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British UFC heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall believes Kamaru Usman may not have fully recovered from being knocked out by Leon Edwards. Usman was rendered completely unconscious by a sweeping head kick from his rival seven months ago and Aspinall thinks the turnaround is too quick for his brain.
Coming into the fifth and final round of their UFC 278 headliner, Usman was well ahead on the scorecards. The Nigerian Nightmare was racking up the control time on the ground and outworking Edwards on the feet.
But a left-hand feint followed by a high kick from Edwards shut out the lights in Salt Lake City. The stoppage topped most publications’ knock-out-of-the-year lists for 2022 and has been replayed over and over by television stations across the world.
Although spectacular, the effect of the shot will no doubt cause Usman problems later down the line and potentially even short term. Many are unable to recover physically and mentally from such a devastating finish and Aspinall has raised his doubts over what effect it may have on the former welterweight champion as he prepares to face Edwards again this weekend.
When asked to pick a winner for the UFC 286 feature attraction, Aspinall told BestGamblingSites: “I’m backing the Brit but it’s a tough task because he was losing the fight before he pulled out the KO.
“Although it was very interesting what Leon said about the altitude in Salt Lake because he dominated the first round then slowed down a little bit. So, if the altitude was a factor in Leon’s performance, we could see a complete domination from him this time. Also, the other thing I’m concerned about with Usman is, the fight wasn’t that long ago.
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“That was a big shock to the brain, he was asleep for a long time. He was out, ice cold, on the floor. Surely that can happen again. Also, mentally, the last time they fought, Usman woke up looking at the lights with doctors around him.
“It wasn’t even that long ago. It’s not like he’s gone and got his confidence back with some big wins. But on the flip side we are talking about one of the greatest guys to do it, so it may not affect him too much.”
The pair throw down for a third time on Saturday night at the O2 Arena, London. In their inaugural encounter all the way back in 2015, Usman beat Edwards via unanimous decision over three rounds.
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