Leon Edwards has shocked the world in the final minute of a fight he appeared to be losing against the undefeated Kamaru Usman tonight at UFC 278, launching a picture-perfect head kick for an incredible knockout finish.
The welterweight main event title fight is underway in Salt Lake City.
Body kick from Edwards to start and another behind it as Usman was trying to grab it. Leg kick for Edwards.
Inside leg kick for Edwards. Usman pressuring though and has him backed up close to the cage. Another kick for Edwards.
Usman drives into his first takedown of the fight against the cage, but for now Edwards is defending. They peel away from the cage, but still clinched and Usman does manage to get him down now.
Edwards able to scramble back up soon afterwards, but Usman has his back as Edwards faces the cage. Edwards manages to turn into him and then smartly uses a trip to not only take down the champion, but end up in full mount.
Edwards with a solid elbow. Now Edwards takes the back and gets the body triangle locked in. Edwards starting to work for a rear-naked choke, but Usman fights that off for now. Still 45 seconds to work here. Edwards goes for it again, but can’t get the arm under the chin and so gives up on that attempt.
Usman is almost side by side with Edwards on the mat now and they both trade punches from close range to end the round.
Right hook from Usman. He lands a jab. leg kick from Edwards. Usman steps into a punch. Another brief flurry and then clinches up against the cage.
Edwards moves out of that though while landing a body punch.
Usman with a flurry to the body. The champion unleashes another series of strikes. Now leg kicks from Edwards. Eyepoke from Edwards grazes the target and Usman winces and gets a brief stoppage.
Back to it they go. Calf kick for Usman. Body punch from Edwards. Leg kick for the challenger. Nice knee to the body from Edwards.
Good one-two for Edwards. Solid body kick for Usman. Leg kick from Edwards. Usman gets throuh with a right hand as Edwards was lookin for a kick.
Usman with a calf kick, but gets caught by a counter punch from Edwards. Usman into the clinch against the cage now.
Edwards manages to battle out of that clinch. Edwards tries for a takedown, but Usman sprawls on top and has hold of his neck.
Edwards able to get out of that and lands a knee. Usman backs him up to the cage and lands a hard elbow. Edwards firing back.
Usman in close again throwing power strikes, then goes for a takedown and lands it. Elbow strike for Usman and then body punches in the final 10 seconds of the round.
Edwards tries a high kick that’s blocked. Inside leg kick for Edwards. Jab for Usman and Edwards returns the favor.
Usman motions for a single leg, Edwards doesn’t react and so he commits to it and gets him to the mat.
Edwards able to get to his feet, but is now facing the cage as Usman has the back clinch. Edwards turns in to him and then gets out of the clinch.
They trade jabs. Edwards with a knee in close. usman wades in landing to the body and an elbow in there too before landing a takedown for good measure.
Usman has half-guard and almost has Edwards back here up against the cage. The action stalls momentarily. Now Edwards gets his back to the cage. Usman trying to set up a guillotine choke, but then opts to land a few strikes instead, then tries to slide into half-guard.
Usman back to the guillotine and Edwards struggles back to his feet, eating a few punches in the process.
Edwards trying to apply some pressure, but eats a straight punch from Usman. Front kick to the body from Edwards. Solid calf kick from Usman.
Usman with a swing and a miss and Edwards drives forward into a takedown attempt against the cage. Edwards gets around to his back, but soon after Usman breaks free.
Now Usman presses forward throwing a punch and then goes for a takedown of his own against the cage and lands it.
Usman in Edwards full guard. He’s staying patient here with half the round remaining. Usman drops down an elbow, but mostly focusing on control for now.
Edwards able to get to his knees but Usman still weighing heavily on him. Edwards stands, but Usman still has his back and lands a few knees to the back of the thigh.
Usman able to land another takedown. Edwards able to stand, but he grabbed the cage to do so and ref Herb Dean spotted it and so tells them to go back to the mat from the same position.
They do so and Edwards is able to stand again unaided this time. Usman lands a couple of solid punches and continues to pressure until the end of the round. Edwards looks discouraged immediately afterwards and gets a stern talking too from his corner inbetween rounds.
Body punch from Usman. Now a jab upstairs. Edwards punches to the body. Jab for Usman. He lands again. Punches to the body now and then a takedown, but Edwards springs back up before he hits the mat fully.
Usman remains in the clinch, pressing him up against the cage. Not too much happening from here and the ref separates them.
Body kick for Edwards. Now a one-two from him. Another body kick for the challenger, but it lands below the belt according to the ref and there’s a brief stoppage. Replay suggests that might not have been low and they quickly get back to it.
Inside leg kick from Edwards. He lands another. Edwards fakes a jab and Usman ducks just as Edwards launches a head kick behind it that lands violently and knocks him out at 4.04mins of the fifth round!!!
Wow, that came out of nowhere and saves Edwards from certain defeat on the scorecards. Amazing highlight-reel win for Edwards and he’s now the welterweight champion of the world!
Given the high stakes at play here, in the last minute of a title fight he seemed to be losing against an undefeated, dominant champion, and the perfect technique he demonstrated to land that knockout blow, Edwards may well just have served up what will go down as one of the best head kick finishes of all-time.