Leon Edwards: How He Got The Better Of Usman

BT Sport

Jamaican-born British MMA fighter Leon Edwards, also known by the nickname ‘Rocky’ pulled back a miraculous win against Kamaru Usman in the fifth round of UFC 278. The last-minute knockout ended a 19-fight win streak for Usman, who was actually up throughout the fight with 39-37 on all judges’ scorecards. The result of the fight saw Edwards taking the welterweight title. For those using Midnite and other betting platforms, the shock win for Edwards was certainly an interesting one. Here, we’re taking a look at just how Rocky done it. 

The Fight 

Usman has long been a front-runner in the welterweight division, with many wins under his belt including a notable win against Edwards (20-3, 1 NC). The fighter has dominated in many fights and was dominating throughout with judges giving more points on the scorecards throughout the night.

Edwards had a few spikes in performance, with Usman struggling slightly in the first round as Edwards took him down to the mat and was met with a rear naked choke. However, the pro came back in the second round and controlled the rest of the fight.  

Many analysts had already written up Edwards’ post-match ‘obituary’ during the fight as Usman continued to land blow after blow – but that all changed in the fifth round. 

The Fifth Round

In the fifth round, Edwards was headed for defeat – and then pulled back one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history. The 30-year-old Jamaican fighter faked a left-handed jab and landed a huge left-foot kick to Usman’s head and it was this kick that saw Usman wiped out with just 56 seconds left of the fight. 

At the end of the right, an elated Edwards said: “I’m from the trenches, I’m bult like this, I battle until the battle is done. I’ve been down my whole life and look at me now!” 

Usman responded however with “Champions fall, then they get back and show you why they’re champions”. 


Despite the win, there have been accusations of ‘cheating’ by grabbing the fence on numerous occasions before the Hail Mary kick with some MMA analysts determining that even the ref had to step in. Despite the step in from referee Herb Dean, no point deductions were given. It wasn’t just Edwards who was warned of this however, as Usman was also given a warning by the ref to stop putting his fingers on the cage. 

MMA analyst, and former middleweight title contender, Chael Sonnen explained that “Leon cheat in that match a whole bunch of times” and speculated that the fence grabs may have stopped Usman from finishing Rocky on the ground. Edwards has yet to comment on this speculation and controversy and Kamaru equally has not spoken of the incidents. 

What’s Next For The Fighters? 

With a win a piece for the two fighters, it is expected that the promotion for a third battle in early 2023 will get the green light and go ahead pretty quickly. UFC President Dana White saying that the trilogy fight promotion plan is set up and ready to go with a third fight in London. 


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