Edwards defeats Usman to retain title

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Leon Edwards defeats Usman Kamaru to retain title at the O2 Arena.

Leon Edwards made it a tough one for Usman Kamaru in the UFC286 to retain the title in front of London crowd.

Edwards (21-3) recorded his first defense of the UFC’s 170-pound championship on Saturday in front of a home crowd at O2 Arena in London, earning a majority decision on the scorecards. Two judges scored the five-round title bout 48-46 in favor of Edwards while a third scored it a 47-47 draw.

It was a much different fight and different Edwards from eight months ago. Edwards was clearly losing to Usman (20-3) at UFC 278 when he landed a stunning head kick that knocked the then-champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound candidate out cold.

“I knew I could go out there and take his shots,” Edwards said. “Even when he was pressuring, not much happened.”

According to UFC Stats, Edwards outlanded Usman 123-113 in total strikes and defended 11 of his 15 takedown attempts. Even when Usman did manage to drag Edwards to the floor, he failed to keep him down or generate a significant amount of offense.

Usman stated  that he felt he’d won. He did not argue over the result, however, and gave praise toward Edwards, whom he beat in a three-round nontitle fight in 2015.

“I knew it was a close fight,” Usman said. “Great game plan. I’ve always said it from the start, I knew I’d see Leon again and I’m not done. I’ll see him again. I’ve always given him props for everything he’s been able to accomplish. He’s just like me. It’s in his blood. Much respect, London. You’ve got yourself a great champion and a hell of a guy.”

Edwards committed a massive mistake in the third round when he grabbed the fence during a takedown attempt.

“Clearly, his coaches worked his defense on that,” Edwards said. “I couldn’t get it around anymore. I set it up with body kicks and leg kicks, but fair play to him.”

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