Edwards vs Usman: UFC 286 has room for only one welterweight champion

Leon Edwards UFC 286 Win Kamaru Usman

Leon Edwards will face Kamaru Usman for the third time in an epic trilogy bout, and it will be the first time Edwards defends his welterweight belt. With his stunning fifth-round knockout of Usman in August, Edwards became only the second British fighter to win the UFC title. Their trilogy match will be the main event of UFC 286 on Saturday, March 18, and it will be the first UFC pay-per-view event that London has seen in six years. It is set to commence by 5 p.m.

UFC on Fox: Dos Anjos vs Cowboy 2 brought these two together for the first time in December 2015, and Usman came out on top by a unanimous decision. At their second encounter, at UFC 278 in August 2022, Usman was defeated by Edwards. Usman had won his previous 19 fights in a row until this loss. So, it’s evident that the Nigerian Nightmare will seek revenge and aim to break the tie between them.

Both fighters have a solid reputation, so fans are looking forward to the outcome of the event. This article explores the records of Edward and Usman and provides more information about the event scheduled to take place on March 18th. We have also included predictions of who will likely be the UFC 286 winner.

Two giants will fight for the title

Before diving into what to expect from the fight this weekend, let’s look at both champions. Leon Edwards, born on August 25, 1991, started by fighting his first bouts in England. However, he made his professional MMA debut at Bushido Challenge 2: A New Dawn in 2010, defeating Carl Booth in the second round with an armbar submission.

READ MORE:  UFC flyweight Mariya Agapova will 'probably be homeless' in a week, reveals alarming 'slavery' allegations

He made his debut at the UFC on November 14, where he fought Cláudio Silva, whom he lost to by split decision. At UFC Fight Night 64 in 2015, he faced Seth Baczynski and won via knockout at 0:08 of the first round. This performance won him the Performance of the Night bonus and was one of the six quickest knockouts in the organisation’s history. In total, Edwards has had 20 victories, of which 3 are by submission, 7 are knockouts, and 9 are decisions. He has recorded only 3 losses. Edward’s fight against Kamaru Usman will boost this record or add to his losses.

Born May 11, 1987, Usman began wrestling as a student at Arlington, Texas’s Bowie High School. He debuted as a professional mixed martial arts fighter in November 2012 after not qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Team Trials in freestyle wrestling. He made his UFC debut in 2015, where he defeated Leon Edwards. In total, the 35-year-old has recorded 20 wins, including 12 by decision, 1 by submission, and 9 by knockout.

When placed side by side, Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman had 24 fights and won 20. However, Edwards recorded more losses, having lost 3 fights compared to Kamaru’s 2 losses. Both are known for their knockouts, though Usman holds a better record, with 9 knockouts.

The hyped fight that the whole MMA world awaits for

NonGamstopUKCasino online operators can’t fail to offer markets for this sensational battle, and punters are already placing their bets. Of course, it’s challenging to tell who will emerge victorious, but there’s already so much hype surrounding the event. This will be the UFC’s third event in London in the past year and the organisation’s second numbered event ever staged in the United Kingdom.

READ MORE:  Dricus Du Plessis eyes champ-champ status with wins over Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev

Usman’s mental state is a vital topic of discussion ahead of Saturday’s main event of UFC 286 at the O2 Arena in London. Edwards knocked him out with a brilliantly timed head kick at UFC 278 on August 20 in Salt Lake City. That defeat ended Usman’s 19-fight winning streak and cost him not just the welterweight championship but also the title of best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at his weight class. 

Leon is not known for using gimmicks or trash talk to advertise his matches. However, fans saw a still of Usman getting knocked out in a photograph of Edwards posing in his gym, a reminder to fighters to always protect themselves. Many fans rushed to comment on the thread in response to the picture being shared on an MMA fan page. Supporters of the Englishman are confident he will win again in the trilogy. At the same time, those of Kamaru Usman argue Edwards was only lucky in the previous bout, and Usman will reclaim his lost title.

Predicting the winner

Both fighters have their reputations at stake in the upcoming weekend fight. Edwards is under intense pressure because he is fighting in front of a home audience that wants to see him defeat Usman. However, if Usman loses, the chapter about him being the best pound-for-pound fighter is closed, and that chapter might never be reopened.

READ MORE:  Ilia Topuria lays out plan for clash with Conor McGregor in Spain: 'It's gonna be the biggest fight in history'

The rematch between Edwards and Usman in August 2022 has highlighted significant factors to look forward to in this rubber match. Aside from getting Usman down for the first time in his career, Edwards also made submission attempts, particularly in the first round. This shows that he can battle with Usman in both grappling and striking areas.

In the next three and a half rounds, however, Usman—living up to his nickname of the “Nigerian Nightmare”—put on a masterclass performance with his sharp striking and superior grappling skills. Eventually, he was knocked out and lost his championship, though Gaethje believes Edwards was lucky.

The rematch also showed that Edwards has the capacity to knock out Usman, as seen in the fifth-round head kick knockout that stunned the mixed martial arts community. His tremendous speed as a welterweight and his skill to build up combinations are a formidable arsenal. 

Nonetheless, Usman has a good shot at regaining his title, given that the previous undisputed champion always comes out well-prepared for rematches, as evidenced by his victories over Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. Edwards might have delivered a last-minute knockout in their previous battle, but Usman, who has picked up the strategy of staying strong till a bout ends, stands a better chance of winning, especially if he is up on the judges’ scorecards.