Leon Edwards outpoints Kamaru Usman to retain welterweight title in nervy UFC 286 main event
Leon Edwards edged past Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 on Saturday, retaining the welterweight title at London’s O2 Arena in a nervy main event.
Edwards dethroned the dominant Usman in August, stunning the Nigerian-American with a head-kick knockout with one minute left on the clock, after being controlled for the majority of the bout.
That result followed the pair’s 2015 clash, which Usman won on points with a comfortable showing against the Jamaican-born Briton, and fans had been left to guess this week whether Usman would be able to out-grapple his successor again en route to victory – or whether Edwards could conjure a moment of martial arts magic once more.
Ultimately, under the dome of the O2 – which reverberated with every roar from the London crowd – there were no comfortable moments for either fighter on Saturday.
Thirty-one-year-old Edwards, using a variety of calf kicks, oblique kicks and body kicks, seemed to pull ahead in a tense first two rounds, before the playing field appeared to level out after Round 3, in which Usman started to find his grappling form and Edwards was docked a point for holding the fence to stand.
And Edwards seemed at risk of losing further points, as referee Herb Dean warned him about holding the glove of Usman, who also complained of multiple alleged kicks to the groin.
A close fourth round left the result no clearer, but Edwards produced an impressive final frame to deny his opponent multiple takedowns, while intermittently stinging the 35-year-old with uppercuts and leg kicks.
Ultimately, Edwards was named a majority-decision winner, with the judges’ scorecards reading 48-46, 48-46, 48-48.
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