Leon Edwards seemed to be on a clear path to defeat after losing more than 3 and a half rounds to the dominant pressure and grappling of Kamaru Usman, but then landed a fight-ending head kick with just :56 seconds left in the fight.
Fans at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah absolutely erupted when the kick landed and Usman hit the floor out cold. Edwards didn’t throw any follow up shots, but instead walked away with his hands in the air in victory, before erupting in celebration himself.
The victory was hard earned for Edwards. He had a great 1st-round, where he dished out Usman’s 1st officially recorded takedown, then established a strong mount, and even took Usman’s back. But after that, it was Usman’s fight completely, as Usman scored takedowns at will and seemed to mentally break Edwards.
Commentator Daniel Cormier said it best: ‘we had already written Leon’s obituary.’ By the final moments of round 5, the fight seemed to so clearly belong to Usman, the man who’s pre-fight promo talked of him being the GOAT. With under a minute to go in the fight, the supposedly defeated Edwards found the opening with a jab feint to a head kick and sent Usman’s eyes rolling back into his head.
Edward’s gave an emotional post-fight interview, addressing all of the people who had counted him out, ‘Look at me now’, were the words he had to say to them. In the tunnel afterwards, cameras showed him crying on the phone with his mom and family.
It can be imagined that Edward’s first title defense will be a rematch against Usman. But for now, the crown will be held in England with a new king in the Middleweight division.
// MAIN CARD //
Leon Edwards def. Kamaru Usman via KO
Paulo Costa def. Luke Rockhold via Unanimous Decision
Merab Dvalishvili def. Jose Aldo via Unanimous Decision
Lucie Pudilova def. Wu Yanan via TKO
Tyson Pedro def. Harry Hunsucker via TKO
// PRELIMS //
Marcin Tybura def. Alexandr Romanov via Majority Decision
Jared Gordon def. Leonardo Santos via Unanimous Decision
Luis Saldana vs. Sean Woodson declared Split Draw
Ange Loosa def. A.J. Fletcher via Unanimous Decision
// EARLY PRELIMS //
Amir Albazi def. Francisco Figueiredo via Submission (rear-naked choke)
Aori Qileng def. Jay Perrin via Unanimous Decision
Victor Altamirano def. Daniel Da Silva via TKO