The Ultimate Fighting Championship has added two massive fights to the UFC 286 card, including a championship trilogy bout between UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards (20-3) and former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (20-2).
Co-headlining the event is a lightweight bout between a pair of contenders in no. 3 ranked former interim champion Justin Gaethje (23-4) and no. 6 ranked former kickboxing champion Rafael Fiziev (12-1).
UFC 286 is to go down on March 18, 2023, live from the o2 Arena in London, England, the new champions home country.
The UFC has been trying to book this third fight between Edwards and Usman for a couple months now, but a hand injury has kept the former champion from accepting the fight until now.
Their first fight showcased Usman dominating Edwards all three rounds with his wrestling en route to a unanimous decision victory, and it appeared the second fight was going to end the same way. After a tough round one, Usman absolutely mauled Edwards in the second, third, and fourth, as well as most of the fifth up until he ate a vicious head kick that stopped him dead in his tracks with just under a minute left in the fight.
Usman now looks to reclaim his throne and continue his dominance as a two-time welterweight champion.
Then we have Justin Gaethje, who will also be aiming to get back to his winning ways with a victory at UFC 286 over a dangerous striker in Rafael Fiziev.
Gaethje is coming off his title shot defeat against former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, a fight he nearly won, but ultimately was submitted in. He won’t have to worry about that with Fiziev though, who’s 39-8 in professional kickboxing with wins in his last six-straight fights.
Eight of Fiziev’s 12 wins in MMA competition have come via knockout, including three of his last four over the likes of Renato Moicano (KO), fellow kickboxing champion Brad Riddell (KO), and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (KO).
Gaethje too is a knockout artist, boasting 19 knockouts in his total 24 wins. That’s twice as many wins as Fiziev, and each have just four non-knockout wins on their respective resumes. Gaethje has some of the heaviest hands in the division, and he has some of the very best, most devastating leg kicks in the entire sport.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.