Edwards retains UFC welterweight crown vs Usman

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Edwards retains UFC welterweight crown vs Usman
Leon Edwards (in black shorts) throws a punch against Kamaru Usman
Twitter / UFC

MANILA, Philippines — If Kamaru Usman felt that Leon Edwards didn’t show him anything the last time they tussled, he should respect the latter now after UFC 286.

Edwards successfully defended the championship that he shockingly wrested from Usman last year with a gritty and masterful performance in front of a hometown crowd at the O2 Arena in London, England Sunday morning. 

UFC 286 was televised live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports Channel on Sky and Cignal as well as the TapGo TV streaming application.

In his first title defense and rubber match in his personal trilogy with Usman, Edwards threw off Usman with dozens of leg kicks and successfully fended off any takedown attempts. 

The Englishman, showing more poise and confidence than in any of their previous two matches, frustrated Usman time and again. 

Usman's striking made the fight competitive, and he did land a lot of them. Edwards was penalized a point for grabbing the fence, making it a close fight to call. 

Nevertheless, Edwards was more clinical and the judges awarded a majority decision — 48-47, 48-47, and 47-47 that kept the belt in the champ's corner.

Quipped Edwards after the fight: "He didn't get any takedowns, I landed the cleaner shots, I took out his legs. It's been my hardest fight to this day, and I want to thank him for being a great competitor. Listen to the crowd!"

Usman, on his first-ever losing streak, likewise paid tribute: “London, you’ve got a hell of a guy, and a great champion.”

The win saw Edwards better his record going 21-3-0 versus Usman’s 20-3-0. 

The UFC announced a sold out show with 17,588 paying patrons with a ticket gross of US $ 8,577,197. UFC 286 was the highest grossing event in O2 Arena history.

The Fight of the Night was awarded to Justin Gaethje versus Rafael Fiziev in which the former won by a majority decision. The Performance of the Night went to Jake Hadley who defeated Malcolm Gordon via TKO at 1:01 of the first round. Also awarded Performance of the Night was Gunnar Nelson whose armbar saw Bryan Barbarena tap out at the 4:51 mark of the first round.



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