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UFC 286 results: Leon Edwards overcomes point deduction, tops Kamaru Usman in trilogy rubber match

Leon Edwards defied the odds once again Saturday when he overcame a crucial point deduction to defeat Kamaru Usman for the second time in three head-to-head matchups.

In the UFC 286 main event, Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) defeated Usman (20-3 MMA, 15-2 UFC) via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47) to retain the promotion’s welterweight title at The O2 in London.

Usman was patient in Round 1 as he visibly respected Edwards’ striking. With Usman’s volume low, Edwards capitalized and took control of the fight early. In Round 2, Edwards landed a big knee, perhaps his biggest strike of the fight, around the same time the crowd chanted his signature line, “Headshot, dead.”

Usman was briefly on roller skates but recovered to score a takedown and land big punches on Edwards, who eventually rose back up and separated.

A massive, fight-changing moment occurred in Round 3 when Edwards was deducted a point by referee Herb Dean for a flagrant cage grab on an Usman takedown attempt. The foul was one of many for Edwards throughout the fight, who was also warned about groin strikes and a glove grab.

Into the championship rounds the competitors went, as the momentum continued to shift back and forth. As the minutes ticked away, Edwards appeared to build fatigue. However, the champion fought through it. Edwards found success in Round 4 and after a few deep breaths into Round 5, sent the crowd into a frenzy when he began Round 5 with some big strikes.

Usman pressured as he repeatedly tried takedowns in the final round. Edwards denied each time, until Usman finally dragged him down with about 90 seconds left on the clock. Edwards worked to his feet and eventually separated with approximately one minute left. Usman shot again, much to the disdain of the London crowd. Usman continued to pressure until the final bell.

Saturday’s main event was a trilogy rubber match. Long before they were contenders, Usman and Edwards fought at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015. Usman defeated Edwards by unanimous decision in a three-round preliminary card bout.

Almost seven years later at UFC 278 in August, they rematched with the welterweight title on the line. In an all-time shocker, Edwards mounted and completed a comeback with an out-of-nowhere head kick that knocked out then-champion Usman and earned him the title.

With Saturday’s victory, Edwards has not lost in 12 fights – since the first bout vs. Usman. Other notable victories during the stretch include Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, and Donald Cerrone.

After the fight, Usman vowed to return for another title run, sooner rather than later. He enters the first multifight skid of his career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 286 results include:

  • Leon Edwards def. Kamaru Usman via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)

  • Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fiziev via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)

  • Gunnar Nelson def. Bryan Barberena via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:51

  • Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:27

  • Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:15

  • Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:32

  • Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

  • Christian Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:52

  • Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01

  • Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

  • Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein declared majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

  • Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie