In the UFC 278 main event, Leon Edwards pulled off a spectacular comeback to defeat Kamaru Usman, and he will never forget the moment he felt gold around his waist. When Leon Edwards made history of his own on Saturday in the main event of UFC 278 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kamaru Usman was just a minute away from making history himself. The Nigerian was closing on equaling the record of Brazilian great Anderson Silva who’s 16 fight win streak is still intact.
Usman, who entered the fight with a streak of 15 victories in the UFC, struggled in the opening round as Edwards, whom he had defeated in their lone prior encounter in 2015, startled him by getting him to the ground for the first time in his UFC career.
After the victory Leon Edwards was clearly emotional in his post fight interview with Joe Rogan. He talked about his humble beginnings and questioned the people who doubted him all along. He said “ You all said I couldn’t do it. Look at me now! Headshot, dead. That’s it” He further emphasized “It doesn’t matter from the trenches. I’m built like this. I go until the bell’s done. Look at me now. I told you I could do it. Pound-for-pound, what? The belt belongs to nobody!” Only Michael Bisping, who won the middleweight belt in 2016, is a British fighter who has held a UFC title before Edwards.
Usman came out firing in the second round, applying pressure to Edwards and launching hard shots to the head and body as a result of the difficult beginning. Usman briefly knocked Edwards down again as the third round got under way, but he also established the tone and kept the pace under control. Usman was throwing powerful blows every time the fight returned to the feet, including multiple elbows that clubbed Edwards on the side of the head in the fourth round.
Usman appeared to have total control of the fight by the time it entered the fifth and final round, but Edwards' coaches urged him to go all-out. In the last seconds of the fight, Usman made the poor decision to stand and exchange with Edwards, and that is exactly what happened. Edwards delivered a straight punch that caused Usman to dip his head before kicking with concussive force. In that emphatic fashion he became the new Welterweight Champion of the world.
Everyone inside the arena was in complete dismay and couldn't believe what their eyes just witnessed. But in the end this is the beauty of the sport of MMA.
In the co main event Luke Rockhold faced Paulo Costa in a crunchy middleweight bout. Costa (14-2) outlasted Rockhold (16-6) throughout the course of a difficult three-round contest, earning unanimous judges' scores of 30-27. In the high altitude of Vivint Arena, both middleweights appeared to be completely worn out, but Rockhold in particular repeatedly put his hands on his hips between rounds and had to breathe through his mouth early on because blood was running out of his nose. Costa ultimately succeeded in getting the job done.
After the bout Rockhold called it a day in the post fight interview and said that he is too old to compete in the octagon. The former UFC and Strikeforce champion fought a great fight and left it all out inside the Octagon. UFC 278 will go down as one of the most memorable events in terms of what the fans experienced in the main event where Leon Edwards proved all of his doubters wrong.