SALT LAKE CITY – The MMA community has been stunned by Leon Edwards. In the main event of UFC 278 on Saturday night at Vivint Arena, Edwards knocked out Usman with a head kick in the last round of a contest he was easily losing. Edwards now has the UFC welterweight championship. The fifth round’s conclusion occurred at 4:04. Usman was regarded as the world’s top boxer on a per-pound basis.
Usman’s 15-fight winning run in the UFC was broken by Edwards, which was one short of the UFC record. One of the most breathtaking knockouts in sports history occurred.
Edwards replied, “I can’t even express it.”
After the first round, Usman got the upper hand in the battle. However, Usman went to his right to block an Edwards left, and Edwards kicked him in the head with his left foot, knocking the crowd of more than 17,000 into a frenzy. Usman was less than a minute away from making his sixth championship defence when he was declared out on contact.
Leon Edwards (20-3 1 NC, 12-2 1 NC UFC) defeats Kamaru Usman (c) (20-2, 15-1 UFC) in the fifth round to win the welterweight championship.
In the opening round, Edwards scores a couple leg kicks before blocking a takedown attempt. He then makes an assault slip, and Usman knocks him to the ground. With two minutes left, though, Edwards stands up and successfully executes a trip takedown into full mount. Until the horn, Edwards eventually takes the back and makes a choking threat. 10-9 for Edwards.
Round 2: Due to Edwards’ foot becoming stuck in the cage, Usman was able to land a barrage of blows. Usman maintains pressure, forcing two takedowns even after Edwards escapes. Edwards is starting to seem a little worn out. 10-9, Usman. (19-19)
Usman’s stalking resumes in round three. He receives a takedown a minute in. Edwards stands back up immediately away, but Usman is all over him. Edwards makes a few good blows, but Usman once more creeps in, secures another takedown, and regains the initiative. He then ascends to the peak in full mount. While Usman is bouncing, Edwards appears exhausted. 10-9, Usman. (29-28 Usman.)
Round 4: Edwards holds his position, scores a couple blows, and is almost taken down. But Usman successfully defends, flips the script, and receives a takedown of his own halfway through the round. Edwards is completely under Usman’s authority. As Edwards grabs the cage to get up after a takedown, referee Herb Dean pauses. Even as Edwards stands back up, Dean places them back on the canvas because he is drooping. 10-9, Usman. (39-37 Usman.)
Round 5: Edwards is not dangerous, but Usman continues to stalk. Usman is cruising, and the challenger has to do something significant, but he is empty-handed. A few of Edwards’ shots are successful, but one of them is low. Then, just as it seemed like Edwards had lost the fight, he knocks Usman out with a left high kick. and new!
UFC 278 Middleweight final results: Paulo Costa (14-2, 6-2 UFC) defeats Luke Rockhold (16-6, 6-5 UFC) by majority decision (Watch this bout on ESPN+)
The two middleweights most in need of a victory on Saturday were Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold, who are among the best in the world. Costa was ultimately the one who succeeded.
In a difficult three-round contest at UFC 278 on Saturday, Costa (14-2) outlasted Rockhold (16-6) and earned unanimous judges’ scores of 30-27. The two middleweights appeared to be completely out of breath at the high altitude of Vivint Arena, especially Rockhold, who frequently rested his hands on his hips in between rounds and had to breathe through his mouth early on because blood was running out of his nose.
Costa needed the victory badly since he had just suffered back-to-back defeats to Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori after starting his career with 13 straight victories.
It seemed to be the end of the line for Rockhold, a former UFC and Strikeforce champion. After a three-year hiatus, the 37-year-old fighter returned on Saturday, and in the Octagon following that, he virtually proclaimed his retirement. While he didn’t expressly declare that this was his final fight, he was visibly touched, took off his gloves inside the cage, and nodded in agreement when UFC announcer Joe Rogan suggested that it may be.
Rockhold spoke the words, “I can’t take this s—- any longer. “All my effort was put into it. I’m really elderly.”
Rockhold’s opening takedown attempts were successfully resisted by Costa, who last triumphed in 2019 against Yoel Romero. After stuffing one of those early efforts, he delivered three strong hammerfists, which instantly resulted in swelling on Rockhold’s face and bloody nose. He repeatedly moved Rockhold to the fence and threw combos while he applied consistent foot pressure to him.
Rockhold’s body language had gotten really bad by the end of the opening round. He frequently lowered his hands and searched for pauses in the middle of the action as he leaned heavily on the railing between the first and second rounds. In the second round, Costa unintentionally landed a blow below the belt, giving him a break. But Rockhold was breathing deeply even after the break.
UFC Stats show that Costa scored 106 total strikes to Rockhold’s 57.
In the third, despite being obviously weary, Rockhold shown heart and tenacity by continuing to fire hazardous shots. He changed positions with Costa on the ground and completed the round on top at the conclusion of the battle. Rockhold finished the match by pressing his face into Costa, smearing the Brazilian’s face with blood from his bleeding nose.
Costa still ranks among the top five middleweights despite suffering two defeats, despite having recently indicated that he would like to try boxing.
UFC Stats show that Rockhold received 57 hits overall, compared to 106 for Costa.
When he persisted to fire off risky shots in the third despite being obviously weary, Rockhold displayed heart and willpower. He switched places with Costa on the ground and won the round by being on top at the conclusion of the battle. Rockhold rubbed his face on Costa as the battle came to a finish, smearing the Brazilian’s face with blood from his cut nose.
Costa is still regarded as a top 5 middleweight after his two recent defeats, despite having recently indicated that he would like to try boxing.
Merab Dvalishvili (15-4, 8-2 UFC) defeated Jose Aldo (31-8, 13-7 UFC) by unanimous decision in the men’s bantamweight division (see this bout on ESPN+).
In all but two of his previous nine UFC fights, Dvalishvili had scored five takedowns or more. In three of the matches, he had scored ten or more points. It was clear why he was referred to as “The Machine” by his friends.
He then intervened with Aldo and had a 16-for-0 takedown attempt record. Was that Dvalishvili’s downfall? Not at all, no. The 31-year-old from the Republic of Georgia was unable to take down the Brazilian legend, but his persistent attempts against the cage, despite being unsuccessful one after another, nonetheless produced a nonstop knee attack that, when combined with the effort required to avoid takedowns, exhausted Aldo and resulted in Dvalishvili’s seventh consecutive victory (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Although there won’t be a championship fight anytime soon, Dvalishvili’s winning run matches him with the champion for the greatest in the bantamweight class. Dvalishvili trains with the champion, Aljamain Sterling, in Long Island, New York, but he has no desire to go in combat with him. Dvalishvili declared, “He is my brother.”
Aldo, a 35-year-old former Brazilian featherweight champion, received honours as well. During his entrance and during his walkout, Aldo earned the highest applause of the evening. His winning streak of three matches came to an end. But he gained Dvalishvili’s respect along the road.
Dvalishvili remarked, “He was quite technical against the cage.” I typically defeat everyone.