Leon Edwards won the UFC welterweight title in stunning fashion on Saturday night by cold-handling Kamaru Usman with a minute remaining in the main event of UFC 278.
Edwards was on the scorecards of all three judges and seemed to have nothing left, but he fended off the champion with a perfect headbutt and became Britain’s second UFC champion.
In doing so, Edwards dethroned the UFC’s pound-for-pound consensus king and avenged a decision loss to the 2015 Nigerian-American.
Usman (20-2) entered UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah undefeated in the UFC and on a 19-fight win streak. The 35-year-old was eyeing a sixth consecutive successful title defense, while Edwards (20-4, 1 no contest) was keen to continue a nine-fight win streak – which began right after his loss to Usman seven years ago.
After a bright start for Edwards as the 30-year-old defeated Usman in the first round, the champion appeared on course for another win. Never before had a UFC fighter scored an official takedown of the “Nigerian Nightmare,” but Edwards couldn’t build on that early moment – which was shocking enough and almost resulted in abandonment – when Usman used his grappling skills to take one Build up lead over the Nigerian Nightmare next three rounds.
The champion also assisted Edwards with fierce smashes against the fence before securing repeated takedowns against the Brit.
Edwards did well to get up every time but looked discouraged when the final lap came, his corner had just yelled at him to “get damn lively”.
However, Edwards couldn’t muster a sustained offense in the final frame. The action was even briefly interrupted when Usman complained about a kick that landed on him below the belt, although replays suggested Edward’s attack was perfectly legal.
But as the action resumed and Edwards trailed three rounds to one, the Briton faked a one-two with his hands, causing Usman to duck his head to the right. There his skull struck Edwards’ shin, leaving Usman cold.
“‘Pound-for-pound’, headshot, dead,” said Edwards, with the welterweight title draped over his shoulder.
“I told you we could win a belt from Britain, now look at me,” he added, emphasizing the fact that he has coached in Britain for most of his career. “There is no pound for pound [king]the belt does not belong to anyone.
“World Champion, World Champion, look at me now,” Edwards continued tearfully. “I was born in Jamaica with nothing. I lived in a wooden shack with a zinc roof. I told you mom I would change our lives.”
Leon Edwards defeated. Kamaru Usman (C) via 5th round KO (Headbutt, 4:04)
Paulo Costa defeated. Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Defeated Merab Dvalishvili. Jose Aldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27
Lucie Pudilova defeated. Wu Yanan via second-round TKO (elbow, 4:04)
Tyson Pedro defeated. Harry Hunsucker via first round TKO (body kick and ground punches, 1:05)
Defeated Marcin Tybura. Alexandr Romanov by majority vote (29-29, 29-28, 28-28)
Jared Gordon defeated. Leonardo Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sean Woodson vs. Luis Saldana ends in tied tie (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
Defeated Ange Loosa. AJ Fletcher by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Amir Albazi defeated. Francisco Figueiredo on First Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke, 4:34)
Defeated Aoriqileng. Jay Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Victor Altamirano defeated. Daniel da Silva via first round TKO (ground punches, 3:39)
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/ufc/leon-edwards-kamaru-usman-knockout-ufc-278-b2149396.html UFC 278: Leon Edwards knocks out Kamaru Usman to win welterweight title