Leon Edwards reacts to ‘cheating’ claims after win against Kamaru Usman

Leon Edwards has denied claims that he cheated in his victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, where he retained the welterweight title.

Edwards won a majority decision against Usman in London last week, seven months after taking the title from the Nigerian-American with a late knockout.

In the third round of the UFC 286 main event, Edwards was docked a point for grabbing the fence while standing after an Usman takedown. The Jamaican-born Briton was also warned by referee Herb Dean for holding Usman’s glove and allegedly landing two kicks to the groin. Those incidents led some fans to accuse of Edwards of cheating, but the 31-year-old has denied that he committed any fouls intentionally.

He told The MMA Hour this week: “I was throwing body kicks because I’m southpaw, [Usman is] orthodox. As I’m throwing the kicks, he’s kind of stepping forward. He says some caught him in his b***s, some caught him here and there.

“The first grab, I watched it back, I’ve seen that part. That was a fence grab. I didn’t feel it was enough to take a point away straight away, without [Dean] saying like, ‘Final warning, don’t do it again,’ or a stern warning and then take the point away.

“I think that made me a little bit more aggressive to finish the round off and just think, ‘Okay, I need to do more because now I’m down a point.’”

The docked point was enough to cost Edwards a win on one judge’s scorecard, which read 47-47, but the two remaining cards read 48-46 to the champion, who claimed a majority decision.

The UFC 286 main event marked the third clash between Edwards and Usman, 35, who outpointed “Rocky” in 2015.

Usman later won the welterweight title and successfully defended it five times, before losing the belt to Edwards via knockout in the final minute of their rematch last August.

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