The UFC is in the UK this weekend with UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards hoping to make a successful first title defence, while standing on home soil. His challenger will be the man he took the belt from, Kamaru Usman.
This is a trilogy fight for Edwards and Usman. They met each other at the outset of their Octagon careers, with Usman getting the best of ‘Rocky’ on that occasion. Edwards hasn’t lost since then.
The co-main event for this one is guaranteed to entertain with Justin Gaethje facing Rafael Fiziev in the lightweight division. The PPV also has an important middleweight clash between Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze. Popular Icelander Gunnar Nelson is also on the main card, taking on ultimate spoiler Bryan Barbarena. Rounding out the main card is Scotland’s Case O’Neill versus former title challenger Jennifer Maia.
The prelims are headlined by Jack Shore vs. Makwan Amirkhani. This and the early prelims are mostly showcase fights for British up and coming talent. The most highly regarded of those British prospects is the undefeated Mohammad Mokaev, who meets Jafel Filho.
Before these fights happen, though, everyone’s got to weigh in. And Edwards and Usman will need to be careful to make sure they don’t weigh a single pound over 170 (lest their hopes for the title be dashed).
The official weigh-ins are due to happen at 4:45 a.m ET. You can watch those right here:
Usman and Edwards have both made weight, making their title fight official:
Champion Leon Edwards comes in at 170 pounds for his welterweight title defense at #UFC286 ⚖️ pic.twitter.com/baJmuiEBIM— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) March 17, 2023
Kamaru Usman comes in at 170 pounds for his trilogy fight against Leon Edwards ⚖️ #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/eo6VfhaDW5— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) March 17, 2023
The ceremonial weigh-ins happen at 2 p.m. ET.
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 5 p.m. ET)
Leon Edwards (170) vs. Kamaru Usman (170)
Justin Gaethje (156) vs. Rafael Fiziev (156)
Gunnar Nelson (170) vs. Bryan Barberena (171)
Jennifer Maia (126) vs. Casey O’Neill (125)
Marvin Vettori (185.5) vs. Roman Dolidze (186)
Preliminary Card (ESPNews / ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET)
Jack Shore (146) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (146)
Chris Duncan (156) vs. Omar Morales (156)
Sam Patterson (155.5) vs. Yanal Ashmoz (155)
Muhammad Mokaev (126) vs. Jafel Filho (125.5)
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass at 1 p.m. ET)
Lerone Murphy (145.5) vs. Gabriel Santos (145.5)
Christian Leroy Duncan (185.5) vs. Dusko Todorovic (186)
Malcolm Gordon (129.5)* vs. Jake Hadley (126)
Joanne Wood (126) vs. Luana Carolina (126)
Jai Herbert (156) vs. Ludovit Klein (156)
Juliana Miller (125.5) vs. Veronica Hardy (125.5)
Main event back up: Colby Covington (170)
*Gordon missed weight, forfeits 30 percent of his purse
About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)
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