Leon Edwards captured the welterweight title by throwing the exact same head kick that his coaches planned and drilled in camp leading up to UFC 278, because the people “Rocky” pays to identify strengths and weaknesses in his opponents not only do their job, but do it very well.
Just ask former 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” was continually “dipping his head away” and leaving his head wide open “around the angle.” So with Edwards down on the scorecards and just a minute left in the UFC 278 headliner last weekend in Salt Lake City, his coaches called for the head kick — and got it.
As Edwards said after the fight, “Head shot, dead. That’s it.”
The footage is not unlike the video that surfaced of welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal drilling the same flying knee that melted Ben Askren at UFC 239 back in summer 2019. MMA is like many other sports where coaches design plays and players execute them, though some fighters often abandon the gameplan in favor of a wild brawl.
This recent barnburner comes to mind.
Usman credited Edwards for the “Hail Mary” finish at UFC 278 but still remains the odds-on betting favorite to win their inevitable rematch. Nothing is official at this time but the promotion is starting to look at venues in England, where “Rocky” will have a nation of supporters by his side.
See you in 2023?