MMA: Leon Edwards proves he's not all hot air at UFC Singapore by overcoming 'Cowboy' via unanimous decision

UFC Mixed Martial Arts fighters Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (left) and Leon "Rocky" Edwards face-off during a press conference ahead of UFC Fight Night in Singapore, on April 25, 2018.
UFC Mixed Martial Arts fighters Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (left) and Leon "Rocky" Edwards face-off during a press conference ahead of UFC Fight Night in Singapore, on April 25, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - For weeks, he taunted his opponent by calling him old and slow.

But up-and-coming British fighter Leon Edwards backed up his talk when he posted a unanimous decision win over mixed martial arts legend Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at the Fight Night Singapore event at the Indoor Stadium on Saturday night (June 23).

Backed by most of the 6,400-strong crowd, Cerrone, 35, was clearly the fan favourite as he searched for a record 21st UFC win.

But he found Edwards a wily customer and could not inflict significant damage on the 25-year-old Englishman.

Edwards drew blood from his illustrious opponent early in the first round after he caught him with a low kick to the temple, and showed excellent fight management over the five rounds to earn the decision win.

In the co-main event, American Ovince Saint Preux, 35, weathered an early storm brought by Australian upstart Tyson Pedro, 26, to post a first-round submission win with an armbar less than three minutes into the five-minute round.

Saint Preux now has 11 wins in UFC's light heavyweight division, the fifth highest. Jon Jones is No. 1 with 16.

American Jessica Eye got the nod of all the judges in beating Australia's Jessica-Rose Clark.

China's Li Jingliang also beat Japan's Daichi Abe via unanimous decision in their three-round fight on the main card, capping a successful fight for Chinese fighters.

Three other Chinese fighters featured in preliminary fights - Yan Xiaonan, Song Kenan and Song Yadong - and all won their fights.

An impressive first-round TKO win by Russian UFC debutant Petr Yan over Japan's Teruto Ishihara was the highlight of the preliminary card, which featured nine bouts.

Performance bonuses of US$50,000 (S$68,000) went to Saint Preux and China's Song Yadong, while New Zealander Shane Young's TKO win over Filipino Rolando Dy was named Fight of the Night.