Leon Edwards defended his UFC welterweight title against Kamaru Usman by majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47) on Saturday at UFC 286 in London. Here’s what you need to know:
- While fighting in his hometown, Edwards punched Usman with a slew of leg and body kicks to keep the wrestler at a distance.
- Edwards landed big knee jabs in the second and third rounds when he clinched Osman, and used a strong takedown defense to keep the fight afloat for the majority of the night.
- In the third round, Edwards clinched a point for grabbing the fence, which came after he was warned for grabbing a glove in the first round.
- Edwards has now gone unbeaten in his last 12 bouts (one no contest).
the athleteInstant Analysis:
Saturday marked the third fight between the heavyweights on the floors, with Usman winning the first bout (non-title fight) in his second ever UFC fight.
The second fight, for the welterweight title in August, shocked the MMA world when Edwards landed a last-minute knockout after being controlled all night.
How did Edwards pull it off?
With a takedown defense better than any other fighter we’ve seen deploy against Usman. After spending most of their first title fight on the whim of Osman’s style and speed, Edwards dictated the blow for much of Saturday night and built up his speed advantage to keep the fight afloat.
In front of the fence and in the middle, strong knees prevented Usman from establishing his usual dominance on the ground. And the gloved grip and fence grab didn’t hurt those efforts either. – polio
What’s next for Othman?
This is not entirely clear at the moment. Former title challenger Colby Covington cut weight and appeared at UFC 286 where the title fight was an alternate, suggesting he was near the top of the pecking order in a future title fight. But it is hard to imagine that Osman and Covington will battle it out again for the third time after Osman won the first two fights. Covington and Edwards never fought, and Covington tweeted about the champion after the fight.
See you in July @tweet
– Colby Covington (ColbyCovMMA) March 19, 2023
Could a foursome between Edwards and Osman be in store? It’s not that far fetched, after the UFC just pulled it off in the flyweight division between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo, though that series featured a draw. With Saturday’s welterweight bout ending in a majority decision, some of the fanbase may be dying to go one more time between Edwards and Usman. Osman’s Five Defenses would certainly earn him that respect. – polio
Updated status of the welterweight division
Away from Edwards and Covington, No. 3 seed Khamzat Chimaev is focused more on the middleweight class while No. 4 opponent Bilal Muhammad is nowhere to be found. Similar to Edwards, Muhammad has requested a title shot for years. Going through Osman may be a way there. – polio
(Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)