Leon Edwards has defeated Kamaru Usman to retain his welterweight title at UFC 286 in London.
He retained his welterweight title as he B£at challenger Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 by majority decision to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 in his first defence of the title.
Judges scored the trilogy fight at the O2 Arena in London 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in favour of the Briton, who landed the cleaner blows as their third fight went the distance.
This was their third meeting, more than seven years after the first fight won by Usman. Edwards made an encouraging start, connecting with two heavy body kicks in the opening round. The 31-year-old’s greater speed unsettled Usman, but the challenger took Edwards down briefly in round two before both fighters traded some heavy blows.
Usman grappled Edwards to the floor again early in the third and the latter was docked a point for grabbing the fence, which led many to believe the points were tied 28-28 heading into the fourth round. Edwards evaded two more takedown attempts in the final round and caught Usman with an uppercut, but took a hit to the body as his title defence went down to the wire.
A similar pattern unfolded in the fourth, which was just as tight, with Edwards looking to keep his distance as Usman tried to get in close. Edwards had ended Usman’s long reign as champion with a kick to the Nigerian’s head and neck in the fifth round in Salt Lake City in August 2022 at UFC 278.
Edwards said after the fight: “He didn’t get any takedowns and I was defending multiple of his shots. I want to say thank you to him, he’s been a great competitor. I was trying to get the head kick, but fair play to him because he had perfect defence.”
Usman added: “I think I did enough to win but it was close, I’m not done and I’ll see him again. He put on a hell of a gameplan. I’m going to get back to my coaches because I can’t sit out for too long, I start getting antsy.”