The last time Tyron Woodley entered the octagon, he was considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters by many fans, despite his oft-criticized mundane style. Having successfully defended his title four times since claiming the crown from Robbie Lawler in 2016, Woodley was dominating arguably the very best that the welterweight division had to offer.

However, in March 2019, he was handily bested by Kamaru Usman by decision. As reported by ESPN, Woodley was never able to step out of autopilot to find another gear. Usman out-struck the defending champion 336 strikes landed to 60.

Woodley hasn’t fought since March last year, but has been rumored to be looking for a fight to get him back into the championship mix, which is where Leon Edwards enters the fold.

At UFC Fight Night 171 in London, Woodley will face the surging Edwards to stake his claim for another shot at the title and, assumedly, avenge his defeat.

Huge implications for the welterweight division at UFC London

Taking place at the O2 Arena in London, Woodley will be taking on Edwards and an arena of home supporters. The Jamaican-born British fighter is on the ascendency winning all eight of his last bouts spanning back to May 2016.

While Woodley and Edwards are quite different in their fighting style, they do share a common trait: the last time that either of them lost, it was via a unanimous decision to Usman.

Usman most recently defeated Colby Covington, the number two-ranked welterweight in UFC, and is set to fight the number-three ranked Jorge Masvidal in July, according to Essentially Sports.

The UFC London bout between the top-ranked Woodley and fourth-ranked Edwards could decide who Usman faces in his next defense, should he triumph in the summer. So, everything’s on the line when the former champion meets the rising star.

The experts are siding with Edwards’ momentum over a resurgence from the American former champ. In the odds found online at Space Casino, Leon Edwards is favored at -175 to take the fight, with Woodley at +120.

While Edwards is favored, it looks set to be a close and entertaining fight with a shot at revenge against Usman on the line.

The battle has already begun

Both Woodley and Edwards are well-rounded fighters, capable of fighting upright or on the ground. They both have a great mind for strategic fighting and are capable of capitalizing on any moment of weakness shown by their foes.

Edwards may be seen as having already achieved a mental edge, though, with Woodley clearly being rattled the Brit’s comments aimed at the American’s budding rap career. MMA Fighting has detailed that Edwards thinks that he’s got under the skin of Woodley, as so many opponents have in the past.

Edwards may even walk out to the octagon in London with the backing of one of Woodley’s tracks, which the surging fighter has publically slammed.

So, it’ll be very important for Woodley, who didn’t want to fight overseas, to take the fight to Edwards, using his sheer athleticism, explosive power, and wrestling prowess to keep his competitor under wraps and to hush the crowd.

The two are well-versed in going the distance, with five of Woodley’s last eight fights and seven of Edwards’ last nine bouts being decided by the judges, so it’s not difficult to see this contest lasting the full allotted time.

On March 21, Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards will battle in London for what might just be a shot at the champion. As it stands, Woodley may just have the edge over Edwards if he plans to use his wrestling aggressively to dominate the home fighter.

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