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Round 1: Referee Kevin Sataki in charge of the evening’s co-main event. Both men pawing at each other to start, Nelson with the first strike, a kick to the body. Nelson with a body lock and he gets Edwards down. Nice escape by Edwards, but Nelson stays locked on and gets him down again by the cage. Edwards with his back against the cage and he walks his way up, Nelson still pressing on him. Edwards reverses position. Edwards with the takedown. He’s holding on, using his free arm to land short strikes. Edwards has a hook in and he’s staying heavy on Nelson’s side. He’s using a half-nelson to keep Nelson in place. Nelson up with about 30 seconds to go. Front kick by Edwards, then one to the body as the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Edwards.
Round 2: High kick by Nelson is blocked. He’s working to stay at the edge of Edwards’s punches. Nelson walks through a jab and looks to clinch and walk Edwars over to the fence. Edwards keeping his hand low to prevent Nelson from throwing knees, then he clips Nelson with an elbow as they separate. Nelson dodges a left hand and locks up with Edwards, pushing him to the cage. Edwards reverses position again and changes levels for a single leg. They separate and Nelson eats another elbow. Not much activity until Nelson goes to grapple again. He takes a knee to the body and Edwards breaks away. Another clinch and Edwards again scores points with elbows and knees. Nelson tries to close the distance and Edwards cracks him with a left elbow to the temple. Nelson goes down and Edwards is all over him, grounding and pounding. Edwards ends the round landing several unanswered shots on Nelson, who is in survival mode.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Edwards. Overall, 20-18 Edwards.
Round 3: Nelson goes to work with a single leg against the fence. It’s a no go and Edwards is out, back to the center of the cage. Nelson approaches with an overhand right and a takedown attempt, stuffed. Edwards very light on his feet as Nelson tries to cut off angles. Jab by Nelson, then he goes back to working for a takedown. Edwards reverses position and drags Nelson down to his knees for a moment. He’s leaning on Nelson now. Nelson fighting the hands and he’s out of danger. Edwards continuing to get the better of the clinch. Straight right lands clean for Nelson, he’s able to get a body lock off of it and he gets Edwards down. He quickly advances to full mount with about one minute to work. Edwards just holding on from bottom position. Nelson landing what punches he can with Edwards tying him up.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Nelson. Overall, 29-28 Edwards.
Official result: Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (29-27, 28-29, 29-28)