Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad had an anticlimactic ending, with Edwards poking Muhammad in the eye in the second round, ending the main event of UFC Vegas 21.
Belal Muhammad waited a long time to get a shot at the upper echelon of the UFC’s welterweight division. UFC Vegas 21 opponent Leon Edwards, frankly, waited a long time just to fight again.
Edwards had last competed in July 2019, forced out of numerous bouts since due to illness and circumstance. From the cancellation of UFC London last year to a bout with COVID-19, Edwards’ path back to the cage had been rocky to say the least.
Things were a little smoother for Muhammad at least. But on Saturday, he was rolling the dice on short notice in the biggest fight of his career.
The first strike of the fight was unfortunately an illegal one, with Muhammad kicking Edwards below the belt. It was a quick pause, and Muhammad was landing shots legally when they resumed. Edwards put a temporary end to that with a clinch, but Muhammad broke away and landed a strong right straight followed by another. Edwards landed his best shot soon after, hitting Muhammad with a head kick that had him on wobbly legs. Edwards pushed forward, firing more punches, but Muhammad’s defense held strong. It was Muhammad who initiated a clinch to slow Edwards down this time. When they broke away, Muhammad landed a strong body kick, but was then poked in the eye causing a second temporary stoppage. Muhammad landed a few strong jabs, but Edwards was able to answer with a big one-two. A competitive round one ended shortly after.
Not even 15 seconds into the second round, Edwards went for a body kick and poked Muhammad in the eye. Muhammad fell to the ground and was immediately yelling in pain. The doctor came in and checked on Muhammad, whose right eye was swollen and bleeding slightly due to the poke, and made the decision to stop the fight. An unfortunate end to what was developing into an excellent fight.
Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad Ends in No Contest (Accidental Eye Poke) in Round 2 (0:18)