When everyone had written his last rites, Leon Edwards threw a massive head kick and knocked out Kamaru Usman to become the new UFC
It looked over. Leon Edwards looked broken, exhausted and finished. He had become the first man in UFC history to take down Kamaru Usman, but Usman dominated after the opening round.
But in the literal final minute of the fight, Edwards threw a hail mark of a high kick that landed and knocked Usman out cold, making Edwards the new UFC welterweight champion in the main event of UFC 278.
With the win, Usman’s 19-fight win streak and undefeated run in the UFC is over — his first loss in professional MMA since 2013. Additionally, Edwards now becomes the first Jamaican-born UFC champion.
Leon Edwards becomes new UFC welterweight champion, ends winning streak of pound-for-pound best Kamaru Usman in spectacular style
Edwards targeted Usman’s legs early on in the first and shook off a takedown attempt from Usman. Usman caught him into a takedown during the round, but Edwards drew attention by getting back to his feet and tripping Usman right into mount. This made Edwards the first man in the UFC to take Usman down. Edwards spent the rest of the round in complete control on the ground as he tried to lock Usman in a choke.
Usman seemed to go into another state to start the second, coming forward with a series of combinations that landed noticeably on Edwards. After an eye-poke pause, the two began to fight in close again, with Edwards landing a jab but Usman firing back with a right. Pinned against the cage, Edwards went in for another couple of takedown attempts but was stuffed. Usman landed a late knee on Edwards that hurt him seconds before landing another takedown on Edwards.
About a minute into the third, Usman scored yet another takedown on Edwards. And while he was able to get back to the feet at some point, Usman was in complete control of the fight and brought it back to the ground, where he worked the challenger over.
After some harsh words from his corner, Edwards took back control by taking Usman’s back against the cage wall in the fourth round for about a minute. Unfortunately for Edwards, the champ broke free and took Edwards right back down.
A broken Edwards just had no response in the championship rounds…or so we thought. With one swift head kick, Edwards scored the knockout and sent the crowd into a frenzy.