Leon Edwards is the new UFC welterweight champion, shocking the world with a last-minute head kick finish over Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 278 on Saturday night.
Down on the cards and staring down a one-sided loss, Edwards set up the fight-ending kick beautifully, pawing out with his left hand to get Usman to slip his head off the center line, causing the champion to duck into the left kick coming behind it. His shin landed flush, Usman crashed to the canvas in a heap, and Edwards became champion, snatching victory and championship gold from the jaws of sure defeat.
This was an absolutely incredible way to close out a loud, hectic night of action inside the Octagon at Vivint Arena.
Here's a closer look at how things played out at UFC 278. | Official Scorecards
Main event was scheduled for five rounds. All other bouts were scheduled for three rounds.
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 Results
- Main Event: Leon Edwards defeats Kamaru Usman by KO (left high kick) at 4:04 of Round 5
- Co-Main Event: Paulo Costa defeats Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Merab Dvalishvili defeats José Aldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Lucie Pudilova defeats Wu Yanan by TKO (elbows) at 4:04 of Round 2
- Tyson Pedro defeats Harry Hunsucker by TKO (strikes) at 1:05 of Round 1
- Marcin Tybura defeats Alexandr Romanov by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Jared Gordon defeats Leonardo Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Sean Woodson and Luis Saldana fight to a split draw (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
- Ange Loosa defeats AJ Fletcher by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Amir Albazi defeats Francisco Figueiredo by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:34 of Round 1
- Aoriqileng defeats Jay Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Victor Altamirano defeats Daniel Da Silva by TKO (strikes) at 3:39 of Round 1
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 Main Card
Main Event: Leon Edwards defeats Kamaru Usman by KO (left high kick) at 4:04 of Round 5
Are you kidding me?!
Leon Edwards is your new UFC welterweight champion, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat with just seconds remaining in the UFC 278 main event.
The challenger flashed in the first round, tripping Usman to the ground and landing in mount, transitioning to the back before spending the final minute hunting for a choke and showing he was game. For the next three-and-a-half rounds, Usman was in control.
With each subsequent round, the pressure, pace, and championship fight experience of Usman took a toll on Edwards, who struggled to land with force and conceded takedowns much easier. The challenger had a moment of success early in the fourth, securing a waist lock and looking to sink his hooks, but Usman worked free and instantly put Edwards on the deck, grinding on him from before letting loose with his hands right before the end of the round.
Usman remained on the pressure in the fifth and final round before a low blow paused the action with just under two minutes remaining. On the restart, Edwards had a little bounce in his step, and as Usman hung out at range, “Rocky” uncorked a left high kick that landed flush and instantly shut off Usman’s lights.
Edwards celebrated before the emotion washed over him, while Usman sat on the stool, wondering what went wrong.
The rivals will likely have to do it again after Usman enjoyed such a lengthy reign and controlled the majority of the fight, but Edwards will be walking into the rematch with the gold around his waist.
What a finish! | Official Scorecards
Co-Main Event: Paulo Costa defeats Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold threw everything with maximum force and nasty intentions throughout their 15-minute battle in the co-main event of the evening. While the former champion had his moments, fighting for the first time in more than three years, Costa was clearly the better man on this evening, leaving Rockhold battered and bloodied.
From the outset, the conditioning and timing edge for Costa was apparent, as he busted up Rockhold’s nose early in the first round and never stopped coming after him. While his energy stores ran low, the output declined and Rockhold was able to find some openings to land, but each time he did, Costa responded in kind. He showed more grappling than he has in the past, working to dominant positions and having success on the canvas as well as on the feet.
Costa garnered a clean sweep of the scorecards to snap a two-fight slide and re-affirm his standing as one of the top middleweights in the world.
Following the contest, an emotional Rockhold announced his retirement, fighting back tears and receiving an impressive ovation from the appreciative crowd in Salt Lake City. The former titleholder goes out on a three-fight slide, but was one of the absolute best in the world during his prime and should be remembered for his successes, not the way it ultimately ended. | Official Scorecards
Merab Dvalishvili defeats José Aldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Even though Davlishvili wasn’t able to secure a takedown against the Brazilian legend, he earned a clean sweep of the scorecards nonetheless. Aptly nicknamed “The Machine,” Dvalishvili pressured from the outset and never let off the gas, closing the distance and forcing Aldo to defend repeatedly, settling for long periods of clinching along the fence and chipping away with knees to the thigh.
Aldo landed the odd heavy shot in both the first and second, but his output was limited and declined as the fight progressed. But while the former featherweight champion started to tire, Dvalishvili kept coming forward, giving Aldo no room to breath.
After losing the first two bouts of his UFC career, Dvalishvili has now won eight straight in the deepest, most competitive division in the promotion. He’s closing in on championship contention, and has the style that could make him an absolute menace in five-round fights. | Official Scorecards
The Czech fighter went 2-5 in her first tour of duty, showing grit and tenancy against tough competition before returning to the regional circuit. She went 5-1 during her six-fight reset and came back with a vengeance in Salt Lake City, dragging Wu to the canvas in both the first and second. After searching for a choke and coming up empty, Pudilova opted to just smash home elbows from back mount, forcing referee Herb Dean to step in and wave things off.
In securing the victory, Pudilova pushes her winning streak to three and collects her first UFC triumph since toppling Sarah Moras in early 2018. With the loss, Wu falls to 12-6 overall and just 1-5 inside the Octagon. | Official Scorecards
Tyson Pedro defeats Harry Hunsucker by TKO (strikes) at 1:05 of Round 1
After more than three years on the sidelines, Tyson Pedro has returned with force, securing his second consecutive first-round stoppage win on Saturday night.
Pedro caught divisional newcomer Harry Hunsucker with a sharp jab coming forward, and as soon as he saw him hurt, the Australian pounced. Pedro pressed forward and buried a front kick into Hunsucker’s midsection, causing him to cover-up and collapse to the deck. The follow-up blows were academic, bringing the contest to a halt just 64 seconds after it started.
The affable light heavyweight was fired up fighting in front of fans and got the main card off to a quick start, picking up his second win in five months on Saturday. Now 30 years old, Pedro moves to 9-3 with the victory, and puts himself back on the radar in the light heavyweight ranks. | Official Scorecards
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 Prelims
Marcin Tybura defeats Alexandr Romanov by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
The Top 15 stalwart got manhandled by Romanov in the opening round, elevated and slammed to the canvas on multiple occasions as the undefeated Moldovan heavyweight looked to get the veteran out of there early. But the Polish veteran survived the initial onslaught, and when the second round started, it was clear that Romanov was running on fumes.
Tybura controlled the next two frames by working at a methodical clip, attacking with kicks to the legs and midsection, mixing in the odd clean punch finding a home as Romanov offered very little.
With Romanov having pitched a shutout in dominating the first round, it felt like the duo were destined to battle to a draw, but only one judge awarded the unbeaten wrestler a 10-8 score in the first, resulting in Tybura rallying to secure the win.
This is a great bounce-back effort for Tybura, who rebounds from his loss last October to Alexander Volkov and has now won seven of his last eight, bouncing Romanov from the ranks of the unbeaten in the process. | Official Scorecards
Jared Gordon defeats Leonardo Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gordon patiently worked his way inside the length of Santos in the second half of the opening stanza, landing well to both the head and body to chip away at the Brazilian’s gas tank and put some money in the bank. He looked to do the same in the second, controlling things for the majority of the frame, save for a brief moment where Santos looked for a takedown and Gordon grabbed a handful of fence to avoid getting put on the canvas.
In the third, Gordon was clearly the fresher, more active man, pressuring forward and continuing to land to the head and body. “Flash” couldn’t get the 42-year-old veteran out of there, but he was clearly the better man from start to finish.
With the win, Gordon moves to 7-4 in the UFC and 19-5 overall, while for Santos, it’s a third straight loss after an eight-fight unbeaten run to begin his UFC tenure. | Official Scorecards
Sean Woodson and Luis Saldaña fight to a split draw (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
Midway through the opening round, Saldaña rocked Woodson, but didn’t follow up. He promptly dropped him with a clean jab, but followed it up with a clear illegal knee, resulting in referee Mike Beltran docking the Fight Ready representative a point.
The second was highlighted by Woodson attacking with a buggy choke for the final half of the round, and the third was two fatigued featherweights slinging heavy arms and landing very little of consequence. It took a while to get the scorecards and when the totals were read aloud, it was 29-27 either way with a 28-28 on the third, resulting in the bout being declared a split draw.
It’s the first draw for each man, with Woodson moving to 9-1-1 and Saldaña shifting to 16-7-1 with Saturday’s result. | Official Scorecards
The former Contender Series competitor found his range and rhythm mid-way through the opening round, busting up AJ Fletcher with a series of clean right hands to take the first round. But as Loosa started fading in the middle frame, Fletcher cranked up the pressure and output, turning the tables and nearly getting the Kill Cliff FC representative out of there.
Loosa survived and showed himself to be the less exhausted of the two in the third, landing in top position after Fletcher slipped while throwing a kick and never letting “The Ghost” get back to his feet. After giving a good account of himself on short notice against Mounir Lazzez in his promotional debut, Loosa collects his first UFC victory, pushing his record to 9-3 with the win. | Official Scorecards
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 Early Prelims
Amir Albazi defeats Francisco Figueiredo by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:34 of Round 1
There were no signs of rust from Amir Albazi.
After 19 months on the sidelines, “The Prince” returned to the Octagon on Saturday night in Salt Lake City and methodically worked his way through Francisco Figueiredo, ultimately getting the younger brother of the flyweight champion to tap out late in the opening round.
Albazi capitalized on a caught kick early, spilling Figueiredo to the floor and doing good work from top position. The Brazilian worked his way back to the feet, but Albazi wasted little time getting him back to the canvas, and from there, the Las Vegas-based flyweight went to work. He collected the left wrist and fed it under Figueiredo before climbing on his back, sinking in his hooks, and fishing his forearm under the neck.
Figueiredo was dead to rights and forced to tap.
Albazi claims his third consecutive UFC victory with the first-round finish, reminding everyone that he’s a genuine person of interest in the 125-pound weight class. | Official Scorecards
Aoriqileng defeats Jay Perrin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Aoriqileng and Jay Perrin set the early bar for Fight of the Night honors in the second bout of the evening, cranking up the output down the stretch of an entertaining back-and-forth in the second fight of the night. When the tens and nines were tallied, Aoriqileng emerged victorious, securing his second consecutive UFC victory.
“The Mongolian Murderer” started strong, cracking Perrin with long, clean strikes in the first that sat the Lowell, Massachusetts native in a chair a couple different times, showcasing the power he carries now that he’s fighting at bantamweight. As the fight progressed, Aoriqileng’s gas tank started running low and Perrin began to have more success, controlling most of the final stanza in the clinch before the duo let it rip in the final 30 seconds.
While Perrin had Aoriqileng in trouble towards the end of the fight, the horn sounded, the fight ended, and the judges returned a unanimous verdict.
After losing his first two UFC appearances while fighting at flyweight, Aoriqileng has earned back-to-back wins since shifting to the 135-pound weight class. Although Perrin drops to 0-2 in the UFC with the setback, he’s proven himself to be an entertaining fighter, and should get another opportunity to chase down that elusive first UFC win later this year. | Official Scorecards
Altamirano was on the wrong end of things to start the fight, with Da Silva showing superior power and speed on the feet, stinging the Dana White’s Contender Series alum with an assortment of striking attacks. But just when it seemed like Da Silva was building momentum, Altamirano buried a knee into the Brazilian’s midsection that dropped him to the canvas, and from there, “El Magnifico” pounded out the finish.
The 31-year-old dropped a narrow decision last time out in his debut, and collects his first UFC victory here, pushing his record to 11-2 with the victory. As for Da Silva, he falls to 0-3 inside the Octagon with the loss. | Official Scorecards
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 took place live from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses- and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!