The UFC held its first pay-per-view event in London on Saturday, bringing the welterweight champion Leon Edwards back to England to defend his title in an immediate rematch and trilogy fight with former champion Kamaru Usman as part of UFC 286. This followed two successful events and a historic American knockout in August.
The 15-fight card had a packed O2 Arena from the get-go, and the people who made the trek to the Octagon gave them plenty to cheer about throughout the day, with pay-per-view sales for the event truly taking off.
Results from Edwards vs. Usman in UFC 286
The main event of UFC 286 stands out as the best of the fights between these two men, each of them has gotten better over the course of the series.
The welterweight competitors remained very evenly matched during the entire five rounds, with each man landing solid blows occasionally: Edwards chopping with a lot of kicks, Usman pressing relentlessly while working behind his hands, and neither really gaining a clear advantage. Up to the final horn, they engaged in fierce competition, leaving the outcome in the judges’ hands.
A third-round point deduction against Edwards for grasping the fence to thwart a takedown attempt loomed large, looming as a turning point in an intensely competitive, incredibly close battle between two competitors with a lot of history between them.
When the scores were totaled, Edwards came out on top by a wide margin, maintaining his title in a matchup that was an absolute classic versus an all-time great and which brought out the best in him at the pinnacle of his career.
Rafael Fiziev loses to Justin Gaethje in the co-main event by majority decision
Rafael Fiziev and Justin Gaethje’s co-main event was everything that was expected of it and more. For 15 wildly entertaining minutes, the talented lightweights traded power shots.
The American challenger battled back in the second round, leaving Fiziev battered and bleeding going into the third. Fiziev, the quicker of the two from the start, took the fight to Gaethje and had a good deal of success in the first. Gaethje was struck cleanly by a right hand from Fiziev early in the final round, which would have knocked everyone else in the division out and sent them to the Shadow Realm. However, “The Highlight” managed to stay upright, respond, and then rally, putting it on the advancing challenger in the second half of the round.
They battled valiantly until the final buzzer, leaving the decision of who would win in the judges’ hands. Gaethje was ultimately victorious by a narrow decision.
In this fantastic contest between two top lightweights, Gaethje demonstrated that he still has plenty of gas in the tank.
Bryan Barberena is defeated by Gunnar Nelson through submission
Gunnar Nelson demonstrated his mastery of the grappling arts in the middle of the main event. He patiently worked to bring Bryan Barberena to the floor before leaping on an armbar in the closing moments of the first round.
Early in the match, Barberena cut off the lead leg, but the veteran Icelander kept moving forward, closing the gap, lifting his opponent, and dumping him to the ground. From there, Nelson methodically worked to mount, hammering in elbows and teasing various submission poses, all of which were intended to open the door for the armbar.
This was a fantastic performance from the well-liked welterweight, who picked up a second victory in a row in London and demonstrated his prowess on the canvas in the process.
Casey O’Neill is decisively defeated by Jennifer Maia in a unanimous decision
In a fight on the main programme that was heavily influenced by boxing, Jennifer Maia outdueled the up-and-coming flyweight Casey O’Neill in London.
The Brazilian struck O’Neill with clean right hands as she advanced before using her movement to maintain her range and force O’Neill to follow. She came out moving well and landing at a faster pace. The Scottish-Australian youngster had some strong moments of her own and demonstrated her toughness by persistently charging into the action, but she was unable to build enough consistent offence to knock Maia off her game and disrupt her flow.
Now that Maia has won back-to-back fights over younger competitors hoping to surpass her in the rankings, she has solidified her place as a Top 10 mainstay. O’Neill lost for the first time in her professional career as a result of the setback, but she also demonstrated that she remains one of the team’s most promising young players.
Roman Dolidze is defeated by Marvin Vettori in a unanimous decision
Beginning the UFC 286 pay-per-view with heavy-handed exchanges, middleweights Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze finally settled into a more technical, tactical contest.
In the opening five minutes of the fight, both fighters were fired up. Vettori kicked a lot more frequently than Dolidze, who had increased the power of his kicks since their last encounter. As Dolidze tried to score with high-impact blows at a much slower tempo in the second and third, “The Italian Dream” relied on his output and movement while remaining technical.
It all came down to how the judges viewed the situation; while Dolidze may have scored with the larger single shots, Vettori undoubtedly had a much greater total volume. The judges all agreed that Vettori won the bout once the scorecards were collected and totaled. He now has a win under his belt and is firmly entrenched in the middleweight Top 5.
UFC 286: Full Card Results:
- Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear naked choke) (4:27 of Round 2)
- Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via KO (1:15 of Round 1)
- Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via submission (RNC) (4:52 of Round 3)
- Gabriel Santos is defeated by Lerone Murphy in a split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
- Dusko Todorovic is defeated by Christian Leroy Duncan via TKO (injury) (1:52 of Round 1)
- Malcolm Gordon loses to Jake Hadley via KO (1:01 of round 1)
- Joanne Wood defeats Luana Carolina in a tie-breaker (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ludovit Klein and Jai Herbert were declared a majority draw (29-27, 28-28 x2)
- Juliana Miller is defeated by Veronica Hardy in a unanimous decision (30-27 x3)