Edwards brings the UFC welterweight championship home to London for his trilogy fight with Usman
• 4 min read
The UFC is back with its second PPV of March on Saturday when it returns to London. The promotion is back in the U.K. for its first PPV event in seven years when UFC 286 goes down from the O2 Arena as Leon Edwards makes a homecoming in looking to defend his title against Kamaru Usman in a trilogy fight.
Usman earned the win in their first meeting way back in 2015 when both fighters were merely prospects new to the organization. They met again last August as completely different people with Usman holding the welterweight title and nearing Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive wins and title defenses. Edwards entered on a 10-fight win streak and top contender in a loaded division.
After nearly five rounds of dominance from the champ, Edwards scored an iconic headkick knockout to take the title in one of the most dramatic moments in UFC history. Now, he’ll need to repeat the feat in his hometown.
“It’s weird because on the ride to the hospital that night, I was already over it,” Usman told “Morning Kombat” this week. “I was over it. When you feel that sense of relief of all the expectations, you just hear it all quiet down. All of the people that were jumping on the ship making it heavy and needed to go, now have kind of jumped off.
“It makes the sport fun for me and it wasn’t as much fun with all the noise. I love the position I ascended to and I appreciated it because I know I put in all the work I did over the years. But it wasn’t as necessarily as fun as the journey. I love that I get to really enjoy the sport again. I’ve enjoyed the times of me and my daughter getting to drive to the gym every day, there and back.
Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including a complete pregame preview of UFC 286 below.
The undercard fills out with some fun battles that could produce fireworks. Look no further than the co-main event when “The Highlight” Justin Gaethje returns. The perennial lightweight contender is back as he looks to turn away the next rising contender in the division in the form of Rafael Fiziev. Plus, submission specialist Gunnar Nelson is back in action when he takes on brawling brute Bryan Barberena. And the main card opens with an important bout at middleweight when former title challenger Marvin Vettori takes on rising contender Roman Dolidze.
“To the person that’s never done this, it sounds crazy but we’ve all been there,” Gaethje said this week. “I was just as willing to say outlandish things when I was in his position trying to get the fights that we need, trying to get the attention that he’s trying to get through fighting me, trying to pump myself up for the fights that you have to pump yourself up for, for a fight like this. I think the language barrier is a factor in that quote, but it’s just as intense as it is.”
Below is the complete fight card for UFC 286 along with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Check back all week long for the latest news, features and other content around this massive event.
UFC 286 fight card, odds
- Kamaru Usman -240 vs. Leon Edwards (c) +200, welterweight championship
- Rafael Fiziev -230 vs. Justin Gaethje +190, lightweights
- Gunnar Nelson -370 vs. Bryan Barberena +290, welterweights
- Casey O’Neill -175 vs. Jennifer Maia +150, women’s flyweights
- Marvin Vettori -280 vs. Roman Dolidze +230, middleweights
- Jack Shore -500 vs. Makwan Amirkhani +380, featherweights
- Omar Morales -110 vs. Chris Duncan -110, middleweights
- Sam Patterson -280 vs. Yanal Ashmoz +230, lightweights
- Muhammad Mokaev -900 vs. Jafel Filho +600, flyweights
- Lerone Murphy -175 vs. Gabriel Santos +150, featherweights
- Christian Leroy Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via first-round TKO (injury)
- Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via first-round TKO (punches)
- Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ludovit Klein vs. Jai Herbert ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
- Veronica Macedo def. Julianna Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
UFC 286 info
- Date: March 18
- Location: O2 Arena — London, England
- Start time: 5 p.m. ET (Main card)
- How to watch: ESPN+ PPV
UFC 286 countdown
- Staff predictions and expert picks for the main card
- Brookhouse: Best bets to consider on the main card this week
- Mahjouri: Gaethje says he may need to shoot for his first UFC takedown
- Campbell: Why Usman expects no lingering effects from knockout
- Mahjouri: Undercard fights to watch this weekend
- Campbell: Top storylines to follow in London
Who wins Edwards vs. Usman at UFC 286? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 286, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022, and find out.