UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards Bonus Awards

UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards Bonus Awards

UFC/Boxing

UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards Bonus Awards

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via Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

As odd and confusing as UFC 278 was as a whole, one of the best fighters to ever grace an Octagon was finally beaten, a legend retired, and a huge change in the MMA world was made. The altitude of Salt Lake City largely affected the card, as fighters gassed out quickly, altering their performances largely. If it wasn’t for the last two fights of the night, this would be a forgettable card, but we’re going to be handing out awards for the fighters that did stand out regardless of the circumstances.

 

Fight Of The Night: Costa vs Rockhold

Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold put on an extremely interesting and rather unorthodox three round fight in the co-main slot of the evening. Although competition wise it could’ve been better, there were highlights in the 15 minute span that are timeless and unforgettable. As we learned after the fight, it was legend Luke Rockhold’s last time in the Octagon, and the UFC sent him out with a bonus. Rockhold did gas out almost instantly, taking a rest in the Octagon after the first round before going back to his corner. Somehow, he survived until the last horn, but showed his best effort and didn’t go down without a fight. Costa was able to get back into the win column after a two fight skid and surely is still in the mix for a title shot with a couple more wins. As Costa continues to gain his confidence back, we can see his hands begin to fly once again, and when they do, he’s one dangerous fighter. Overall, we as fans were entertained. 

 

Best Performance Of The Night: Leon Edwards

Leon Edwards made history as the first man to ever takedown, beat, and knockout Kamaru Usman in the UFC, as he dethroned the long reigning welterweight champion in show stopping fashion. After winning the first round, Edwards surely slowed down as he was quoted saying that his “body wasn’t responding,” most likely due to the location of the card. When all hope seemed lost, down 3-1 and on his way to losing a decision, Leon landed a perfectly timed head kick with one minute left that sent Usman to sleep. It was thrown off a jab feint by Edwards, in extremely similar fashion to Marlon Vera’s knockout of Dominick Cruz a week prior. In my book, Leon pulled off the greatest championship comeback UFC fans have ever seen, and booked himself a spot in the history books. Although Edwards’s performance wasn’t his best, knocking out the number one pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world surely gets you some credit. All hail King Leon. 

 

#2 Performance Of The Night: Tyson Pedro

When you’re as big a favorite as Australian Tyson Pedro was last Saturday, you’re expected to have a flawless performance. To sum it up, he did exactly that. It only took the BJJ and karate black belt 65 seconds to finish his opponent, sending Harry Hunsucker to the floor with a beautiful body kick. Pedro’s power was certainly noticed as he stung his usual heavyweight opponent with a jab, which was ultimately the first step in him getting a win. In real life, Pedro was snubbed from an extra 50K on his paycheck, which has gone unnoticed and doesn’t make much sense. Let’s just say that 205 has another dangerous young prospect to watch out for. 

 

#3 Performance Of The Night: Lucile Pudilova

After a two year absence from the UFC, Lucile Pudilova returned last Saturday for her second stint with the company. The improvements Pudilova made were on full display, as she handily beat Wu Yanan and showed fans everywhere that she’s back and better than ever. In a fight where the odds were extremely slim, Pudilova put no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was by far the better fighter. In a women’s bantamweight division that’s always looking for new contenders, the Czech fighter could continue to build herself up into an interesting fighter for the rest of the 135ers to put on their radar.

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