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Edwards bests Usman again, retains UFC crown

LONDON — Leon Edwards was the first to admit he gave a terrible performance in his welterweight title fight against Kamaru Usman eight months ago. He turned in a much better one against Usman at UFC 286.

Edwards (21-3) recorded his first defense of the UFC’s 170-pound championship on Saturday in front of a home crowd at O2 Arena in London, pulling out a majority decision on the scorecards. Two judges scored the five-round title bout 48-46 in favor of Edwards while a third scored it a 47-47 draw.

It was a much different fight and different Edwards from eight months ago. Edwards was clearly losing to Usman at UFC 278 when he landed a stunning head kick that knocked the then-champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound candidate out cold.

On Saturday, Edwards was composed, energetic and led the dance for the most part.

“I knew I could go out there and take his shots,” Edwards said. “Even when he was pressuring, not much happened.”

Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in 12 straight fights. He has not lost since Usman defeated him via unanimous decision in their first fight in 2015.

Usman (20-4, 1 NC) had won 15 consecutive fights in the UFC before dropping his past two to Edwards.

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