Makhachev tips Usman to beat Edwards in rematch


Russian professional mixed martial artist, Islam Makhachev, thinks Leon Edwards’ knockout win over Kamaru Usman on August 20 was a fluke, adding that the Briton would find it impossible to repeat the feat the next time he faces Usman.

Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) dethroned Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) with a stunning head-kick knockout in Round 5 at UFC 278 – while trailing 3-1 in the previous four rounds – which finished off Usman with less than a minute remaining in their fight.

But because Usman was able to take Edwards down repeatedly and control him for majority of the fight, Makhachev (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) thinks “The Nigerian Nightmare” was merely unlucky. Based on the way the fight went, Makhachev expects Usman to reclaim his belt with ease in their rematch.

“Edwards got lucky because Usman beat him all five rounds, almost,” Makhachev told ESPN. “First round, (Edwards took) him down, take his back, but other rounds (Usman) beat him very easy, took him down many times and smashed him there. When they’re going to fight again in rematch, 100 per cent I think Kamaru is going to beat him because Edwards have same problem, always with wrestling guys.”

A trilogy bout with Usman is expected to take place for Edwards’ first title defence.

PUNCH Sports Extra reported on Wednesday that Usman told TMZ he didn’t want to coast and was looking to finish Edwards, which was what ultimately cost him.

Makhachev, an elite grappler himself, meets Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title in the main event of UFC 280 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi.