For the first time since July of 2020, Leon Edwards will compete inside the UFC octagon. The 29-year-old is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak despite having four separate fights booked and cancelled since his last appearance. His initial booking against Tyron Woodley, which was supposed to take place last march, was cancelled due to COVID-19. Since then, Edwards stepped up and volunteered to take a big risk and fight an unranked but very dangerous prospect in Khamazt Chimaev. Unfortunately, Chimaev contracted COVID-19 and is still managing symptoms months later, causing three different bookings of that fight to fall through.
The most recent of the Edwards-Chimaev bookings was set to headline UFC Vegas 21 on March 13th. Given his extended layoff from competition, Edwards is very eager to get back in there and decided to keep the March 13th date against anyone who was willing to accept.
Not long after Chimaev stepped out for a third time, it was announced that the 3rd ranked Leon Edwards would be dropping all the way down and fighting the 13th ranked Belal Muhammad. Muhammad fought exactly one month before this fight is scheduled, picking up a unanimous decision win against Dheigo Lima at UFC 258 on Febuary 13th. Muhammad looked great in that fight, pushing a ferocious pace and displaying relentless grappling. He did, however, absorb a high number of damaging calf kicks, which could play a role in the Edwards fight.
The fight itself is an interesting stylistic matchup. Both men are well rounded competitors, but Muhammad tends to look for a takedown while Edwards generally seems content in a striking match. Both men possess an impressive 18-3 professional record, and the matchup has serious implications for the entire Welterweight division.
In a recent interview with Caroline Pearce, Dana White said that Leon Edwards would “100%” be the next title contender at 170 pounds if he wins impressively against Muhammad.
This pivotal Welterweight bout is shaping up to be a great one.
The rest of the main card is as follows:
Misha Cirkunov vs. Ryan Spann (LHW)
Dan Ige vs. Gavin Tucker (FW)
Jonathan Martinez vs. Davey Grant (BW)
Manel Kape vs. Matheus Nicolau (FLW)
Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart (MW)