It gets more and more difficult to ignore Leon Edwards as his wins pile up in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
Superior standup and near-flawless takedown defense carried the former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion to a unanimous decision over Donald Cerrone in the UFC Fight Night 132 headliner on Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. All three cageside judges scored it 48-47 for Edwards, who denied Cerrone’s bid for a record 21st victory inside the Octagon.
Cerrone rallied late in the fight but could not overcome the 26-year-old Englishman, a contender on the rise at 170 pounds. Edwards outstruck him by narrow margins in all five rounds, per FightMetric, and denied all but one of his nine takedown attempts. He outpaced “Cowboy” in total strikes (101-64) and significant strikes (84-60), all while doing visible damage: Edwards opened a cut on the Jackson-Wink MMA standout early in the fight and continued to target the wound until his night’s work was done and Cerrone’s blood had painted the canvas red.
In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Cerrone vs. Edwards,” here are five matches that ought to be made:
Leon Edwards vs. Neil Magny: Since his December 2015 defeat to the beastly Kamaru Usman, Edwards has rattled off six consecutive victories, one by technical knockout, one by submission and four others by unanimous decision. Now training out of the American Kickboxing Academy, “Rocky” may have only begun to scratch the surface of his immense talent. Beating Cerrone gives Edwards a signature win on his resume, which includes triumphs over Peter Sobotta, Bryan Barberena, Vicente Luque and Albert Tumenov. Magny last competed at UFC Fight Night 130 on May 27, when he knocked out Craig White with a first-round knee strike and follow-up punches.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Dominick Reyes: St. Preux has his warts like any other fighter, but he remains one of the best light heavyweights on the UFC roster. The 35-year-old won for the fourth time in five appearances, as he submitted Tyson Pedro with a straight armbar in the first round of their co-main event at 205 pounds. The victory allows St. Preux to distance himself from a submission loss to Ilir Latifi in February and keeps him in circulation for high-profile fights in the coming months. The undefeated Reyes improved to 9-0 at UFC Fight Night 129, where he put away Jared Cannonier with punches in less than three minutes on May 19.
Jessica Eye vs. Roxanne Modafferi-Barb Honchak winner: A move to 125 pounds has breathed new life into Eye’s career. The Strong Style Fight Team representative posted her second straight win, as she took a unanimous decision from Jessica-Rose Clark in their women’s flyweight feature. Eye seemed to grow stronger in the latter stages of the match -- she outlanded Clark 33-13 in the third round -- and put an end to the Aussie’s modest three-fight winning streak in decisive fashion. All three judges sided with Eye: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. Modafferi meets Honchak at “The Ultimate Fighter 27” Finale on July 6 in Las Vegas.
Petr Yan vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez: Yan introduced himself to a much wider audience and showed off the potent skills that make him one of the top bantamweight prospects in the sport, as he carved up Teruto Ishihara in his long-awaited promotional debut. Ishihira, who had never before been finished by strikes, succumbed to punches 3:28 into Round 1. An Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder, the 25-year-old Yan now finds himself on a run of four straight victories. Quinones, 27, last fought at UFC 221 in February, when “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” runner-up laid claim to a three-round decision over Ishihara.
Jake Matthews vs. Belal Muhammad: It may seem as though Matthews has been around forever, but the Australian welterweight will not turn 24 until August and continues to make strides. In his latest appearance, “The Celtic Kid” choked Shinsho Anzai unconscious, extended his winning streak to three fights and pushed his UFC record to 7-3. Since losing back-to-back bouts to Kevin Lee and Andrew Holbrook in 2016, Matthews has put together consecutive victories over Anzai, Jingliang Li and Bojan Velickovic. Roufusport’s Muhammad last competed at UFC Fight Night 131 on June 1, when he took a unanimous decision from Chance Rencountre at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York.