In the main event of UFC Singapore, the young, up and coming Leon Edwards captured the early rounds then hung on against UFC staple Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Leon Edwards had two firsts in his career Saturday night: the first main event of his career, plus he got Donald Cerrone angry for the first time in years. Edwards talking trash has gotten the normally laid back Cowboy angry, and fired up for their main event contest in Singapore. That’s a daunting prospect. Edwards had won five fights in a row and with only two losses in the UFC, to Kamaru Usman and to Claudio Silva in his debut.
Cowboy, on the other hand, was coming off a main event win over Yancy Medeiros in February. Having fought at lightweight for years, Cowboy moved up to welterweight roughly two years ago and looked to be an immediate contender, winning his first four fights at 170lbs. However he fell upon hard times, losing three in a row, until rebounding in February and getting back on the winning track against Medeiros.
The UFC Singapore main event got active immediately as both men opened landing kicks. Cerrone landed a nice leg kick to start the fight and Leon landed a kick to the body that could’ve hurt Cowboy as he started to clinch. As they broke the clinch, Edwards landed a slicing elbow that opened a cut above Cowboy’s eye. Cowboy looked for a spinning attack that couldn’t land; Leon kept getting the clinch and landing elbows and knees over and over. Leon landed a big right head kick that Cowboy just ate. Cowboy frankly ate a lot of shots to start the fight, but kept moving forward throughout.
As the bout went on, Cowboy was there in the face of Leon and was landing some, but it just seemed like Leon was connecting with much harder shots. The main event slot didn’t really seem to effect him either, as Edwards seemed calm as he looked for elbows and tried to land shots on the cut still bleeding profusely on Cerrone. Leon landed to the body with kicks; Cowboy also looked for shots to the body but didn’t have nearly as much behind them. Leon complained to the referee at one point about Cowboy grabbing his glove as he ate a giant head kick. A replay would show that yes, Cerrone had grabbed the glove as he launched the kick. The ref, however, didn’t see it.
Cowboy seemed to get more comfortable as the fight wore on, landing a flurry to start the third round. Cowboy landed an uppercut through the guard as he looked to keep the pressure going. The American next shot for a takedown that was stuffed, while Britain’s Edwards landed an elbow square on the cut on the side of Cowboy’s head. As if the blood didn’t give it away, this was a very violent bout.
Cowboy’s corner said between rounds that this was where they wanted the fight to go, deep waters, late rounds. Cerrone appeared very comfortable and moved forward again. Edwards continued to land effective elbows and kicks to Cowboy. Cowboy at one point landed a takedown but Edwards got back up. Cowboy later just threw Edwards down, clearly frustrated. Both fighters landed some significant strikes in the fourth.
The fifth round started with both Edwards and Cerrone playing to the crowd. Cowboy went for the glove touch with Edwards and it was returned; they won’t be friends after this fight but they appear to have won each other’s respect. The fifth round was another competitive round, as Leon continued to land kicks and Cowboy looked for a takedown. He scored that later in the frame, which possibly earned him the round on the scorecards. The round ended with both fighters pointing to the canvas and throwing fists. What a fight!
In the end, Leon Edwards earned the decision win on points, and called for a fight with Jorge Masvidal after the bout.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) June 23, 2018
Leon Edwards def. Donald Cerrrone by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)