UFC 278 takeaways: Leon Edwards’ improbable comeback KO is a ‘Rocky’ second for the ages

UFC 278 takeaways: Leon Edwards’ improbable comeback KO is a ‘Rocky’ second for the ages

Leon Edwards shook up the arena.

At UFC 278, Edwards authored one of the most biggest comebacks and biggest knockouts in UFC historical past, hanging Kamaru Usman out chilly within the 5th spherical with a head kick, claiming the welterweight identify. Edwards’ surprising KO capped off a card that still noticed a Battle of the Yr contender, the emergence of a brand new bantamweight identify risk, and possibly the overall efficiency of a former UFC champion.With such a lot to talk about, let’s hit our 5 greatest takeaways from UFC 278.


1. It would possibly not were as simple or once he would have appreciated, however Leon Edwards by no means gave up on himself and now he’s the champion of the arena.

During the last few years, few warring parties have confronted extra doubters than Edwards. Although he used to be on a 10-fight unbeaten streak, Edwards used to be handled through many because the red-headed step kid of the welterweight department. A two yr hiatus from the game because of accidents and a world pandemic left Edwards because the forgotten guy within the department. Even if he did get the identify shot, many wrote off his possibilities. Finally, Edwards had already misplaced to Kamaru Usman as soon as, and because then “The Nigerian Nightmare” had established himself as one of the most best pound-for-pound warring parties within the recreation and one of the most biggest warring parties of all time, whilst Edwards just about were given disenchanted through Nate Diaz. What probability did he have, truly?

No longer all had been so dismissive, however maximum had been, and regardless of successful the primary spherical, through the tip of the 3rd spherical in their rematch, Usman had undeniably taken keep an eye on of the combat or even his staunchest supporters had been appearing indicators of doubt. You have to pay attention it in his nook, Edwards’ coaches pleading with him not to get bullied, to combat again, to return ahead as a substitute of again and let his moves cross, however there used to be no pleasure for Edwards The fourth used to be Usman’s easiest spherical, an inexorable drive bending Edwards’ will to his personal, as he had performed such a lot of instances ahead of. Heading into the overall spherical of the combat, no person within the area or observing at house believed Edwards may win. He used to be merely being bested through a greater fighter.

However right here’s the article: Edwards didn’t imagine that. Whilst at more than a few cut-off dates throughout the combat, Edwards undeniably regarded annoyed, he by no means regarded damaged, as a result of Leon Edwards isn’t a person who is damaged through trivial such things as taking an ass-kicking. And so, with time working down on his Cinderella tale, short of a end to win, Edwards did the article his coaches have been requesting, he got here ahead, he flashed the fingers, and he threw a top kick at the back of the jab, a kick that Usman ducked at once into, launching his awareness from him like a shot put. Leon Edwards had performed it. He used to be the welterweight champion of the arena.

MMA is the best recreation on the earth as it revels in wonderful chaos and as such, delivers one of the vital maximum in truth shifting moments in sports activities. Edwards grew up in poverty, misplaced his father at an early age, fell right into a damaging and threatening way of life, used to be ready to tug himself out of it, overcame a large number of profession setbacks and in the end achieved his lifestyles’s ambition. When Alexander Volkanovski talks about proving the haters unsuitable, it rings hole, as a result of any doubts the featherweight champion has ever confronted are minor, insignificant. But if Leon Edwards, his eyes filled with tears, shouts to his mom whilst maintaining the belt, “Mum, I like you! I advised you I’d do it for you, Mum. I advised you I’d alternate our f****** lives,” this is the entirety as a result of he shouldn’t were ready to do it. Too many stuff had been stacked towards him. The doubters weren’t unsuitable — till Edwards made them so.

After the belt used to be wrapped round his waist, Edwards, crying and screaming and celebrating, made the similar proclamation again and again: “Y’all doubted me and stated I couldn’t do it. You all stated I couldn’t do it. Have a look at me now!” It used to be a clarion name of righteous vindication, of evidence that he used to be proper all alongside, that his reality used to be in reality the reality. Larger upsets have took place in MMA, however save for his countryman Michael Bisping’s personal identify win, none have felt extra deserved. It’s the kind of factor you spot in a film, and now we’re all having a look at Leon. Each one in every of us.

UFC 278 takeaways: Leon Edwards’ improbable comeback KO is a ‘Rocky’ second for the ages


2. Edwards’ identify win didn’t simply proved that each one his doubters had been unsuitable, it additionally proved one thing that are supposed to were identified way back: protecting a identify again and again is probably the most tough factor you’ll do in MMA.

For the previous yr or so, a story has been coming up that Usman may well be the best welterweight of all time. With 5 identify defenses, and shutting in on Anderson Silva’s document of maximum consecutive wins within the UFC, some had been already anointing him as higher than Georges St-Pierre, and heading into this combat, the debate used to be about whether or not he would face Khamzat Chimaev subsequent, or whether or not he would transfer as much as gentle heavyweight to problem for a 2nd belt and cement his standing because the GOAT.

After which Leon Edwards took place.

Edwards’ left shin must be a brutal reminder to everybody simply how tough protecting a identify is. Profitable is difficult sufficient by itself, however while you’re protecting a identify, it will get exponentially worse. You’re getting each and every unmarried individual’s easiest shot, each and every unmarried time. Their BEST shot. As a result of that’s what a identify problem is, the fruits of a lifestyles’s paintings. Leon Edwards has spent each and every second of the previous 13 years operating in opposition to this combat. He’ll by no means get this opportunity once more if he loses. That is the defining second of his lifestyles and he is aware of it and he’s going to present the entirety he has. Status up towards THAT, time after time after time is unattainable. Particularly in a recreation the place the margins are so narrow, the place one unsuitable transfer is the tip. If in case you have an off evening, you lose. If a freak harm happens, you lose. If the opposite individual catches lightning in a bottle, you lose. Or, as Edwards and Usman simply proved, if in case you have an excellent evening however one short-term lapse, increase. You’re performed. Again to the planning stage.

I’ve an incredible quantity of admire for Usman and what he has achieved, and there’s each and every risk that he comes again, wins the trilogy combat, defends his belt for 5 extra years, and actually establishes himself because the GOAT, however till he does it, let’s no longer forget the accomplishments of others as a result of they took place previously and this is going on now. GSP is the GOAT as a result of 9 is greater than 5, and that isn’t going to modify anytime quickly.


3. Talking of GOAT, Luke Rockhold can have had the best retirement speech in MMA historical past.

After dropping a Battle of the Evening successful fight with Paulo Costa within the co-main match, Rockhold, in tears, retired from the game, telling Joe Rogan, “I f****** can’t do that s*** anymore. I gave it my all, I simply didn’t — I’m f****** outdated.” It used to be a second that used to be humorous, unhappy, and imminently relatable — made the entire extra sudden as a result of the ones are all issues Rockhold hasn’t ever truly been.

Assuming his retirement sticks, Rockhold will depart the game with one of the most extra interesting careers to dissect. A former UFC middleweight champion, there used to be a time when maximum believed Rockhold would reign atop the 185-pound department for future years, or a minimum of have a sequence of epic battles with Chris Weidman. Neither of the ones issues had been to be although as Rockhold’s profession plummeted after successful the belt, dropping 4 of his ultimate 5 fights, and getting brutally knocked out in 3 of them.

That being stated, if this truly is the tip for Rockhold, it’s an incredibly excellent one for him. MMA is especially unkind to its elder statesmen and heading into this combat, the overall trust used to be that Rockhold used to be in retailer for every other brutal KO loss. As a substitute although, the previous champion placed on a Battle of the Yr contender with a best contender, gave just about as excellent as he were given, and showcased a ton of center and sturdiness, all performed coming off a three-year layoff. That ain’t part dangerous.

If Rockhold needs to go away, that’s completely alright however he indisputably wish to stroll away. Which most likely way it’s the easiest time to take action.


4. Jose Aldo deserved higher.

Heading into UFC 278, Aldo used to be on a three-fight win streak, everywhere best bantamweight contenders, together with a win over the darling of the department, Marlon Vera. Below customary cases, that are supposed to have garnered Aldo a shot at Aljamain Sterling and the bantamweight identify. As a substitute, the UFC determined to present T.J. Dillashaw the combat, regardless of Dillashaw having spend a two-year suspension for EPO, after which eking out a cut up determination win over Cory Sandhagen in his go back, a win that most of the people felt used to be a theft. That left Aldo to both wait and hope he’d get a identify shot or to take a combat, so Aldo took on Sterling’s teammate Merab Dvalishvili, and ended up dropping a unanimous determination, developing the worst conceivable end result.

I gained’t get into the scoring as a result of most of the people appear to imagine Dvalishvili must have gained (I disagree as a result of I don’t worth wall and stall, however c’est los angeles vie), however how on the earth the UFC can have idea this used to be a good suggestion is past me. Aldo is a valid superstar (the group used to be louder for him than for somebody else) and a bona fide legend. Leon Edwards one of the most 5 biggest warring parties of all time and universally revered, and the UFC must have revered that and given him the identify combat. Now, they’ve killed Aldo off as a contender, relatively most likely for the overall time, and as a result of the way in which he gained, they didn’t even lift Dvalishvili. Worse but, as a result of Dvalishvili and Sterling won’t ever combat one every other, what they truly did used to be take away a compelling and loved contender for Sterling, whilst gaining completely not anything in go back.

Nice paintings.


5. Whilst the 5th greatest takeaway from UFC 278 must be the ongoing screw ups of judges and referees to be excellent at their jobs, this is unfortunately the usual. So as a substitute, the overall takeaway has to in opposition to the promotion itself:

Please prevent going to puts at top altitude.

Whilst UFC 278 used to be a rather a laugh match, all of the night used to be somewhat wacky, largely because of the elevation and the way that results warring parties. Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold had been GASSED after their first spherical, and whilst they had been indisputably pushing a top tempo, they had been additionally doing so at top altitude, which tired them considerably. In his post-fight press convention, Edwards mentioned how he ready for the elevation, however nonetheless felt off on combat evening, as it’s merely other. After which after all there’s Alexander Romanov, who completely ruled Marcin Tybura within the first spherical, simplest to slightly be capable to breath in Spherical 2.

We get it, you wish to have to take the touring roadshow in all places, and through all accounts the fanatics in Salt Lake Town had been superb, however each and every time you cling an match in Denver, or Mexico Town, or someplace like that, it’s all the time the most eldritch conceivable results. It’s like taking part in baseball at Fenway Park. Positive, it’s technically nonetheless the similar sport, however The Inexperienced Monster is an absurd perversion of ways the game is is generally contested.

Please, let’s simply keep on with common elevations. Or if you happen to should cross to the top altitude puts, stack the playing cards with completely flyweights. The ones guys didn’t appear to thoughts.

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