Leon Edwards defends welterweight title in front of a packed crowd in London, defeating Kamaru Usman in a thrilling five-round battle. The highly anticipated trilogy ends with the Brit earning a majority decision at UFC 286. So, we bring you all the fantastic UFC 286 results and highlights.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 19, 2023
Edwards showcased his ultimate skills in his lengthy UFC career, securing his 12th consecutive win with a majority decision over Usman – the only one to defeat him previously, during UFC on FOX 17 back in 2015.
— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023
Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev gave their all in the co-main event. They put on an electrifying performance that earned them the well-deserved ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus. Gaethje’s win rekindles his shot at the UFC lightweight crown, while Fizeiv walks away with valuable lessons learned.
— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023
Gunnar Nelson secured his seventh career submission win in the UFC welterweight division, defeating Bryan Barberena in the first round before the two headlining bouts.
UFC 286 Results
Main Card Results
- Welterweight: Leon Edwards def. Kamaru Usman by majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)
- Lightweight: Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fizievby majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson def. Bryan Barberena by submission (arm bar) at 4:51 of R1
- Women’s flyweight: Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Middleweight: Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Featherweight: Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:27 of R2:
- Lightweight: Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
- Lightweight: Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson by KO (punches) at 1:15 of R1
- Flyweight: Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:32 of R3Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
- Christian Leroy Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via first-round TKO (injury) (1:52)
- Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via first-round TKO (1:01)
- Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein ruled majority draw (29-27, 28-28 x2)
- Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman UFC 286 Results and Highlights
The UFC 286 main event between these two men was the best fight yet in their series, which has only continued to improve with each bout.
Usman, known as “The Nigerian Nightmare,” won the first fight between the two in 2015 via unanimous decision. Edwards shocked the world by evening the score last August with a 5th-round left high kick KO, in a win that became one of the biggest upsets of 2022. This victory also made Leon “Rocky” Edwards only the second British UFC champion.
This makes UFC 286 the pair’s third encounter. You can view Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman full fight highlights below.
Throughout all five rounds of UFC 286, the welterweight rivals remained evenly matched. Edwards utilized his kicks while Usman maintained constant pressure and worked with his hands, yet neither fighter gained a clear advantage. They battled fiercely until the final horn, leaving the outcome in the hands of the judges.
In an ultra-competitive and freakishly close fight between two fighters with a ton of history between them, a third-round point deduction against Edwards for grabbing the fence to deny a takedown attempt loomed large as a pivotal moment. However, when the scores were added up, Edwards emerged with a majority decision victory, retaining his title in an absolute classic against an all-time great. This fight brought greatness out of him in the most significant moment of his career.
UFC 286: Edwards vs Usman 3 Scorecards
The judges’ scorecards indicated that Leon Edwards’ first welterweight title defense was fairly comfortable. Despite being deducted a point in the third round of his trilogy fight with Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, it did not change the outcome for two of the three fight officials.
Edwards won the first couple of rounds against the man he viciously knocked out at UFC 278 last August, according to the two judges who scored the fight 48-46 in his favor.
In the third round, Usman took Edwards down, but he could not maintain his position. Edwards used the fence to get back up, which led to Herb Dean deducting a point from him.
One judge had the third round of the fight scored 10-8 in Usman’s favour along with Lethaby, while the other judge scored it even due to the point deduction.
In the fourth round, Ben Catlidge had Usman winning a round for the first time, but Chris Lee and Lethaby both scored in favor of Edwards for that five-minute section of the fight.
If the referee hadn’t taken a point from Edwards, he would have won the fight via unanimous decision over his biggest rival as all three judges scored the final round for him.
Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Round-by-Round Coverage
The highly anticipated British MMA fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman lived up to the hype, with Edwards retaining his welterweight title in front of his home fans.
Here’s how Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman bout led to a thrilling victory in Edward’s favour.
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman: Round 1
The duo starts tentatively, refraining from throwing their big shots. Edwards lands a solid counter, and Usman tries to lock him up. The crowd cheers a big body shot by Edwards, followed by an excellent kick to Usman’s body. The round is very tight. As they head to their corners, Usman taunts Edwards, but the Brit wins the round.
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman – Round 2
The round starts with a false start, as Usman emerges a little too quickly, and Edwards accidentally kicks him low, causing a brief stoppage. They quickly get back to it, and both land big shots in an exchange that excites the crowd at The O2. Usman takes Edwards down halfway through the round, but Edwards recovers and attempts a takedown of his own, which is unwise. The round ends on their feet, and it seems like we have a wide-open fight now.
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman – Round 3
Usman tries to take Edwards down, but the hometown fighter grabs the cage, resulting in Herb Dean deducting a point and standing them up. This could be a significant moment, and they both become tentative again. But then another low blow occurs. Usman seems frustrated, and Edwards attempts a big knee. Usman lands the bigger shots in this round and may have evened it up with a 10-8.
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman – Round 4
As we approach the championship rounds, this fight could go either way, possibly tied at 28 after the point deduction. Usman is targeting the legs, but he can’t have the success he desires on the ground. It’s another very tight round, and the fight could go either way heading into the fifth.
Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman – Round 5
The crowd goes wild as we approach the historic 13th round of this trilogy! Usman and Edwards both realize that a finish is necessary to win. The challenger targets the legs, but Edwards counters with two big punches. Usman continues to attempt a takedown, but Edwards defends and tries to land strikes. It looks like the champion is probably winning this fight. We go the distance, 13 rounds!
Leon Edwards is declared the winner by decision! He retains his title as the Welterweight Champion of the world!
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 19, 2023
Leon Edwards, a Triumphant and Confident UK Champ
“I knew I could go out there and take his shots,”
“Even when he was pressuring, not much happened.”
Based on UFC Stats, Edwards landed more total strikes than Usman, with a count of 123-113, and defended most of Usman’s takedown attempts with 11 out of 15. Even when Usman did take Edwards down, he was unable to keep him down or generate significant offense. Usman was only credited with five minutes of control time in this fight, which is half of what he had in their previous fight in August.
Edwards Praises Usman’s Defence
“Clearly, his coaches worked his defense on that,”
“I couldn’t get it around anymore. I set it up with body kicks and leg kicks, but fair play to him.”
Here’s Leon Edward’s Octagon interview after his trilogy-fight victory against Kamaru Usman:
London, You Got a Great Champ – Usman Shows Class and Resilience
Usman did not argue much over the result.
“Yeah, I mean, I think I did enough to win the fight, but you know.”
However, he praised Edwards generously, the guy he beat in a three-round non-title fight back in 2015.
I knew it was a close fight,”
“Great game plan. I’ve always said it from the start, I knew I’d see Leon again, and I’m not done. I’ll see him again. I’ve always given him props for everything he’s been able to accomplish. He’s just like me. It’s in his blood. Much respect, London. You’ve got yourself a great champion and a hell of a guy.”
Who’s Next for the Champ?
In his post-fight interview, Edwards expressed his desire to defend his belt against either Gilbert Burns or Jorge Masvidal, who will be fighting at UFC 287 in Miami next month.
Despite Edwards’ interest in defending his title against Burns or Masvidal, UFC President Dana White has announced during the post-fight press conference that Colby Covington will be the next in line for the welterweight title shot. Covington was chosen after flying across the pond to serve as the backup fighter for the UFC 286 main event.
“That’s the fight that makes sense. Colby came over here, cut weight, and did everything to be here for this fight.
“He deserves the fight. Not to mention that he’s the second or third-best guy in the world.”
Edwards disagrees with the decision to have Covington as the next challenger, as he believes it doesn’t make sense given that Covington hasn’t fought since defeating Masvidal at UFC 272 last year. He is hoping to have the opportunity to choose his next opponent instead.
He said backstage at UFC 286:
“I don’t know how that makes sense.
“[Covington] hasn’t fought for over a year-and-a-half. Sat out. Not injured. I don’t get how he just slides in for the world title shot when there’s other guys in the division that have been active and fighting. Didn’t sit out.
“I’m the king now. I’ve earned my way, so I feel like I should decide who’s next.”
UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, has also expressed his interest in fighting Edwards next.
The Dagestani tweeted:
“I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi.”
I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi ??
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) March 19, 2023
How the World Reacts?
Of course, with different kinds of stakes involved, you gotta expect a mix of reactions. Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting reactions we got on Edwards vs Usman 3.
“This summer, you’re going to see Colby 2.0.”, Covington’s Reaction
See you in July @Leon_edwardsmma
— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) March 19, 2023
In fact, this is not the only thing Colby Covington said. There’s a whole bunch of different things he said. So, here you go:
“I didn’t see anything special. He doesn’t look hungry anymore. He looks like he’s a champion and has cashed out.
“I’m the people’s champion, and he needs to come see me now.
“I didn’t think Kamaru won. He had a lot of leg kicks and a couple of elbows. I’d have to look at the strike count. It was a close and competitive fight. It was a coin toss.
“You could tell Leon has worked on defending takedowns but he hasn’t fought anyone like me who can mix it up and is a southpaw.
“I’m going to do the job on American soil. Let’s get it on in July on International fight week. We need to put it on that week it makes sense.
“I’m ready for this moment and I’m ready to take his shine. There was only one real main event in the building tonight and that was me.
“I love fighting southpaws. I’ve never lost to one. I match up really well to them. I can beat him everywhere, in striking and jiu-jitsu.
“This summer you’re going to see Colby 2.0.”
Belal Muhammad’s Reaction
As a matter of fact, Edwards is not the only one having issues with Dana’s announcement of Edwards vs Covington title shot.
Here’s how Belal Muhammad, a potential candidate for the title shot himself, sees the decision:
“Lol they’re trying so hard to give Colby the coward the shot.”
Alex Behunin’s Reaction
This is what Alex Behunin makes of Dana’s decision:
“Honestly I’d rather see Edwards vs. Masvidal (for the revenge aspect) than Edwards vs. Covington or Edwards vs. Muhammad But I’m down for whatever.”
UFC Heavyweight Tom Aspinall’s Praise
“Absolutely tremendous performance. You have to remember the level of opponent he was facing.
“Some of the stuff he did tonight was off the charts.”
And, here you go with some more of the reactions on it.
This is everything we’ve expected from this fight! ?? @ufc286 what banger !
— Volkan Oezdemir (@volkan_oezdemir) March 18, 2023
Great fight by both guys.
— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) March 19, 2023
great fight from both he really is Rocky???? #ufc286
— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) March 19, 2023
Justin Gaethje vs Rafael Fiziev – Co-main Event
The co-main event featuring Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev lived up to its expectations and beyond, as the two notable lightweights exchanged powerful shots for a thrilling 15-minute fight.
The sound of each strike in the fight between Gaethje and Fiziev resembled that of a drumline battle, with every impactful blow producing a resounding bang or thud. Both fighters showcased their power and toughness, as Gaethje almost took Fiziev off his feet with his first kick while Fiziev threw lightning-fast combinations targeting every part of Gaethje’s body, yet neither fighter showed any signs of weakness over the course of the 15-minute fight.
Gaethje and Fiziev were fiercely competitive. Fiziev taunted Gaethje while attacking him, but Gaethje kept his spirits high with humor despite the intense fight.
In Round 3, Fiziev had Gaethje in trouble with his powerful strikes that could have taken down even bigger opponents. However, Gaethje refused to give up and fought back with even more intensity, just as he has in the past.
By the end of the fight, Fiziev’s face was marked with cuts and bruises. Gaethje’s uppercut in the final 30 seconds was his best hit of the fight. Fiziev had the upper hand in Round 1, while Round 2 was a draw. However, despite the early setback, Gaethje’s dominance in Round 3 made all the difference.
The judges awarded Gaethje the victory with scores of 29-28 and 29-28, while the third judge declared it a draw with a score of 28-28.
Muhammad Mokaev vs Jafel Filho – Mokaev’s Nerves of Steel ……. And Knees of Iron!
On Saturday, Muhammad Mokaev faced Jafel Filho as the clear favorite. But he still had to fight hard, especially in the third round. Mokaev found himself trapped in a kneebar, and Filho was determined to win the fight, making it seem as though he could cause an upset.
Despite the odds against him, Mokaev managed to break free and then successfully applied a late rear-naked choke, forcing Filho to submit at 4:32 in the third round.
“The knee was cracking every second,”
Mokaev said after limping around the octagon following his win.
“I came here with an injured shoulder. I wanted to put on a show for the English fans around the world.”
Mokaev took charge of his wrestling and ground control in the first two rounds. But Filho defended himself well on the ground. Although Filho often found himself in difficult positions, he managed to find a way out each time.
Filho spotted an opportunity to grab Mokaev’s leg in the third round and tried to secure a submission. From a few angles, it was evident that Mokaev’s leg was hyperextended, causing his knee to move in the opposite direction.
Despite the pain, Mokaev showed remarkable resilience and did not submit. He finally managed to escape the kneebar and transitioned to Filho’s back, where he applied a rear naked choke that was more like a neck crank, ultimately leading to his victory.
With this victory, Mokaev’s UFC record remains unblemished at 4-0, and he is making steady progress up the flyweight rankings. However, he might need to have his knee examined after the fight to determine the extent of any potential damage.
2023 – The More The Merrier!
Time and again, we end up praising 2023 for being such an awesome year for combat sports. UFC 286, just like UFC 284 and UFC 285 , seems to be yet another testament to this awesomeness 2023 brings. And then there’s UFC 287 stacked with the likes of Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya, Giblert Burns vs Jorge Masvidal, and Kevin Holland vs Santiago Ponzinibbio. So, hands down, we are all loving 2023 at RDX Sports, ready to cover and share more with you as the stories in these fights unfold.