Leon Edwards defended his UFC welterweight belt, defeating Kamaru Usman via a majority decision. Rocky outmatched his rival in all aspects of the fight, and to be honest, just a few expected to see him being that confident against once the No.1 pound-for-pound guy.
Edwards was not only repelling every attack Kamaru tried, but also he would hurt the former champion, usually with his keg kicks and fantastic clinch bangs, even though that should have been Usman’s specialty. We saw him inflicting a few heavy body kicks in the opening round, and after that, some pretty nasty hooks and jabs. From time to time, Usman managed to connect as well, but not to cause damage.
Edwards felt comfortable in the clinch and delivered a couple of hard knees to Kamaru’s head, which forced the Nigerian Nightmare to be more cautious. After hand-gloving the rival and grabbing the fence, the judge in the ring, Herb Dean, deducted one point from Rocky midway through the third round.
LEON EDWARDS REMAINS THE UFC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION 🏆 @Leon_edwardsmma l #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/tcV241hVuy
— ESPN (@espn) March 19, 2023
That was when Kamaru pushed the most, but Edwards remained calm and focused, not allowing the challenger to get an edge over him. After rebuffing these attacks, Rocky became more aggressive, especially with his kicks, keeping the distance between him and Usman.
What we need to say is that his takedown defense was excellent, with Edwards constantly isolating Usman’s left wrist, going at it with both of his hands. It would enable the Nigerian to have control or be as efficient as usual.
Throughout the entire bout, the fans at the O2 Arena in London were incredible, boosting Edward’s morale and cheering for their favorite. It wouldn’t be a mistake to say they added at least 10% quality to the champ’s performance with constant support.
After this victory, nobody will have the right to dispute Leon’s triumph in the second bout and the head-shot stunner he delivered in the final round. The Englishman most definitely showed tonight that Usman isn’t a better fighter than him right now.
Following the decision, Kamaru accepted that he lost, stating that his rival had “one hell of a game plan.”
What is next for Kamaru nobody knows. The division is stacked, but for the moment, all the other fighters have more or less projected clashes. Leon will have to defend the belt, and the first in line to challenge him is Colby Covington, but Rocky stated that he doesn’t want to fight him, because of the American’s long pause. According to the champions’ words, Colby has to earn a shot at the title.
great job Leon. why should Colby get another title fight? #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/yq9pHwwBje
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) March 19, 2023
In other battles, Justin Gaethje defeated Rafael Fiziev via a major decision, cementing his status as an elite lightweight. Throughout all three rounds, Gaethje was dominant, and even though Fiziev did have some flashes in the opening sequence, the American terminated that very quickly.
Gunnar Nelson submitted Bryan Barberena in the first round via armbar, while Jennifer Main bested Casey O’Neill after a unanimous decision.
Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze had an interesting contest in which the Italian Dream ended up winning, restraining the cocky Georgian who apparently didn’t have the quality to bring down stubborn rival.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.
Leave a Reply