In the headlining fight of UFC Singapore, the UK’s Leon Edwards finally proved that he is worthy of being discussed among the upper echelon of fighters in the UFC’s welterweight shark tank. To do this, the 13th ranked fighter outstruck — and largely outclassed — the 11th ranked Donald Cerrone.
Edwards went into the fight saying he needed to finish Cowboy impressively, like his English rival Darren Till did in Poland, but this night (or early morning) he couldn’t find the strikes he needed to put the veteran away.
What was the high point of the fight?
The opening moments of the first round really set the tone for the entire contest. Edwards took the centre of the cage like he owned it and quickly threw a vicious kick towards Cerrone’s liver. It landed and looked like it hurt, but it didn’t crumple Cowboy like we’ve seen in the past. Off that kick Edwards bullied Cerrone to the fence. There they clinched (like they would throughout this contest) and Edwards landed a knee that sliced open a cut along Cerrone’s brow. On the break Edwards landed a lightning fast left elbow strike that stunned Cerrone, which was a sign of what would come.
Edwards repeated this tactic again and again in the fight. Sometimes he caught Cerrone with the elbow as they separated against the cage and other times he did it while they clinched in the centre of the Octagon. Cerrone had no answers for it and just didn’t seem quick or sharp enough to see it coming. The damage that caused, and the confidence it gave Edwards, likely helped a great deal when it came down to the judges’ scorecards.
Where do these two go from here?
Edwards will almost certainly improve in the rankings off of this decision. He’ll probably climb up to 11th, taking Cowboy’s spot. When speaking to former welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy, Edwards was concise in calling out 9th ranked Jorge Masvidal. That fight makes a ton of sense based on the rankings and more than likely it will produce an entertaining spectacle. After Edwards’ last fight he called out Darren Till, and that didn’t go anywhere, but now with a win over a ‘big name’ there’s a better chance that he gets what he asks for.
As far Cerrone, that’s his fourth loss in five fights. He was by no means embarrassed by Edwards, nor did he get especially hurt. However, the lopsided defeat likely means that Cowboy’s days of testing himself against the best of the division are over. Expect to see him faced up against similarly tenured fighters in the future or more up-and-comers who want to build a name off of his downfall. But no matter the match-ups, there’s still a good chance the veteran will deliver fun fights for some time to come.
Watch it now, later, or never?
It wasn’t a barn-burner, but it also wasn’t immediately forgettable. Check it out later; it’s on UFC Fight Pass right now.
Here are some highlights in the meantime: