UFC Singapore’s headline bout featured a UFC veteran (and potential Hall of Famer) looking to remain relevant versus a streaking welterweight looking to make his name and find a place in the upper echelons on the division.
The Jamaica-born Englishman Leon Edwards came into the fight riding a five-fight win streak which includes wins over Vicente Luque and Bryan Barberena. He wanted a chance to fight a big name and he got it this night opposite Cowboy Donald Cerrone.
With well over 40 fights to his name Cerrone came into UFC Singapore looking for consistency. He won last time out in a thrilling contest with Yancy Medeiros, but before that he lost three in a row (albeit to Darren Till, Robbie Lawler, and Jorge Masvidal). Cerrone didn’t think Edwards was on his level. Edwards said Cerrone was ‘past his sell-by date’.
Based on tonight’s result it appears Edwards’ comments were closer to the truth.
Leon Edwards defeats Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47): Welterweight
Edwards took the centre of the cage immediately in the first round. He threw a body kick that landed and seemed to give Cerrone some trouble (not as much as we’ve seen in the past, though). A few punches later and Edwards had Cerrone up against the fence. There Rocky threw some knees and uppercuts. On a separation Edwards cracked Cerrone with an elbow. Cerrone tried to fire back, but he only found air. With Cerrone bloodied, Edwards calmly clinched up and fired hard knees into Cowboy’s guts and again struck on the separation. With a lot of good work already done, Edwards slowed down a little to end the round, but still landed heavy kicks to Cerrone’s legs.
Edwards took the centre again in the second round, with a wide stance and very relaxed demeanour. At range he fired in kicks and punches that landed with loud snaps against Cerrone’s ribs and legs. Cowboy was still alert, though. He managed to force Edwards up against the fence, but didn’t cause damage there. When the clinch separated, Edwards again landed an elbow to Cerrone’s left eyebrow, which at this point was leaking blood. Cowboy did manage to land a right hand and a good side kick to Edwards’ midsection, but Edwards shrugged it all off and continued to hunt with his elbow. At the end of the round, Cerrone caught Edwards with a high kick while separating from a clinch. At the time Cerrone had a hold of Edwards’ glove, which Edwards complained about after the bell rang.
In the third, Edwards landed early with a flurry. But Cerrone responded, partially catching Edwards. Cerrone, looking more confident, began coming forwards and landed on Edwards with a lead uppercut. Edwards looked to regain momentum, by stepping in with punches, but Cerrone clinched up the Brit and forced him back to the cage. Edwards was able to shrug that off and bring the action back to the middle of the Octagon. Edwards looked a little stalled in the later stages of the round, with Cerrone initiating clinches and diving in on unsuccessful takedown attempts. With 30 seconds left Edwards dropped his hands and invited Cerrone onto him. Cowboy obliged, but was met with a lightning quick counter-punch to end the round.
Round four began tentative. Cerrone was the first to commit, with a kick attempt, but he slipped and fell. Edwards wasn’t able to take advantage and the pair resumed their stand-up battle with both throwing leg kicks. Cerrone took Edwards into the fence again, but wasn’t able to keep him there. Off a feint, Edwards threw a quick head kick that Cerrone walked through. Edwards then landed a one-two, but Cerrone didn’t look fazed. Rocky then scored with another body kick. Cerrone closed the distance, ate a punch for his trouble, and pushed Edwards back against the fence. Cowboy was able to drag Edwards to the ground, but not keep him there. On the break Edwards landed yet another elbow to Cerrone’s head. Edwards then threw a high kick, which Cerrone caught. Cowboy tried to throw Edwards from that position, but Rocky was able to land on his feet and step back to centre to finish up the round.
Both men looked fresh entering the fifth and final round. Edwards appeared a little lighter on his feet, circling away from Cerrone, and delivering teeps to his lead leg. Cerrone attacked with leg kicks of his own, but the pace of the fight had dropped off considerably compared to the previous rounds. Cerrone locked up Edwards when he got a chance and drove him back to the fence. He swayed and eventually got Edwards down. In half-guard Cerrone threw a few punches, but Edwards was able to slither to his feet. With a minute left Edwards walked down Cerrone, but didn’t pull the trigger on anything that could have potentially ended the fight.
Edwards and Cerrone traded in the last few seconds of the fight. The bell rang and the two fighters embraced, seemingly squashing any beef they had prior to the contest. The judges all saw the fight in favour of Edwards, who then called out Jorge Masvidal.
Edwards landed early and often in the first:
Busy round for @Leon_EdwardsMMA#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/jtutQ8FLno— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 23, 2018
In round two Edwards found success in the clinch:
SHOWING UP!@Leon_EdwardsMMA is showing his control in round two. #UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/wLpoNi2NKq— UFC (@ufc) June 23, 2018
Cerrone caught Edwards, but was this a foul?:
WOAH! @CowboyCerrone #UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/PbXwSBwExC— UFC (@ufc) June 23, 2018
Cowboy turned it up in the third:
@CowboyCerrone upping the volume#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/iSnjuEl95M— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 23, 2018
These elbows were the story of the fight:
Another breaking by @Leon_EdwardsMMA#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/xdesBocyef— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 23, 2018
Cerrone finally got his takedown in the final round:
The late takedown by @CowboyCerrone#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/4ECUpdfHF1— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 23, 2018
Not quite Halloway vs. Lamas, but Cerrone tried:
Very @BlessedMMA-eque#UFCSingapore pic.twitter.com/awVjQsoetL— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) June 23, 2018