UFC 286: Pros react to Leon Edwards closing rivalry with Kamaru Usman

UFC 286: Edwards v Usman 3
UFC 286: Edwards v Usman 3 / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

See how fellow fighters reacted to Leon Edwards keeping the welterweight title by winning his UFC 286 trilogy bout with Kamaru Usman.

Leon Edwards has proven that his comeback victory to win the UFC welterweight title at UFC 278 was no fluke, as he went the distance and retained the belt in his native England in the main event of UFC 286.

Just like the second fight, Edwards got control early on, unanimously winning the first round with a few notable strikes that Edwards landed on Usman. While Edwards looked to continue the momentum in a high-paced second round with some strong work inside, Usman held his own with some noteworthy strikes and scoring a couple of takedowns on Edwards.

Usman claimed control in the third with his takedown work. On one of those takedown attempts, Edwards blatantly grabbed the fence, causing a one-point deduction for him. Edwards's striking was still persistent, however, as he landed about 70 percent of his significant strike attempts by the end of the third.

Usman looked to close the distance and was on the front foot a lot to start the fourth round, scoring a couple of more takedowns, though Edwards still seemed to land the cleaner shots. Edwards landed a high kick early in the fifth, but Usman went back to looking for a takedown. Edwards fought it off and went back onto the attack, overwhelming Usman with strikes.

Despite the point deduction causing one judge's card to end with a 47-47 draw, the other two judges scored the round 48-46 to allow Edwards to get a majority decision and keep the belt.

UFC 286: Pros react to Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3

The first time Edwards and Usman met was a UFC Fight Night card in December 2015 β€” Usman's first fight in the UFC since winning season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter. Usman used his wrestling and takedowns to score a unanimous decision win.

By the time they fought in a rematch which came last August at UFC 278, Usman was the UFC welterweight champion and had successfully defended the title five times. He had gone from 7-1 after his first fight with Edwards to 20-1 and undefeated in the UFC.

Usman appeared to be on his way to winning a unanimous decision again against Edwards until Edwards threw up a hail mary head kick in the final round, giving Edwards the upset win in comeback fashion and the welterweight title in one of MMA's greatest victories.

Next. UFC weight classes in order. dark

UFC 286: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 takes place on Saturday, March 18 2023, live from the O2 Arena in London, England. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights throughout fight week.