Jamaican-born Edwards retains UFC title by majority decision
Leon Edwards, right, leaves the Octagon after victory against Kamaru Usman after their welterweight title bout at the UFC 286 mixed martial event at O2 Arena, in London, Saturday, March 18, 2023. (Photo: AP)

LONDON (AP) — Leon Edwards retained his welterweight title Saturday, beating challenger Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 by majority decision.

Judges scored the trilogy fight at the O2 Arena in London 48-46, 48-46, 47-47 in favor of the Jamaican-born Brit, who landed the cleaner blows as their third fight went the distance.

Edwards made an encouraging start, connecting with two heavy body kicks in the opening round.

The 31-year-old Edwards’ greater speed unsettled Usman, but the challenger took Edwards down briefly in round two before both fighters traded some heavy blows.

Usman grappled Edwards to the floor again early in the third and the latter was docked a point for grabbing the fence.

A similar pattern unfolded in the fourth, which was just as tight, with Edwards looking to keep his distance as Usman tried to get in close.

Edwards evaded two more takedown attempts in the final round and caught Usman with an uppercut, but took a hit to the body as his title defense went down to the wire.

Leon Edwards celebrates his victory over Kamaru Usman in the the welterweight title bout at the UFC 286 mixed martial arts event Saturday, March 18, 2023, in London. (Photo: AP)

Edwards had ended Usman’s long reign as champion with a kick to the Nigerian's head and neck in the fifth round in Salt Lake City in August in UFC 278.

This was their third meeting, more than seven years after the first fight won by Usman.

“I think I did enough to win the fight,” the 35-year-old Usman told BT Sport after Saturday's defeat. “I’m not done.”

Usman called Edwards “a great champion.”

American Justin Gaethje beat Rafael Fiziev in the lightweight category by majority decision, 29-28, 29-28, 28-28.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy