Leon Edwards is the new welterweight champion after beating Kamaru Usman via fifth-round knockout. Edwards stunned the crowd in the first round when he became the first person to take Usman down. He utilized a trip from the clinch to put the champion on the mat and actually worked towards getting a rear-naked choke before the first bell rang.
The Nigerian Nightmare wasted no time in bouncing back in the second round. He scored early in the period with boxing combinations that put the challenger against the fence. Edwards fired back some strikes of his own, but Usman started mixing in the wrestling and started looking like the usual juggernaut fans are used to seeing.
It appeared as if Usman was going to cruise to another title defense when Edwards knocked out the champion with a stunning left high kick that immediately ended Usman’s night and title reign. Edwards not only gets the joy of holding the belt, but he also earns a bit of revenge.
These two met back in 2015 in a fight that Usman won via unanimous decision on his way to becoming a champion. While the new champion lost that night, he hasn’t lost a fight since. The Brit has beaten everyone in his path, including Nate Diaz and Rafael dos Anjos. As is the case when most longtime champions are finally beaten, Edwards knows he’s likely going to have to prove this was no fluke.
“He’s been a dominant champion, so naturally in sport in boxing or MMA, when you defend the belt a couple times or been dominant, you get a rematch. So, I definitely envision doing it again,” he told reporters before the fight. While a potential fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Kamaru Usman would have been huge, a trilogy fight between Edwards and Usman is now the biggest score to settle in the 170-pound division.