Edwards stops Usman late in 5th, wins UFC welterweight title - worldsnews
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Edwards stops Usman late in 5th, wins UFC welterweight title

At UFC 278 on Saturday night, Leon Edwards defeated Kamaru Usman with a kick to the head and neck in the closing minute of the fifth round to claim the welterweight title.

Usman seemed to be within seconds away from tying an all-time UFC record with a 16th straight victory when Edwards delivered the jaw-dropping finish just in time. There were 56 seconds remaining in the fight when he struck for the knockout.

Edwards remarked, "That crosshead kick landed nicely."

Edwards (20-3) has a perfect record dating back to his 2015 matchup with Usman. Prior to the championship battle, the British boxer improved to No. 2 in the welterweight category by winning nine of those fights.

For a large portion of the battle, Usman (20-2) lived up to his reputation as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The Nigerian overcame a late takedown in the first round before turning the tables with a late takedown in the second. Usman maintained position throughout the third round, scoring two more takedowns, and, after four rounds, had a 39-37 advantage according to the judges' scores. Before Edwards fought back in the last round, he seemed to be headed for a victory by unanimous decision.

Nobody owns the octagon, according to Edwards. No man should keep the belt fastened for so long. I have said all week that I believe this is my chance. This is how things were intended to go.

Despite the fact that he is currently the champion, Edwards still feels he has plenty to show. Throughout all five rounds, he made frequent statements of not like the way his body responded to Usman's strikes.

Edwards admitted, "That wasn't my finest performance, and I didn't feel like myself in this." I believe I have a lot more to contribute.

The inaugural UFC pay-per-view event in Utah brought in 18,321 spectators and $4.2 million in live gate receipts, setting a record for Vivint Arena. It was the UFC's 23rd straight sold-out event.

Dana White lauded the atmosphere in the arena and said that the UFC may come back to Utah as early as 2023.

This group tonight could be compared to anyone, White said.

In the middleweight fight, Paulo Costa won by majority decision against former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Coming into Salt Lake City, Costa (14-2) has suffered two straight defeats.

For the first time in three years, Rockhold (16-5) entered the octagon, but as the fight went on, his rust became apparent. Through the first two rounds, Costa more than quadrupled Rockhold's total number of blows, and in the third round, he finally left him with a bloodied mouth. As both competitors were stuck in a deadlock on the ground in the closing seconds of the round, Rockhold rubbed his own blood on Costa's face.

"I didn't see it during the actual combat. Costa stated, "I simply felt something on my face. "However, when I saw it, it was quite horrible. It was an odd time.

In the men's bantamweight contest, Merab Dvalishvili defeated former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo by majority decision to gain his eighth straight victory. Despite the crowd's enthusiastic backing, Dvalishvili (15-4) wore down Aldo (31-8) over the course of three rounds by applying constant pressure.

For her third straight victory, Lucie Pudilova defeated Wu Yanan in the women's bantamweight match on the main night. Yanan lost for the fourth time in a row. At the 4:04 mark of the second round, after pulling Yanan to the ground and repeatedly elbowing her from a back mount, Pudilova won via TKO.

The last match on the main bill was a light heavyweight contest between Tyson Pedro and Harry Hunsucker, which Pedro won by TKO at 1:05 of the first round.

Marcin Tybura defeated Alexandr Romanov by majority decision in the heavyweight match, handing him his first UFC defeat. Tybura (23-7) was repeatedly knocked to the ground by Romanov (18-1) in the opening round, but he ran out of gas in the next two.

A featherweight preliminary match between Sean Woodson and Luis Saldana ended in a remarkable split draw earlier in the evening. Both competitors have never drawn before in their careers.