The trilogy match between welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman went down on Saturday night at UFC 286 to determine the undisputed king.
And after five hard-fought rounds, Edwards came out on top with the belt, as well as the rivalry. “Rocky” did solid work keeping the fight on the feet to allow his high-level striking to flourish. And even though he was deducted a point for an illegal fence grab, the judges awarded him the majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47).
With the win, Edwards extended his unbeaten streak to 12, which includes back-to-back wins over Usman, a combatant who is regarded as one of the greatest 170 pounders ever. Usman is now on the first losing streak of his 20-3 professional mixed martial arts record. But, “The Nigerian Nightmare” isn’t finished, telling commentator Daniel Cormier that he’d be back inside the Octagon sooner rather than later to restart his quest to regain his former title.
What’s next for Edwards? No. 2-ranked welterweight Colby Covington was in attendance at the O2 Arena in London, England and he also weighed in as the backup fighter for the headliner. When speaking with UFC correspondent Megan Olivi after the UFC 286 main event wrapped, “Chaos” called for a title shot against Rocky and threw out UFC 290 on July 8 as a proposed date. Also, ranked contenders Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal will battle next month at UFC 287, and Edwards said during his interview with Cormier that he’d be paying attention to the result. Edwards dismissed the idea of fighting Covington when “DC” asked about Chaos.
UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev Wants to Fight Edwards Next
Well, if reigning UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev gets his way, fans will see a champion-versus-champion battle next.
“I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi,” Makhachev tweeted. Abu Dhabi, UAE in October has remained an annual trip for the UFC and the promotion recently announced that they’ll be back on Yas Island – also coined “Fight Island” – on October 21 for UFC 294.
The 155-pound king is coming off a razor-thin decision win over current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. If the UFC granted Makhachev his request next, it would be his second fight in a row battling an active champion. And it would be Makhachev’s first opportunity at competing to hold two divisional UFC belts.
During the UFC 286 co-main event, Makhachev’s division was highlighted. No. 3 Justin Gaethje and No. 6 Rafael Fiziev went to war for three rounds and after the dust settled, Gaethje was awarded the victory by majority decision.
Nate Diaz Also Reacted to Edwards’ Triumph
Several others in the MMA world took to Twitter to give their reactions to Edwards closing out the trilogy. Nate Diaz, who badly hurt Edwards in their 2021 bout, posted a clip of himself cracking Rocky, writing: “Still (crown emoji).” See below:
The moment came at the last minute of their UFC 263 collision. Stunning Edwards wasn’t enough for Diaz; however, as he couldn’t capitalize on it. As history has it, Rocky made it to the end of the fifth round and walked away with the unanimous decision. The win would propel him to a title shot against Usman which he won with his viral head-kick knockout.