Leon Edwards survived a point deduction to beat Kamaru Usman again and defend his welterweight title at UFC 286 in London.
‘Rocky’ picked up a majority decision [48-46, 48-46, 47-47] win after five rounds of fighting with Usman at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.
The opening round was understandably a tentative one but that didn’t stop fans lucky enough to be at UFC 286 from enjoying themselves as they loudly chanted for Edwards throughout the first five minutes.
His famous ‘Headshot, dead’ catchphrase echoed around the iconic London stadium as he caught the eye with several heavy body kicks in an otherwise uneventful round of UFC pay-per-view action.
Both men had their moments in round two but it was Edwards who continued to impress the UK fight fans with his slick striking.
However, Usman landed big shots of his own and even had a bit of success with his wrestling which helped him enjoy one of the most impressive UFC welterweight title runs of all time.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ secured an early takedown in round three but was not able to keep the champion on the floor.
Referee Herb Dean believed Edwards got back to his feet by illegally grabbing the fence and controversially deducted a point from the Englishman before allowing the fight to continue.
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After another halt in the action due to a low blow, Edwards and Usman went strike for strike in a round that would’ve been difficult to score if the referee hadn’t intervened.
The fourth round was another close one that could have gone either way.
Edwards had success with his strikes and defended takedowns well but Usman kept him busy with his jab and constant grappling threat.
The champion poured it on at the start of round five and even landed a head kick similar to the one he knocked out Usman with when they fought at UFC 278 last August.
Usman survived the flurry and tried to get a takedown but was shrugged off much to the delight of fans watching UFC 286 live who cheered wildly following the exchange.
The Nigerian looked to close the distance every chance he got in the final round. He survived it this time, but he didn’t do enough to get the 170lb strap back.
Colby Covington was cageside for the UFC 286 main event but Edwards seems more interested in facing Jorge Masvidal or Gilbert Burns who fight at UFC 287 next month.