With a minute left in his UFC championship fight against Kamaru Usman, Leon “Rocky” Edwards needed a miracle because he was behind on the judges’ scores. No one expected an ending that even Hollywood would have thought was too unbelievable.
The long-awaited championship fight at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City started well for Edwards, but Usman dominated the middle three rounds to set himself up for a decision win.
Edwards faked a jab and then kicked Usman in the head, knocking him out and shocking everyone in the Vivint Arena. Usman was one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever had.
Everyone, except Edwards himself, told Reuters before the fight that he knew how things could go.
Edwards said before the fight, “I’ve pictured him being ahead on the scorecards and me coming back to win. I’ve pictured it many different ways,” but the win he pictured couldn’t have been this perfect.
“Everyone has seen my path, everyone knows my path and how it went, and I always thought that was the way it has meant to go,” Edwards told reporters after making one of the most unexpected comebacks in the past of cage fighting.
UFC champion had finally come true
The boxing movie of the same name gave Edwards the nickname “Rocky.” He danced around the octagon to the movie’s famous theme song to celebrate. His dream of becoming a UFC champion had finally come true.
The 30-year-old fighter, only the second Brit to win a UFC title, wants to defend his belt in England.
“Wembley Stadium, without a doubt. Wembley is where it has to be. “No one has ever done this before,” Edwards said with a smile before praising Birmingham, where he trains.
“I made it a point to do this while staying in the UK to show the other guys who were interested in me. Look, we can do it. You can make it happen if you believe in your country and team. “And I did just that,” he said.
How does Leon Edwards win at UFC 278?
Since joining Trevor Wittman, Kamaru Usman’s striking has improved. On the feet, ‘Rocky’ still wins. Usman is the more accurate and energetic striker, although he doesn’t strike as naturally as Edwards. Usman tried 13 takedowns and landed 6. We anticipate he’ll adopt the same strategy in Salt Lake City, where he’s likely to lose against the Brit.
Edwards could throw high or teep kicks up the middle to counter Usman’s grappling. The teep kick is hard for a wrestler to catch and helps an attacker maintain distance from their opponent. Conor McGregor kept Chad Mendes at bay when they fought.
If Edwards can maintain his space, his chances of winning grow. Jorge Masvidal unleashed middle kicks with a roundhouse start in both his bouts with the champion. It made him vulnerable to capture. When Edwards and Usman first fought in 2015, Edwards’ middle kick attracted Usman’s attention.
It would counter what the champion did against Colby Covington in his last OKBet UFC fight. Usman would fake the takedown, forcing his opponent to sprawl or allowing him to gauge his reaction. If Edwards threatens the kick up the middle, Usman may not affect the shot and stay in front of ‘Rocky,’ making Brit’s task more manageable.