LONDON — Leon Edwards retained his welterweight title on Saturday after defeating challenger Kamaru Usman by majority decision at UFC 286.
The Jamaican-born Briton went 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in a trilogy of matches at London’s O2 Arena, as the judges scored and delivered a cleaner blow as the third match receded. I was.
Edwards got off to a strong start by connecting with two heavy body kicks in the opening round.
The 31-year-old Edwards’ speed unsettled Usman, but both fighters exchanged heavy blows after the challenger briefly defeated Edwards in the second round.
Usman grappled Edwards to the floor again early in the third, and Edwards docked a point for grabbing the fence.
A similar pattern unfolded in the fourth, which was equally tight, with Edwards trying to keep his distance and Usman trying to get closer.
Edwards avoided two more takedown attempts in the final round and caught Usman with an uppercut, but was hit in the body as his title defense was on the wire.
Edwards kicked the Nigerian head and neck in the fifth round of UFC 278 in Salt Lake City in August, ending Usman’s long reign as champion.
This was the third meeting more than seven years after the first battle, which Usman won.
“I think it was enough to win the game,” Usman, 35, told BT Sport after Saturday’s defeat. “It’s not over yet.”
Usman called Edwards “a great champion”.
USA’s Justin Gage defeated Rafael Fidzieff 29-28, 29-28, 28-28 at lightweight.