Trilogy: Usman favourite despite Edwards defeat

Kamaru Usman loses title


Peter Akinbo

Nigerian Kamaru Usman remains a big betting favourite over welterweight champion Leon Edwards despite losing the title to the Briton on Sunday morning at UFC 278, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Usman was knocked out and lost his belt to Edwards in the UFC 278 main event at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena after ‘Rocky’ sent him to the ground him with a head kick in the final minute of the fight.

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was up 3-1 on the judges’ scorecards heading into the fifth round, with Edwards expected to lose a unanimous decision.

Then Edwards produced one of the most shocking and iconic knockouts in UFC history after everyone had already written him off to become the second British fighter to win a UFC title.

The first was Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold to win the middleweight belt in a similar upset victory back in 2016 at UFC 199.

Still, despite such an impressive feat, Edwards opens a +285 underdog in a potential trilogy fight, with BetOnline listing Usman as a -350 favourite.

Edwards maintained that Usman was never pound-for-pound number one despite what the rankings said and always believed he was the more skilled and well-rounded fighter.

“Like I said, I didn’t build him to be this pound-for-pound GOAT everyone says he is. I’ve said it all week; I don’t believe that he’s the pound-for-pound yet. You have to be better than just wrestling and boxing, you know? And I’m a mixed martial artist, I can do it all.”

Having shared the cage with Usman in the past, Edwards knew ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ wasn’t unstoppable and that the 35-year-old was possibly a victim of his own hype heading into the rematch and reminded Usman and the rest of the world that ‘the belt belongs to nobody’ after knocking Usman out in the final minute of the fight to mark one of the greatest knockouts and comebacks in UFC history.