Kamaru Usman was on his way to his sixth title defense and a record 16th UFC victory last summer. He was the undisputed best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and was one minute away from another award that would put him in the discussion of the greatest fighters of all time.
Then Leon Edwards knocked Usman upside the head with a left jab. Less than 60 seconds into the loss, Edwards won a dominant Hail Mary at UFC 278. It was an amazing comeback, the best knockout of 2022, and Edwards won the UFC welterweight title. Usman beat Edwards once seven years ago. But now, with the highest bid, Edwards equalized.
Edwards and Usman will meet for the third time in the main event of UFC 286 in London on Saturday. Edwards’ welterweight title – which Usman has held for more than three years – will remain on the line. ESPN ranked Usman #4 and Edwards #7 in its pound-for-pound MMA rankings.
Edwards (20-3, 1 NC) is undefeated in 11 consecutive fights. He is undefeated since Usman beat him by unanimous decision in 2015. Edwards, 31, is the first Jamaican champion in UFC history and has wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone and Vicente Luque.
Usman (20-2) last lost in 2013 before the Edwards fight, only his second career fight. The Nigerian fighter, who trains in Colorado, has two wins over Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal during his title reign. Usman, 35, defeated Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019 to win the title.
In Saturday’s main event, former interim bantamweight champion Justin Gaethje faces up-and-comer Rafael Fiziev. Gaethje (23-4), 34, of Arizona, has won five of his last seven fights, with two of those losses coming in a fight for the UFC bantamweight belt. 30-year-old Kazakh boxer Fiziev (12-1) from Florida has won six fights in a row in the UFC tournament.
Follow along with Brett Okamoto, Mark Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim as you relive all the action or watch the fights on ESPN+ PPV.