Leon Edwards v Kamaru Usman 3: UFC 286 predictions for welterweight world-title fight

3 min read

Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Saturday, 18 March
Coverage: Follow live text coverage and reaction on BBC Sport website & app from 21:00 GMT

Leon Edwards defends his welterweight world title for the first time against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 in London on Saturday.

The rivals fight for the third time and are tied at one win apiece. Can Edwards successfully defend his title or will Usman spoil the party for ‘Rocky’ on home soil?

Edwards, 31, has promised to knock Usman out again, saying: “I’m the better fighter than him, I’m the better striker than him and I’ve knocked him out before so I’ll knock him out again.”

But who are you backing? We have asked some big names from the world of MMA for their opinions on the big fight.

Welsh featherweight Jack Shore: “I’ve got to back Leon. The performance he put on last time, if that doesn’t inspire you as an MMA fan… And the fact he’s won the UFC title from his original team, it’s inspiring stuff.”

Flyweight Molly McCann: “I can’t see a finish this time, I think it will go the distance, but I’m going to put my bet on Leon. We all wanted him to win last time and he’s given us the belief he can do it again. Trust me, it was no fluke.”

Former lightweight UFC title challenger Justin Gaethje: “They’ve been in there for 39 minutes and Usman has dominated 37 of those minutes. He got taken down first round in the last fight for about two minutes, but outside that he is a dominant force and I expect the same thing out of him.”

Birmingham flyweight Jake Hadley: “Leon Edwards will come out with another KO victory, probably earlier this time around – round three.”

UFC welterweight and Edwards’ former opponent Gunnar Nelson: “I think Leon is going to win. I think Leon is going to look a lot better than last time. He had a great first round and then some tough rounds – and then an amazing finish, obviously. This time around he’s going to look a lot better. I didn’t think he looked like himself and I think we’re going to see a much better Leon Edwards.”

American welterweight Bryan Barberena: “I think it’s going to be very different to the [second fight], definitely a lot more competitive but I am leaning towards Usman coming out victorious.”

Middleweight Roman Dolidze: “Kamaru will win this fight. But this is MMA and one shot can change things – their last fight proved that.”

Scottish strawweight Joanne Wood: “I think it’s going to be a great fight, but I’m in Leon’s corner and I think he’s going to get the job done.”

Featherweight Lerone Murphy: “My prediction is a Leon Edwards finish in the third round.”

Middleweight Marvin Vettori: “I think Kamaru will do it again. He will get the belt back.”

Former Cage Warriors champion Christian Leroy Duncan: “I like Usman as a fighter – he is a great fighter. But I’m rooting for the home guy.”

Edwards’ team-mate Jai Herbert: “I feel like Leon is going to get another stoppage victory. I’ve been watching him in training and trained with him myself and he’s on form, looking incredible. I really do fancy him to go out there and stop Kamaru Usman again.”

UFC debutant Sam Patterson: “Leon gets the job done. I think it will be a great fight. I believe Leon is truly the best in the world.”

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