Leon Edwards handed Kamaru Usman the first knockout loss of his career as he fought to win the UFC Welterweight title in their showdown at UFC 278. Edwards’s victory came in the final minute of the fifth round in the form of a left-high kick that knocked the former champion out cold. With the victory, Edwards ended Usman’s 19-match winning streak, which was also his second professional loss.
The fight looked well on course to end in Usman’s favour. The Nigerian Nightmare was steady with his moves and punches, but he was not looking to make any real damage, and it seemed like he was aiming for a win via decision, a move that would later cost him the title.
Edwards made a mark early in the fight, scoring a takedown in the first round. But he seemed to lose his strength from there as Usman took charge of the fight from then on, while Edwards had to be on the defensive.
By the fifth round, it seemed almost certain that Edwards had nothing left in him, and Usman became a bit lax at this point, waiting for the decision of the judges. But it was in the final minute that the course of the fight changed. Without warning, Edwards first threw a jab before following it with a left head kick that dropped the Nigerian-American immediately. The fight, which was stopped at exactly 4:04, became the fourth-latest stoppage in a UFC Championship fight.
With the win, Edwards has become the second British to hold the UFC Welterweight title. As a Jamaican-born, he also became the first Jamaican UFC Champion.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, he said: “I can’t put it into words. It’s been a long four years. They all doubted me; they all said I couldn’t do it. Look at me now!
“Pound-for-pound. Headshot. Dead,” as he described his winning kick.
He also said that the fight was one of his worst performances and that the world is yet to see his best.
UFC President, Dana White, alluded to an interview, suggesting that the fight might take place in England at a soon-to-be-decided time.
Written by Oladipupo Mojeed