Quijano: UFC 286: Exciting rubber match

Quijano: UFC 286: Exciting rubber match

In a previous column, I referred to it as a thing of beauty — that perfectly timed high head kick unleashed by Leon Edwards which separated Kamaru Usman from his senses with the clock ticking down at the final round at UFC 278.

Before that, Usman had been winning the fight on the cards until Edwards decided he wanted a more dramatic ending.

Today, the rubber match is upon us at UFC 286. Who will prevail?

USMAN. In their first encounter Usman was victorious and appeared well on his way to repeat over Edwards for the first 24 minutes of the second fight when it happened.

Edwards faked the left kick as if it were directed at Usman’s midsection and as Usman dropped his right arm to defend, Edwards whipped the kick to Usman’s head and he dropped like he had been shot in the head.

That sequence right there demonstrates why anything can happen in a fight.

All it took was one mistake and “The Nigerian Nightmare” was out like a lamp.

All things considered, I still like Usman to win the rubber match. Overall, he just does things a little bit better, perhaps fractionally so, but at this elite level of competition, a marginal advantage in the smallest of details can translate to a lot when the action begins.

Sure, anything can happen in a fight, but the same can hold true for both fighters.

The thing going for Edwards today is his psychological advantage on account of that stunning knockout victory, but at the end of the day, my money will always be on who I believe is the superior fighter.

VERBATIM. “The first fight looked a lot like that second fight. So it’s almost like he forgot because that technique landed in and he has the belt now. It moves very very fast and people, you know, get amnesia very quickly.” - Kamaru Usman (www.essentiallysports.com)

LAST ROUND. It’s on the best writer in the family, my sis, Jeehan, who celebrates her birthday this week. Cheers!


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