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Usman humble in defeat to Edwards in UFC welterweight belt



Mixed Martial Arts – UFC 286 – The O2 Arena, London, Britain – March 18, 2023 Leon Edwards celebrates after defending his world welterweight title against Kamaru Usman Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman, 35, was humble in defeat, showing respect for the champion during his post fight interview after his encounter with Britain’s Leon Edwards early Sunday morning, Nigerian time.

Edwards emerged victorious after a gruelling five-round battle with Kamaru Usman to retain his welterweight title, scoring a majority decision win on the judges’ scorecards at UFC 286 on Saturday.

Edwards beat Usman in sensational fashion when the two met in Salt Lake City in August last year, knocking the Nigerian out with a spectacular fifth-round head kick to claim the title, but Usman was quickly granted a re-match.

This time, the fight was to be on home soil for Edwards, and London’s O2 Arena gave him a hero’s welcome as he entered the octagon.

The crowd chanted his “Rocky” nickname as he circled his opponent first round, picking his shots and landing heavy body kicks towards the end of the frame. Famed for his superb wrestling skills,

Usman got Edwards to the mat twice midway through the second round, but each time the Jamaican-born Briton managed to scramble back to his feet.


Usman had his opponent on the ground again early in the third round, and referee Herb Dean deducted a point from Edwards for grabbing the fence as he tried to get back up.

With the two fighters tiring, the fourth round turned into a cagey affair as Usman pressured and Edwards continued to attack the body with kicks, hoping to set up the same head kick finish that finished their previous encounter.

Edwards uncorked that exact kick twice early in the final round but this time Usman emerged unscathed.

Undeterred, Edwards continued mixing his body shots with some vicious uppercuts and brilliant defensive wrestling to ultimately thwart his opponent. In the co-main event, American Justin Gaethje scored a majority decision victory over fellow lightweight Rafael Fiziev of Kazakhstan after a thrilling three-round display of high-level striking from both men.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Adesanya loses UFC middleweight crown to underdog!



American Sean Strickland celebrates defeating Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya to claim the middleweight title by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 293 in Sydney, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image via AP)

Underdog Sean Strickland pulled off a stunning upset to defeat Israel Adesanya and claim the UFC middleweight title at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, winning by unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards after an enthralling five-round battle.

American Strickland taunted Adesanya in the closing seconds of the final frame, confident of victory after 25 minutes of stalking his opponent, defending brilliantly and using his boxing to force Adesanya to fight off the back foot.

Adesanya, who has ruled the roost as middleweight champ for most of the last four years, failed to find a way to break Strickland down and the 34-year-old Nigerian was caught several times by stiff jabs from Strickland that slowed him down.

“Oh my God, literally never in a million years did I thought I’d be here,” Strickland said in an interview in the cage after UFC president Dana White wrapped the championship belt around his waist.

After giving him a hostile reception on his way to the octagon and cheering for Adesanya, who grew up in neighbouring New Zealand, throughout, the crowd hailed the new champion for his gutsy performance.

“The majority of my friends he’s beaten pretty easily, so I was even kind of doubting myself, but I’ve gotta say to the fans, you guys motivated me,” Strickland said.

Strickland set the course for victory with a thunderous right hand at the end of the first round, almost securing a knockout, and though Adesanya managed to make it to the break, he never really got going again after that.

Known for his creative striking, the Nigerian-born Adesanya became increasingly desperate as the fight wore on and he won only one of the five rounds, with the three judges awarding the rest to Strickland on identical 49-46 scorecards.






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Another Nigerian battle in Australia as Israel Adesanya stakes middleweight title against Sean Strickland in Sydney



Adesanya defeated Alex Pereira in April to become a two-time UFC middleweight champion.

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight title against Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia on 10 September.

Adesanya, 34, last fought in April, beating long-term rival Alex Pereira to regain the belt he had lost five months earlier.

The Nigerian-born New Zealander was set to fight Dricus du Plessis next but the South African is injured.

American Strickland, 32, will be competing in his first UFC title fight.

He stepped up a division on short notice to beat Nassourdine Imavov in January before knocking out Abusupiyan Magomedov in July.

Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White has confirmed Conor McGregor’s next opponent will “definitely” be Michael Chandler.

Ireland’s McGregor tweeted last week calling for a bout with Justin Gaethje, who defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 291, casting doubt on the matchup with Chandler.

McGregor and Chandler have been opposing coaches on the UFC’s reality television series, The Ultimate Fighter, this year.

“I talked to Conor, either yesterday or the day before, and yeah, he’s ready to fight,” said White.

“Listen, get in shape and let’s figure this out.

“[It’s] definitely Chandler. Conor likes to [mess] with everybody – especially his opponent, or possible opponents.”




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Canadian rapper, Drake recovers millions he lost in Barca bet with perfect forecast on Nigerian fighter, Adesanya



Canadian  award-winning rapper, Aubrey Drake Graham has won at least $1.8m betting on Nigerian UFC fighter Israel Adesanya to beat Alex Pereira in a middleweight title clash.

Drake placed a $400K bet on Adesanya to knock out the Brazilian. That was exactly what happened as the Lagos-born fighter shook off the pressure of losing thrice in a row to the same opponent to knock him out.

Recall that in October last year, Drake lost $800K betting on Barcelona to beat Real Madrid. The bet was a loser as Real Madrid won that game 3-1.

Drake disclosed his massive winnings on Instagram

In December, Drake again bet $1m on Argentina to beat France and win the World Cup. But he lost the bet as the game ended in a draw before going to extra time and then penalties.


With his winning on Adesanya, one can say Drake has recovered the millions he’s lost so far betting on Barca and Argentina. The question is will he ever stop?

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