UFC 286: Leon Edwards retained his welterweight title by defeating Kamaru Usman by majority decision
Leon Edwards retained his welterweight title when he defeated rival Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 by majority decision to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 in his first title defense.
The judges scored a three-way fight at the O2 Arena in London 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in favor of the Briton, who landed the cleanest blows while their third fight went the distance.
“I knew I could get out there and take his shots,” Edwards said. “Even when he was pressing, not much happened.”
This was their third meeting, more than seven years after the first battle, in which Osman won.
Edwards got off to an encouraging start, connecting with two heavy kicks in the opening round. The 31-year-old’s speed unsettled Usman, but the challenger drove Edwards down briefly in the second round before both fighters traded some solid blows.
Osman wrestled Edwards to the ground again early in the third and the latter put up a point to grab the fence, leading many to believe the points were tied 28-28 going into the fourth round.
A similar pattern unfolded in the fourth, which was just as tight, with Edwards looking to keep his distance while Osman tried to close in.
Edwards evaded two more takedown attempts in the final round and caught Usman with an uppercut, but was hurt to the body as his title defense fell.
Edwards would end Usman’s long reign as champion with a kick to the head and neck of the Nigerian in the fifth round in Salt Lake City in August at UFC 278.
“I think I did enough to win the fight,” said Othman, 35. BT Sports after defeat. “I have not finished yet.”
He also showed good sportsmanship when speaking of Edwards’ victory: “I knew it was a close battle. Great game plan. I always said that from the start, I knew I would see Lyon again and I’m not finished. I’ll see him again.”
“I’ve always given him props for everything he’s been able to achieve. He’s just like me. It’s in his blood. So much respect, London. You’ve got yourself a great hero and a hell of a man.”