the pressure but ended up needing medical attention for a low blow to the groin.
A beautiful knee left hook combo from Edwards sent Usman reeling backwards.
Usman attempted a takedown to end the round, but his attempt was unsuccessful.
At the beginning of the fourth, the rowdy British fans in attendance tried to lift Edwards’ spirits by chanting, “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky.”
Usman was visibly irritated after receiving a low kick that reverberated around the arena, and he responded by opening up with his hands.
When the Nigerian-American landed a solid two-punch combo, the crowd reacted with gasps and chants of “headshot dead.”
The crowd went wild when Edwards took a body kick from Usman but knocked out his standing leg.
Former champion attempted another takedown as a result, but Edwards defended it well.
Even with a minute left in the round, Usman gave it his all to end the fight but was unsuccessful. In the subsequent break, he took a knee to the stomach and a hefty left hook.
With 40 seconds left in the round, the challenger shot in again, but Edwards avoided the blow once again.
As soon as the gloves went on at the beginning of the fifth, the crowd went wild.
Once again, Usman attempted to close the gap in preparation for a takedown by means of a feint.
He took a clean blow to the head, but he handled it a lot better than he had back in August.
Edwards’s confidence grew after he successfully defended yet another takedown, and he promptly landed two stuff straight lefts and a snapping head kick.
Usman quickly had him backed up against the fence, attempting a takedown. Edwards did an excellent job of dodging and blocking, and he eventually regained his footing and returned to his outside striking.
Once again, Usman was taken down and ate a big knee, but that didn’t stop him from firing again.
However, Edwards kept his cool and used a stiff straight left to snap back Usman’s head.
The champion had to muster every ounce of strength to get to his feet with less than a minute remaining, but when he did, he was met with the loudest applause of the evening.
As more pro-Edwards chants erupted, Usman, clearly out of options, managed to initiate another clinch.
In the final moments of the round, Usman unleashed a furious flurry in a desperate attempt to secure the victory. Edwards, however, made it through to the judges’ final scores.