Leon Edwards and Gunnar Nelson squared off in a clash of islanders of the North Atlantic, Great Britain vs. Iceland. Edwards was miffed to have been overlooked for the main event against Darren Till, and had a point to prove, while Gunnar Nelson spent the lead-up to the fight dancing. Nelson had won 4 out of his last 5, while Edwards had quietly amassed an impressive six-fight winning streak, including a consummate victory over Donald Cerrone.
Both fighters started out with a lot of feints. nelson, in his deep karate stance, landed a nice kick to the body. Edwards stepped in with a combination and Nelson tied him up. Edwards showed impressive, cartwheeling takedown defense, but Nelson eventually got him down. Edwards got back up but Nelson held on and took him down again instantly. Edwards again clambered to his feet, digging for underhooks and turning Nelson against the cage and taking the Icelander down. He got a hook in as Nelson got his base, landing short punches from the wrestler’s ride. Nelson looked for the switch, but Edwards held on, even looking briefly for a rear-naked choke. Nelson stood, but Edwards picked him up and slammed him again before letting him up with thirty seconds to go. Edwards looked for a left straight and a kick before the round ended.
The second round started slow, with Nelson throwing a high kick and Edwards throwing one back. Edwards avoided a skipping Nelson right hand in which he glided halfway across the Octagon. Jab from Edwards, and Nelson tied him up off a right hand. They battled for clinch control, Edwards avoiding getting pushed to the cage assiduously. Leon landed an elbow on the break. Nelson collapsed the distance on the next right hand and got to the clinch again, pushing Edwards against the cage, but Edwards reversed and landed a hook on the break. Nelson landed a right hand into the clinch, again looking for that takedown, and again Edwards broke free with an elbow from the clinch. Nelson landed a jab and right straight, clinched again, ate a knee and a couple elbows for his trouble, then a right hand on the break. He dropped Nelson with a slick counter elbow on one of Nelson’s darting right straights! He pounced on Nelson and tried to take him out with furious ground-and-pound, but Nelson survived until the end of the round. That was a slick counter, he angled out in the clinch and landed a gorgeous elbow.
Edwards and Nelson resumed their karate-esque range battle, both men bouncing in their wide stances. Nelson timed a nice shot, but Edwards fought it off and did even better to hold off Nelson’s determined follow-up attempts. Nelson threw a wide right into the clinch again, looking hard for that takedown. He landed a knee, but Edwards broke away again. Edwards ate a jab and Nelson dove into the clinch again, pushing him against the cage. Edwards dug for double underhooks and turned Nelson against the cage, taking Nelson down briefly with a bodylock. Nelson got to all fours and stood, scrambling to his feet, and separating. Nelson darted in with another right and finally got the takedown he wanted, moving straight to full mount with a minute left. Edwards wrapped his arms around Nelson and tried to hold on. Nelson looked for separation and chipping ground and pound, but couldn’t get enough done for the finish.
After the decision was read in his favor, Edwards said he felt he won the first two rounds, and said to put some respect on his name, since he had won seven straight in the UFC’s toughest division. He said he’s working towards a rematch with champion Kamaru Usman. Edwards has quietly become one of the best welterweights in the world.
Official result: Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
Fight Night 147 results, including play-by-play, click here
Get the latest gear
- 2023 Panini Prizm UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Panini Select UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- Islam Makhachev Walkout Jersey
- UFC Fanatics Single Glove Display Case
- 2022 Panini Donruss Optic Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Donruss UFC Retail Blaster Box
- Miesha Tate UFC Authentic Plaque
- Brock Lesnar WWE Home Sweet Home Collage