British Leon Edwards once again showed class against Nigerian -born Kamaru Usman in a thrilling five rounds to defend his welterweight title at UFC 286 in London.
Recall that both fighters were in the ring last August with Kamaru almost coasting home but a last minute kick from Edwards swun the victory to the Briton.
Having won the belt with a stunning final-round head kick last August, Edwards needed the judges at UFC 286 in London, but ran out a deserved winner after five rounds. Two judges scored the fight in Edwards’ favour by two rounds (48-46), while the third scored the bout a draw (47-47).
The challenger knew full well he was in hostile territory when he was serenaded by the chant: ‘Head shot, dead’, and Edwards rode the wave of his support in a performance of total concentration.
Usman continued to work his way into the fight with another takedown early in the third round. And he was given a shot in the arm when Edwards was deducted a point for holding the cage to potentially swing the fight in his favour.
Edwards continued to show impressive takedown defence in round four, while he chipped away at his challenger’s legs. It was all to play for in the final five minutes as Edwards finally threw a head kick in the opening seconds only for Usman to block. The Brit then switched to Usman’s body as he looked to finish the stronger.
He stuffed most of Usman’s takedown attempts and landed the more punishing shots in the fight, ending as the fresher man.
He was rewarded for punishing Usman with a barrage of leg kicks, slowing the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’, who marched forward with his usual suffocating style but that march became more of a hobble the longer he was sliced up.
The British fighter came out on top after the five-round war, with the three judges scoring it 48-46, 48-46 and 47-47 in his favour.
Edwards suffered a points deduction during the third round, after holding onto the cage, but still managed to come out on top in the huge clash.