There were so many upsets throughout the year, but what was arguably the most shocking was Leon Edwards knocking out former pound-for-pound No. 1 Kamaru Usman at UFC 278.
The Nigerian Nightmare had been unstoppable until that point as he was last defeated back in 2013. Usman was a huge favorite going into the fight with bookmakers reluctant to put money on his opponent on the night, ‘Rocky’ Edwards.
Usman’s first appearance as an official UFC contract holder also came against Rocky back in December 2015. Usman dominated that fight and was tipped to do the same again at UFC 278. But Edwards had other ideas stored for him.
The fight started slowly with both fighters eager to get a feel of each other and the occasion. Edwards showed more intent and was awarded the first round. But after that, it was all Usman who picked his shots at will.
The middle three rounds all went to Usman who was showing why he is known as the pound-for-pound king.
Edwards knew his quest for becoming champion might not be fulfilled today. But the tie changed dramatically when Rocky landed a thumping left kick at Usman’s right temple.
It’s still my favorite KO this year!
Kamaru Usman-Leon Edwards pic.twitter.com/jJCwZuxdpq
— VandalSport (@VandalSportUFC) December 19, 2022
Down went Usman.
Edwards dethroned the Nigerian Nightmare to become the new welterweight champ of the world.