UFC 286 lived up to its hype and then some. In the main event, the UK’s own Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards looked to repeat history against ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Kamaru Usman as they both locked horns for the third time in the Octagon. The promotion delivered a stacked card and London’s O2 Arena was a sight to behold.
As the bout began and the crowd roared at the top of their lungs, both the welterweights started on their feet. Contrary to fan beliefs, Kamaru barely attempted any wrestling in the 1st round. In what appeared to be a subtle takedown attempt, Kamaru got caught with a left hook by Leon.
While The Nigerian-born fighter seemed to control the center of the Octagon for most, Leon didn’t stop popping off his jabs. A body shot left kick came out of nowhere and almost dropped Kamaru, followed by another similar kick. Each man traded a healthy amount of kicks and jabs up until now.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 18, 2023
However, as the bout continued, The Jamaican-born appeared to grab Kamaru’s glove whilst having his back against the cage. While this must have been a desperate attempt to not let Usman control this segment of the fight, the referee in charge Herb Dean rightfully gave him a stern warning before resuming the rubber match.
At one point during the 3rd round, Leon found himself against the cage as Kamaru would attempt to hold on to him before performing a possible takedown. A few seconds later, Leon explicitly grabbed the fence using his left hand. Fast forward, referee Herb Dean announced a point deduction from Leon’s official scorecards. It is noteworthy that Kamaru also fell a victim to a groin shot at the expense of one of Leon’s low left kicks.
As the fight started going to the distance, Leon looked disappointed in-between rounds. The point deduction could have played a big part in this, one would conclude. Fans argue that if Leon hadn’t received the 1-point deduction, he might have been the clear winner of the trilogy bout.
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) March 18, 2023
This deduction was more crucial than fans might assume, as Edwards continued his attempt to defend his title in front of the home crowd. This was Leon’s very first title defense and with the bout being a razor-close fight than people thought it would be, the scores could have gone either way. Daniel Cormier even said on the broadcast booth post-fight that he genuinely expected Bruce Buffer to announce a majority draw.
However, stars were in favor of the Birmingham resident as he went on to win a decisive victory over his arch-nemesis, Kamaru Usman, despite the point deduction.
Fans react to Leon Edwards’ illegal fence grab
Fans were quick to take over to their social media to express their disappointment towards Leon Edwards as he got himself involved in a couple of “n*t shots” and the very explicit fence grab, not to mention the glove grab during the very first round.
Caught him in 4k 😂 #UFC286
— Mario Bautista (@Bautista_mma) March 18, 2023
He used the fence to pull up a few seconds before, too…
— Trish Hart (@TrishHa101) March 18, 2023
Leon is a cheater no matter what happened tonight. Not my champion sadly
— 𝔥𝔪𝔵🏴☠️️ (@hmxlol) March 19, 2023
LEON IS A CHEATER
— dylan🇳🇿 (@nutbaruno) March 18, 2023
I read this as Usman takes another groin shot
— Lukasz Krowicki (@krowlz) March 18, 2023
Stupid by Leon
— C-Kay (@CKayUK) March 18, 2023
What do you think of the main event result? Do you think Leon deserved the victory despite the point deduction? Let us know in the comments down below.