Morning Report: Islam Makhachev says Kamaru Usman ‘100 percent’ defeats ‘lucky’ Leon Edwards in trilogy

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Islam Makhachev doesn’t see Leon Edwards having a lengthy title run.

England’s newest titleholder is enjoying the spoils of being champion after one of the wildest victories in MMA history at UFC 278 two weekends ago. Defeating Kamaru Usman via a fifth-round head kick knockout in their rematch, Edwards became a superstar overnight with an all-time great comeback.

However, because of the fight playing out the way it did before its epic final moment, Edwards still has plenty to prove, believes one of the two upcoming lightweight title challengers Makhachev.

“Edwards [got] lucky because he (Usman) beat him all five rounds, almost,” Makhachev told ESPN. “First round, he (Edwards) take him down, take his back, but other rounds he (Usman) beat him very easy, take him down many times and smashed him there. When they’re going to fight again in rematch, 100 percent I think Kamaru is going to beat him … Edwards have same problem, always with wrestling guys.”

For the majority of the fight, Usman’s pressure style on the feet and consistently effective wrestling against the cage stifled “Rocky,” leading to 39-37 scorecards from all three judges going into round five. The performance was vintage Usman and one that looked to be heading toward the same outcome as their original Dec. 2015 encounter.

According to UFC President Dana White, the potential trilogy bout is already being worked on despite the rematch’s freshness. In a perfect world for the boss — as well as the competitors who have already discussed the option — the tiebreaker would take place on Edwards’ turf in England. It’s just a matter of where the event could be held after a fight of such magnitude seems to be too big for the O2 Arena, which has hosted the previous two UFC London shows in 2022.

As arguably the best wrestler in his 155-pound weight class, Makhachev is also supremely confident in the outcome of his next appearance. Taking on Charles Oliveira in UFC 280’s main event for the vacant title on Oct. 22, Makhachev expects the action to be exhilarating every time the two connect.

“If Charles gonna come to Abu Dhabi in very good shape, it’s gonna be like irons touch together, sparks, you know?” Makhachev said. “When I touch Charles it’s going to be always sparks — if he come in very good shape.

“I’m gonna dominate him or it’s gonna be not an easy fight because this guy champion, this guy have good skills. Grappling skills, striking skills, it’s going to be very good fight. I’m ready for — doesn’t matter how many rounds it’s gonna be, where it’s gonna be — striking or grappling or wrestling match. I’m gonna be ready everywhere. This is my goal, this is my dream. That’s why I’m gonna train so hard and I’m gonna come to Abu Dhabi in very good shape.”

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VIDEO STEW

Marvin’s corner.

UFC Journey.

LISTEN UP

Fighter vs. Writer. MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Cory Sandhagen and Stevie Ray.

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses if the UFC lost in the Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren trade.

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Interesting development.

Can @PFLMMA get me in the cage before 2023 is over? I’m with it

— HASIM RAHMAN JR (@_HasimRahmanJr) August 30, 2022

When in Paris…

Cafe time.

Love.

Bisping meets Ford.

Rolex.

I say let’s do it.

It’s the only thing that I would come out of retirement for https://t.co/eby1bNAy45

— Funky (@Benaskren) August 30, 2022

Indeed.

Alex Pereira is massive pic.twitter.com/E0wYebnrDv

— MMA mania (@mmamania) August 30, 2022

Two years already? Damn.

Happy 2 year anniversary Summer! pic.twitter.com/VtSFepmKLv

— danawhite (@danawhite) August 30, 2022

PSA…

El duo is in Paris

Semen retention is important fight week kids, don’t do like me. #RawingLife pic.twitter.com/tmwVeydEG0

— CharlesAirJourdain (@JourdainAir) August 30, 2022

Typical Rick.

Decided to run 30 miles tomorrow for my 30th. Send songs for my playlist

— Ricky Simón (@RickySimonUFC) August 31, 2022

Fancy commentary.

This is getting out of hand.

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5) vs. Yuto “Kintaro” Hokamura (14-11-2); RIZIN 38, Sept. 25

Kyohei Hagiwara (6-6) vs. Chihiro Suzuki (7-3); RIZIN 38, Sept. 25

Juri Ohara (31-17-3, 1 NC) vs. Luiz Gustavo (11-2); RIZIN 38, Sept. 25

Darren Elkins (28-10) vs. Jonathan Pearce (13-4); UFC Orlando, Dec. 3

Alex Perez (24-7) vs. Amir Albazi (15-1); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 17

FINAL THOUGHTS

Ben and Jorge have both lost three fights in a row. I’m dead serious, run it back.

Thanks for reading!

EXIT POLL

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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