Rafael Dos Anjos vs Leon Edwards Preview
In a sport like mixed martial arts, it’s just as important to captivate the public outside as well as inside the octagon.
It’s often the case that the fighters who are the most charismatic end up receiving the hardest promotional push from the UFC. Unfortunately, that means that there are some sublime talents who sometimes never gain the credit their ability deserves.
One man who suffers from just this is the United Kingdom’s Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards. Tonight, at the AT and T centre in San Antonio, Texas he looks to finally propel himself towards a world title shot when he takes on former lightweight world champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
Edwards was born in Kingston, Jamaica to very humble beginnings. He lived with his parents and brother Leon (a fellow mixed martial artist) in a one room house where they all slept in the same bed. His Father was a local hard man which offered Edwards some protection in what could’ve been a very dangerous childhood.
However, this didn’t prevent him witnessing countless shootings amongst other criminal activity and this may well be what toughened him up enough to allow him to make that octagon walk.
At nine years old he moved to England in an area of Birmingham called Aston. Despite the move Edward’s environment was still extremely dangerous as gang crime was rife in the area.
At just fourteen he lost his Father, who was shot outside a nightclub in London. His life began to spiral out of control; he was involved with the gangs and was arrested for fighting and possession of a knife. His street fighting antics earned him the alias ‘Rocky’.
When he was seventeen, he walked into an MMA gym for the first time and displayed a natural talent, which completely turned his life around. He found discipline and spent all his time in the gym. Nine professional fights later he signed for the UFC.
He lost his debut in the promotion and two fights later also dropped a decision to current champion Kamaru Usman. Since then he has performed to a tremendous standard. After five back to back wins, he was given the chance to headline a bill in Singapore against one of the most popular fighters on the planet, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
After an eye-catching points victory, he started campaigning to main event UFC London against Darren Till. Unfortunately for Edwards this wasn’t to be, but he did get to perform in the co-main event against Gunnar Nelson.
Once again Edwards won on points in one of his best performances, but unfortunately it looked like a big fight wasn’t coming anytime soon. Jorge Masvidal defeated Till via stunning knockout and back stage he collided with Edwards in a street fight which could’ve served as the perfect marketing tool for a battle between the two. But once again it looked like Edwards would be left in the dark as Ben Askren was awarded the bout.
Edwards was ranked twelfth in the welterweight rankings despite his form, but that could all change this Saturday although it could be a big ask against fourth ranked Rafael Dos Anjos.
The former lightweight champion has had a mixed run since his move up to welterweight. After three straight wins culminating in a terrific win against Robbie Lawler, he was closing in on the opportunity to become a two-weight champion.
His next bout was scheduled against Colby Covington for the interim world title, but it didn’t go well as he lost a comprehensive decision, as was the case in his next fight against Usman.
It looked like age may have caught up with the Brazilian, but in his most recent against Kevin Lee he produced an impressive triangle to prove that he may well have one last burst towards the strap.
In a cracking main event, one man looks to prove once and for all that he deserves his place right at the top of the pecking order, whereas the other is desperate for one last attempt at gold. This fight can’t fail to disappoint.