Nigeria Kamaru Usman and British fighter Leon Edwards will fight for the third time in their careers on March 18 in London and this rubber match will be for all the marbles.
Edwards will make the first defense of his welterweight title against the long-time former champion Usman in the main event of UFC 286, UFC president Dana White confirmed Saturday.
White said the co-main event will be a lightweight bout between Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev.
Usman and Edwards have met twice previously. Usman won their first meeting on Dec. 19, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, capturing a unanimous decision victory. The rematch came for the title at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Aug. 20.
Usman was on a 15-fight winning streak and seemingly in control of the bout.
He was dancing to stay away from Edwards in the final moments when he got kicked in the head and was knocked out.
Edwards, whose corner went chaotic after the fourth round urging him to be aggressive and go for the knockout, raised his arms and walked away, confident he’d won the title.
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The winner of the rubber match will leave the Octagon with the title and, secondarily, the 2-1 series advantage.
The co-main event figures to be a highlight-reel affair. Gaethje has long been one of the sport’s best action fighters, and he’s won Fight of the Night six times in his 10 UFC bouts.
He’ll face a stern test in the 12-1 Fiziev, who is coming off a dominant performance over Rafael dos Anjos. Fiziev lost his UFC debut and has subsequently won six consecutive bouts.