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Leon Edwards and the true Winners and Losers from UFC 278

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IIIAugust 21, 2022

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    Welcome to Summer 2022: Rematch Season in the UFC.

    The mixed fighting techinques conglomerate had a return bout atop a pay-per-view card for the next straight month when it rolled into Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday night.

    Welterweights Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards were in the spotlight position on UFC 278, a 12-bout show at Vivint Arena that included a five-bout PPV portion streams by ESPN+.

    Both men met early within their respective octagonal runs back 2015 for a three-rounder on a cable-TV undercard before re-engaging for a five-rounder these times with Usman’s 170-pound title at risk against his highly-regarded No. 2 contender.

    B/R’s combat sports team was constantly in place to take the show from begin to finish to provide the definitive set of winners and losers. Scroll to see our thoughts and present us a take or two of your in the comments section.

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    Mark it down.

    Its the single most stunning finish in UFC history.

    Edwards looked mentally beaten, resigned to defeat and significantly less than 60 seconds from that which was certain to become a unanimous decision loss to Usman in his welterweight title shot.

    And: A Rocky ending.

    The Englishman flicked a left hand to elicit a reaction from Usman as he simultaneously launched a higher left kick that landed flush privately of the champions head, rendering him instantly unconscious and toppling him from both 170-pound throne and the sports recognized pound-for-pound lists.

    Herb Dean named an instant halt at 4: 04 of the fifth round, exactly 56 seconds before a particular loss.

    I cant put it into words, Edwards said. Each of them said I couldnt take action. Look at me now.

    Edwards won the initial round after taking Usman down for the very first time in his UFC career and chasing submissions, however the subsequent three rounds saw the Nigerian Nightmare strafe the challenger with hand strikes, record multiple takedowns and gradually eliminate his foes will to compete.

    Edwards corner sensed their mans peril aswell and laced into him with obscenities to create your final push, although man himself claimed his belief had never experienced question.

    It doesnt matter. Im built for the trenches, he said. Ive been down my very existence.

    I told you it had been possible. We are able to win a belt from the united kingdom. Look at me now. I cant explain it. I said all week I thought this is my moment. Look at me now, champion of the planet. Born in Jamaica with nothing, lived in a wooden shack. I told you Id change my f–king life.

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    Theres violence. Theres mayhem.

    And theres the 3rd round of the middleweight co-main event between former title challenger Paulo Costa and ex-champion Luke Rockhold.

    Both men had a heated group of run-ins at fight week media events, also it carried to the Octagon, that was smeared in blood following a chaotic 15 minutes where both men were hit, hurt, and taken up to the ground.

    Nonetheless it raised an even in the ultimate session, which ended with a bloodied Rockhold in top position and smearing his redden face around his downed foes face.

    Costa landed the better shots and was nearer to winning more times, and ultimately earned a unanimous decision by three scores of 30-27.

    Now 37, Rockhold, whod held the UFC belt at 185 pounds for seven months in 2015-16, had lost two of three bouts since dropping the title and hadnt fought at all since mid-2019 following a group of injuries.

    He landed powerful shots and had Costa in intermittently vulnerable positions on the floor but was compromised by way of a severely bloody nose and was clearly having trouble breathing through his mouthpiece. Actually, he stepped back several times and put his practical his knees in exhaustion.

    Following the fight, he said the return fight will be his last.

    Ive experienced so much the final 3 years. I cant do that s–t anymore, he said.

    I gave it my all. Im f–king old.

    Costa, who dropped a middleweight title shot to Israel Adesanya in 2020, had fought only once since and dropped a choice to fellow Adesanya victim Marvin Vettori.

    Hes now 14-2 since turning pro in 2012.

    This is an excellent fight, Costa said. “He surprised me with plenty of clear shots. And folks dont say he’s got an excellent chin, but he does.

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    Jose Aldo raised his hands. The Salt Lake City crowd cheered.

    Nevertheless, you could sense that both knew that which was coming.

    The decorated Brazilian and sure-fire Hall of Famer was surely not battered in one side of the cage to another, but he was curiously inactive across the majority of 15 minutes as Merab Dvalishvili perpetually pressed forward on the path to a narrow but deserved unanimous decision win.

    Two judges had it 29-28 while a third gave the native Georgian a 30-27 shutout.

    It is a dream, he said. I dont believe that is happening if you ask me.

    Dvalishvili arrived because the UFCs sixth-ranked bantamweight, three slots below Aldo, who had arrived to the weight class following a championship run at featherweight.

    The 35-year-old had won three straight fights to resurrect his career at 135 pounds but was perpetually defending takedown attempts contrary to the native Georgian rather than experienced anything approaching an offensive rhythm.

    Dvalishvili never got the fight to the ground despite 16 takedown attempts, but he did run up a 135-59 edge in overall strikes and a 57-38 advantage in significant strikes.

    That is our job. Whatever your task is, you need to do it your very best, he said.

    He was very technical contrary to the cage. Usually, I remove everybody, but his footwork and takedown defense contrary to the fence was amazing.

    Dvalishvili was asked afterward if hed pursue a title fight at 135 against champion Aljamain Sterling, whos a longtime friend and training partner.

    He made me who I’m today, he said. Im surviving in my dream at this time. Weren’t fighting one another. We have been brothers.”

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    When Daniel Cormier says your mat work is good, its good.

    So its hardly surprising Lucie Pudilova was as giddy as she appeared Saturday night.

    The Czech Republic native was back the UFC after going 2-5 within an initial stint and spending the intervening two-plus years in other promotions, and she made the return an effective one with an especially violent second-round stoppage of bantamweight foe Wu Yanan.

    The bout was set for the prelim card but was elevated to the primary show over the last couple of days of fight week, giving Pudilova a spotlight return opportunity.

    I cant believe Im back the UFC. It feels so excellent, she said. I’m happy.

    The 28-year-old struck with intermittent effect by way of a lackluster first round but continued the attack soon in to the second, getting Yanan to the ground with a headlock and a flip before quickly seizing her foes back and chasing a submission via choke.

    I really like the transitions from the trunk in to the mount, Cormier said. It had been beautiful.

    She was struggling to obtain the neck and changed tactics instead of continuing the pursuit, rising to her knees, and battering Yanan with punches and strikes to the top. It had been brutal although it lasted prior to the end came at 4: 04 of the next.

    Our strategy was to choose grappling, she said, and choose the final.

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    Make no mistake, Tyson Pedro was likely to win.

    He was coming off a first-round win while his opponent, Harry Hunsucker, was winless in a set of UFC appearances and was making his first appearance in the light heavyweight division.

    But despite having all of the advantages in his favor, Pedro still were able to impress.

    The Australian scored his second quick win in four months and got a substantial crowd pop on the way, initially drilling the overmatched Hunsucker with a difficult punch before finishing him with much body kick after just 65 seconds of these scheduled three-rounder.

    When youre entrenched as a -750 favorite, youre likely to with style points, Jon Anik said from the ESPN announce table. Mission accomplished.

    Pedro had opted 3-3 within an earlier UFC stint from 2016 to 2018 before leaving the business and staying on the shelf until he returned in April with a one-round win. He started down the road to Saturdays win when Hunsucker was driven backward with a difficult left jab and continued when he landed a kick to the Americans solar plexus.

    Hunsucker reeled backward and hit the ground following a shot and was on the receiving end of five straight ground strikes prior to the hostilities were halted at 1: 05.

    It had been the fourth body kick finish in the UFCs 205-pound division history.

    To obtain it done that quick, thats what its about, Pedro said. I havent been with us fans for a long time, therefore i liked hearing the noise. Its been a difficult camp and Ive been abroad for half a year. I miss my baby girl. Raise your voice to all or any the dads sacrificing for an improved live for his or her kids.

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    Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

    For 5 minutes, it had been no contest.

    Moldovan giant no. 13-ranked heavyweight Alexandr Romanov landed strikes, scored takedowns and generally treated a nearly 240-pound opponent as though he were rag doll.

    But once Marcin Tybura emerged from the initial round along with his senses intact, things changed.

    The 11th-ranked 36-year-old gradually took over as his nearly 260-pound opponent tired, landing strikes of their own and eluded what remained of Romanov’s wrestling attack while snatching “King Kong’s” professional zero with many decision.

    Two judges gave Tybura 29-28 nods on the scorecards while a third saw it 28-28 after giving the previously unbeaten Romanov a 10-8 margin in the initial.

    It didn’t look likely that things would continue following the initial 45 seconds, which saw Romanov get behind Tybura, pick him up and effortlessly toss him to the mat. Tybura got to his feet with Romanov still draped over his back, but was quickly repaid to the mat after Romanov had softened his legs with some standing knees.

    A number of ground strikes had referee Jason Herzog leaning in close and seemingly on the verge of a stoppage, however the horn eventually sounded to provide Tybura a reprieve. He scored well to your body in the next with kicks and continued the momentum become the third being an a lot more desperate-looking Romanov resorted to a clowning “Ali Shuffle” and later climbed to the very best of the cage following the fight and exhorted the crowd to back him.

    It didn’t are his record fell to 16-1 and Tybura’s nudged around 24-7.

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    Luis Saldana had the moves down pat.

    He paraded round the Octagon, sprang to the very best of the cage and shouted to the Vivint Arena crowd as though he’d scored the largest win of his career.

    Problem is, he hadn’t won.

    Works out the 31-year-old featherweight had landed the second-round kill shot with a knee to a downed fighter, prompting referee Mike Beltran to pull him off the fence and penalize him a spot while allowing stricken opponent Sean Woodson to recuperate in a nearby corner.

    The combat resumed through the finish of the next round and in to the third, ultimately going the entire 15 minutes before being declared a split-decision draw.

    One judge had it 29-27 for Woodson, another had it 29-27 for Saldana and a third had it even at 28-28, meaning Saldana could have won had it not been for the penalty point.

    The infraction occurred after Saldana had dropped Woodson twice in the round, once with a check left hook and the next time with a difficult left jab.

    The next knockdown prompted a celebratory strut from Saldana as Woodson begun to climb to his feet, and Saldana’s subsequent charge over the mat saw his lower right thigh connect to Woodson’s forehead.

    Saldana didn’t appear to realize what he’d done as he commenced these celebration, however the announce crew of Cormier and Joe Rogan reacted immediately.

    “Just what a huge mistake,” Cormier said. “He doesn’t know very well what he did but he’ll feel awful when he realizes what he lost due to it.”

    It had been the initial career draw for Saldana, who’s now 16-7-1 as an expert, and the next for Woodson, who’s 9-1-2.

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    It isn’t ordinarily a ranked contender is relegated to early prelim status.

    But Amir Albazi didn’t let a half-empty arena bother him.

    Instead, the UFC’s No. 11 flyweight was particularly impressive in ending a 19-month layoff, nimbly obtaining the fight to the ground and quickly taking charge once there on the path to a first-round submission victory over Francisco Figueiredo.

    An Iraqi native who’s relocated to Sweden and today England, Albazi took Figueiredo down after barely greater than a minute and got him down again with a left-leg trip two minutes later.

    He seized his opponent’s back and worked his solution to the neck following the second takedown, eventually snaking his left arm right into a rear-naked choke position and cinching it in with the proper arm on the path to drawing a tap-out at 4: 34 of the round.

    “That is clearly a contender, ladies and gentlemen,” Rogan said.

    It had been Albazi’s 15th win and 13th finish in 16 fights.

    Figueiredo, the brother of the former flyweight champ, is 13-5-1.

    “Personally i think good,” he said. “I am dealing with plenty of injuries, however the king is back. I’m the lion of Iraq. Its another pressure they feel with me. Give me all theblack belts in the division.”

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

    Main Card

    Leon Edwards def. Kamaru Usman by KO (kick), 4: 04, Round 5

    Paulo Costa def. Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

    Merab Dvalishvili def. Jose Aldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

    Lucie Pudilova def. Wu Yanan by TKO (punches), 4: 04, Round 2

    Tyson Pedro def. Harry Hunsucker by TKO (kick), 1: 05, Round 1

    Preliminary Card

    Marcin Tybura def. Alexandr Romanov by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)

    Jared Gordon def. Leonardo Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

    Sean Woodson drew with Luis Saldana by split decision (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)

    Ange Loosa def. AJ Fletcher by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)

    Early Preliminary Card

    Amir Albazi def. Francisco Figueiredo by submission (rear-naked choke), 4: 34, Round 1

    Aoriqileng def. Jay Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

    Victor Altamirano def. Daniel Da Silva by TKO (punches), 3: 39, Round 1


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