Leon Edwards successfully defended his UFC welterweight title by defeating Kamaru Usman by majority decision at UFC 286 in London.
Edwards, who had a 12-fight unbeaten streak in the UFC, maintained his title in front of his home crowd after a superb striking performance in which he blocked the bulk of Usman’s takedown attempts.
In their trilogy match, the 31-year-old Briton edged out former champion Kamaru Usman by points. It was a close match, although Edwards’ shots were cleaner.
Judges scored the bout 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 to give Edwards a majority decision.
The electrified O2 Arena was rocking in the early hours of Sunday as the rapt audience saw Leon Edwards be crowned the victor.
The battle at the O2 Arena was advertised as the largest MMA fight in British history.
Edwards avenged a 2015 loss to Usman with a stunning victory over the 35-year-old Nigerian in August. He became only the second British UFC champion, and the first since Michael Bisping in 2016.
As a result of the victory, the UFC will have a trilogy bout and its first numbered show in the United Kingdom since 2016, when Bisping defended his middleweight title against Dan Henderson in Manchester.
In what was an enthralling bout that saw both fighters produce a stellar display and end to end stuff in London, Edwards showed more determination as he edged Usman to earn his first title defence since defeating the Nigerian in August.
After the loss, Kamaru Usman congratulated Edwards on his accomplishments by calling him “a great champion.”
He also noted that he did enough to win but admitted it was close.
Usman told BT Sport: “I think I did enough to win the fight but I knew it was close.
“He had a great gameplan. I always said from the start we’d meet again and I’m not done. We will see each other again.
“I always gave him props for what he’s accomplished. He’s a brother like myself and great respect. London you’ve got yourself a great champion.
When asked about his plans to get back in the octagon, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, Usman who has now lost two successive fights said: “Not too long. I’ll get back with my coaches. I’m one of those guys, I can’t sit for too long.
“I’ll spend some time with my daughter. You guys get to watch us but you don’t know what we have to sacrifice to be here. We put it on the lines every time,” he added.
He said: “That man [Colby Covington] has sat out for two years. I might take a little trip to Miami and see what’s going on there.”
On his win against Usman, Edwards said: “He didn’t get any takedowns I was landing cleaner shots. I took out his legs.
“Thanks to Kamaru for being a great competitior.
“I couldn’t get the kick around his head. He had the perfect defence. I was trying to set it up with kicks to the body and legs.
“I know it was a close fight so I knew I had to land the cleaner shots. He didn’t land many clean on me. He just had lots of pressure.