The UFC welterweight division is loaded with talent and only became more so with the addition of former Bellator and ONE champion Ben Askren. The top 10 features fighters that anyone could make a case for deserving a shot at Kamaru Usman’s title.
Two guys that have been in or close to the top 10 in the division face off at UFC Fight Night 147 / UFC on ESPN+ 5 this Saturday in the co-main event. 27 year old Leon Edwards (16-3) from Kingston, Jamaica is currently ranked 10th in the welterweight division. His opponent is 30 year old Gunnar Nelson (17-3-1) from Akureyri, Iceland, who is ranked as #13 in the division.
Edwards made his debut with the promotion on November 8, 2014 with a loss to Claudio Silva via split decision. His UFC record is 8-2 and is curently boasting a 6 fight winning streak having defeated Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on June 23, 2018 at UFC Fight Night. He was able to beat the veteran via unanimous decision. He is also a former BAMMA RDX Welterweight Champion.
Leon is 6’2” but has a deceptively long reach that he uses to his advantage. His fast and lengthy kicks can often catch his opponents off guard and he can use his deceptively lengthy body to move quickly from an opponent’s strikes or draw them in for a clutch. He has a solid ground defense and can use his body to squirm out of trouble.
Not known for his knockout power with only 6 knockouts, Edward’s quick strikes and kicks can catch easily catch his opponents by surprise. He has fantastic stamina and has never been knocked out in his professional career.
Nelson has been with the UFC since 2012, debuting with a win over DaMarques Johnson on September 29, 2012. He sports a 8-3 record since joining the UFC with his most recent bout being December 8, 2018 at UFC 231. He defeated Alex Oliveira with a rear naked choke at 4:17 in the second round. Gunnar is the more exciting fighter of the two and has earned four Performance of the Night bonuses.
Gunnar has an amazing ground and pound game as fans saw in his last match against Oliveira. If Nelson can get his opponent on the mat and keep him there for any length of time, Edwards could be in big trouble.
Edwards goes into the fight as the favorite to win but a win by either fighter will likely put them into title contention for the UFC Welterweight Championship belt.
UFC Fight Night 147 / UFC on ESPN+ 5 takes place this Saturday, March 16, 2019 from The O2 Arena in London, England.