In the “UFC 278” mixed martial arts (MMA) held in Salt Lake City (USA) on Sunday morning Lithuanian time, a 30-year-old Briton presented an incredible sensation Leon Edwards (20-3), who after a tough four rounds managed to land an ideal left leg to the face and knocked out the 35-year-old Nigerian, who was called the absolute best male fighter in the UFC KAmaru Usman (20-2) and became the welterweight world champion.
— UFC News (@UFCNews) August 21, 2022
Less than 2 minutes later, K. Usman managed to knock L. Edwards down, but the latter quickly got up and pressed himself against the cage net. L.Edwards soon made history when he knocked down K.Usman with the help of his leg and became the first fighter to do so in 16 UFC fights. L.Edwards was able to wrap his legs around K.Usman from behind and tried to perform a choke action, but K.Usman successfully defended until the end of the round.
After losing the first round, K.Usman started the second one by pressing L.Edwards and performing much more punches. However, after 1 min. 37 sec. in the second round L.Edwards poked K.Usman in the eye with his finger and the latter needed time to recover. Later, K.Usmanas continued the pressure, although L.Edwards also had his moments and hit some very accurate punches, but at the end of the round, K.Usmanas knocked down his opponent.
In the third round, after a minute of exchanging punches, K. Usman knocked L. Edwards to the ground again quite easily. Although he managed to stand up, K. Usman continued to use his usual pressure and practically did not give L. Edwards opportunities to attack. Although he later managed to break free from K. Usman’s grip, the latter again very quickly pressed L. Edwards to the edge of the cage and to the ground and continued the dominant pressure.
At the beginning of the fourth round, L.Edwards managed to press K.Usman to the edge of the cage for a short time, but soon the champion was knocked down and dominated from the top position. For the seventh time in his UFC career, K.Usman made 5 or more takedowns in one fight. Towards the end of the round, L.Edwards used the cage and stood up clinging to it, but the referee, noticing this, stopped the fight and returned the fighters to their previous position. K.Usman finished the round with a powerful barrage of punches, and L.Edwards looked a bit disappointed after the round with how the fight was going.
The fifth round gave the fans something that almost no one expected. Just a minute before the end of the fight, L.Edwards forced K.Usman to bend over with a left hand punch and immediately followed with an impressive left leg kick that knocked out K.Usman. The fight was immediately stopped, preventing L. Edwards from even adding any punches.
AND NEW 🏆
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 21, 2022
Just like that baby, what a game! Huge congrats @ParadigmSports and Leon Edwards! ANOTHER CHAMPION!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 21, 2022
Until now, K. Usman was considered by many, including UFC president Dana White, to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC. He had defended the championship title five times, and his winning streak was 18.
L.Edwards had not lost since 2015, and it was in that year that he lost to K.Usman by decision of the judges. Then it was only K. Usman’s second fight in the UFC, while for L. Edwards it was his fourth fight in the world’s strongest MMA organization. Separately, it was L.Edwards’ tenth victory in the last 11 fights, and he was undefeated in that place, but he ended the fight with Belal Muhammad without a winner.
After realizing his dream and becoming the UFC champion, L. Edwards struggled to hold back tears.
“You all said I couldn’t do it. Look at me now! Kick to the head. Dead,” L. Edwards said. “That’s how I’m made. I’m going to the end. Look at me now. I said I could do it. Pound-for-pound? That belt does not belong to anyone!”.
“I was born in Jamaica with nothing. I lived in a wooden shed. … LOOK AT ME NOW!”
— ESPN (@espn) August 21, 2022
L.Edwards became only the second fighter from Great Britain to become the UFC champion (the first was Michael Bisping).
“I can’t explain it,” Edwards said. “God is on my side. I felt like this was my moment. They all said I couldn’t come back and do it. Look at me now. World Champion”.
Leon Edwards with his mother on the phone after winning the Welterweight Belt pic.twitter.com/KMNzCJEIsy
— Mircea (@MirceaMMA) August 21, 2022
In the post-tournament press conference, D. White called it one of the most shocking results of the title fight. He also said that he wants to see the third fight between L.Edwards and K.Usman, which could take place in England.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) August 21, 2022
Leon Edwards defeated Kamaru Usman by knockout – Round 5, 4:04
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Merab Dvalishvili defeated Jose Aldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Lucie Pudilova defeated Yanan Wu by TKO – Round 2, 4:04
Tyson Pedro defeated Harry Hunsucker by TKO – Round 1, 1:05
Marcin Tybura defeated Aleksandra Romanova by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
Jared Gordon defeated Leonardo Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Luis Saldana vs. Sean Woodson ended in a draw (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
Ange Loosa defeated AJ Fletcher by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Amir Albazi defeated Francisco Figueiredo via rear-naked choke – Round 1, 4:34
Aori Qileng defeated Jay Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Victor Altamirano defeated Daniel Da Silva by TKO – Round 1, 3:39