Leon Edwards successfully defends welterweight title with UFC 286 victory over Kamaru Usman

Usman-Edwards 2 Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Leon Edwards has defeated Kamaru Usman for a second straight time.

The 31-year-old claimed a majority decision victory (48–46, 48–46, 47–47) on Saturday night in London, retaining the UFC welterweight title that he took from Usman last year. The duo put on a show for the boisterous crowd at the O2 Arena, who were decidedly in favour of their compatriot Edwards against Nigerian-born Usman.

Edwards declared in the days leading up to Saturday's bout that he "just can't see how" Usman would defeat him, as the champion assured that he was ready for whatever the 35-year-old legend could throw at him. And the England-raised fighter was correct in his assesment, as Edwards was prepared for his opponent's intentions to pressure him for takedowns, with the champion peppering the challenger with several dozen low kicks to keep Usman at bay.

Even when Usman was able to get in close, Edwards' takedown defence was brilliant in its execution, as the champion was frequently able to wriggle free from each of Usman's advances.

That's not to say that the challenger was soundly beaten — in fact, Usman was able to land quite a few stinging shots and he likely won two of the five rounds, but Edwards' cool execution of his gameplan was enough for the champion to retain his title.

"Feels great," Edwards said on the broadcast after the fight. "Everything we've been working on last camp and stuff just clicked. I felt super super calm, from the beginning to the end."

Immediately prior to the main event, Justin Gaethje defeated Rafael Fiziev in a thriller of a lightweight fight. Gaethje left Fiziev bloodied and bruised as both men connected with heavy shots, but it was Gaethje who would take a majority decision (29–28, 29–28, 28–28).

Also on the main card, Gunnar Nelson submitted Bryan Barberena in the first round after an early takedown that led to an armbar. As well, Jennifer Maia topped Casey O'Neill and Marvin Vettori defeated Roman Dolidze, both by unanimous decision.


And still....

Edwards wins it by decision, to retain the title.

Round 5 over

Both men raise their hands as the horn sounds, but this fight is too close to call. Edwards' takedown defence was masterful, but Usman did get some strikes in from close and managed to sit Edwards briefly during that round.

Round 4 is over

Edwards' takedown defence continues to be stellar as Usman keeps trying to press. A big final round is coming up!

Round 3 ends

Edwards had a point deducted for grabbing the fence as Usman increased his takedowns. It's still a rather even fight.

Round 2 ends

Usman landed significantly more strikes in that round as he looked to get in close and force Edwards to the ground, but Edwards had the strike of the round with a massive knee to the face.

Round 1 over

Edwards does well to keep Usman at bay. Most noteworthy moment was a glove grab by Edwards that elicited a warning from the referee.

Edwards vs. Usman 3 starts

Announcements are done. Main event is on!

Justin Gaethje defeats Rafael Fiziev

Gaethje landed a number of brutal strikes in this fight as Fiziev walked away bloodied and bruised. 

It was an easy decision for the judges.

Gunnar Nelson defeats Bryan Barberena

Nelson got Barberena down early and eventually set his opponent up for the armbar, which led to the first-round submission. Textbook stuff.

It's a star-studded audience at the O2 tonight

Jennifer Maia defeats Casey O'Neill

Maia earns the unanimous decision after a spirited bout in which O'Neill held her own. Maia was the agressor in the opening two rounds while O'Neill found some success in the third, but it was too late to sway the judges as the Brazilian had her hand raised.

Marvin Vettori defeats Roman Dolidze

It's a unanimous decision victory for Vettori, who employed a kick-heavy strategy against his opponent. Dolidze seemed almost averse to doing anything other than pucnching to the head, and in the end it was his undoing as Vettori showed a more well-rounded performance.

Main card coming up

Here's how the prelims shook out:

- Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller; UD

- Jai Herbert vs. Ľudovít Klein; Draw

- Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina; SD

- Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon; TKO (punches)

- Christian Leroy Duncan def. Duško Todorović; TKO (knee injury)

- Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos; SD

- Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho; Submission (neck crank)

- Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson; KO (punches)

- Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales; SD

- Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani; Submission (rear-naked choke)

How to watch UFC 286 tonight

  • U.S.: ESPN+ PPV
  • UK: BT Sport Boxing Office
  • Germany, Austria and Italy: DAZN

Fans in the U.S. will be able to watch the fight on ESPN+ PPV (click here for more information), while the fight will be available to purchase on BT Sport Box Office in the UK. Viewers in Germany, Austria and Italy can watch on DAZN

Fans in other regions are encouraged to consult UFC.com for broadcast information.

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