Briton Leon Edwards pulled off a fifth-round head-kick knockout out of nowhere to dethrone Kamaru Usman and win the UFC welterweight title at UFC 278 on Saturday to crown one of many best comebacks in blended martial arts historical past.
The 30-year-old Jamaican-born British fighter seemed to be headed for a defeat on the judges’ scorecards when he faked a jab along with his left hand after which landed a left-foot kick to the pinnacle that sparked the 35-year-old Nigerian to assert the belt.
“All of them doubted me, all of them stated I couldn’t do it – have a look at me now!” Edwards roared in his post-fight interview within the cage.
Edwards is simply the second British fighter to carry a UFC title, following within the footsteps of Michael Bisping, who received the middleweight tile in 2016.
On a streak of 15 wins within the UFC coming into the bout, Usman struggled within the first spherical as Edwards, whom he beat of their solely earlier assembly in 2015, shocked him by taking him right down to the mat for the primary time in his UFC profession.
Edwards threatened to complete the struggle with a rear bare choke however Usman, who was making his sixth title defence, survived and got here roaring again within the second spherical as Edwards appeared to stumble early on.
The 35-year-old Usman then returned to the form of suffocating wrestling that has been the bedrock of his combating fashion since he turned professional in 2012, backing his opponent as much as the fence and taking him down at will.
He dominated Edwards and appeared like he would retain the belt once more till the challenger starched him with that kick with simply 56 seconds left within the struggle.
“I’m from the trenches, I’m constructed like this, I battle till the battle is finished. I’ve been down my entire life, and have a look at me now!” an elated Edwards stated.
Paulo Costa prevailed over former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in a unanimous determination within the middleweight bout. Costa had misplaced two straight bouts coming into Salt Lake Metropolis.
Rockhold (returned to the octagon for the primary time in three years and his rust confirmed because the bout progressed. Costa greater than doubled Rockhold in whole strikes by the primary two rounds and finally left him with a bloodied mouth within the third spherical. Rockhold wiped his personal blood over Costa’s face within the spherical’s last seconds whereas each fighters had been locked in a stalemate on the bottom.
Merab Dvalishvili prevailed over former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a unanimous determination within the males’s bantamweight bout, incomes his eighth straight win. Aldo had vocal assist from the gang however wore down beneath relentless strain from Dvalishvili over three rounds.
Lucie Pudilova beat Wu Yanan in the principle card girls’s bantamweight bout for her third straight win. Yanan suffered her fourth straight loss. Pudilova earned a TKO on the 4:04 mark within the second spherical after dragging Yanan to the canvas and repeatedly smashing elbows into her from a again mount.
Tyson Pedro earned a TKO over Harry Hunsucker 1:05 into the primary spherical within the mild heavyweight bout to spherical out the principle card bouts.