Edwards' UFC return against Muhammad ends with horrific eye poke

British UFC star Leon Edwards ‘heartbroken’ after comeback fight with Belal Muhammad is ruled no-decision due to horrific eye poke on American that left him howling in pain

  • Accidental eye poke in the second round left Muhammad crippled in pain
  • His eye swelled up with blood trickling down his cheek as the fight was stopped
  • Referee Herb Dean declared it a ‘no contest’ as Muhammad was sent to hospital
  • He later tweeted that his vision was returning and there was no damage
  • British fighter Edwards said incident had left him ‘heartbroken’ on UFC return 

British fighter Leon Edwards said he was ‘hearbroken’ after his return to the Octagon ended in a no contest following an accidental eye poke on Belal Muhammad. 

His opponent collapsed to the canvas in severe pain after Edwards’ finger jab caught him in the eye, bringing the UFC Vegas 21 main event to an early conclusion.

A hefty welt formed under Muhammad’s eye with blood trickling down his cheek and he wasn’t initially able to open the eye so doctors could inspect the damage.

Leon Edwards catches Belal Muhammad in the eye with an accidental finger poke, bringing an early end to the UFC Vegas fight night on Saturday

Muhammad collapsed to the canvas in agony with blood trickling from his eye after the poke

UFC chief Dana White tweeted this close-up picture of the horrific end to Saturday’s fight

Referee Herb Dean brought an end to the fight and Muhammad was taken to hospital for further treatment. The fight was declared a no decision due to an accidental foul.

He later posted a picture and a message from hospital, writing: ‘My heart is shattered my first main event ended like that but Gods [sic] the best of planners. I’m sorry to the fans and the @ufc you deserved a full fight.

‘Alhamdillah the vision is coming back and no permanent damage to the eye. I’ll be back and want to run it back @Leon_edwardsmma.’

Edwards said he was ‘heartbroken’ afterwards: ‘First of all, obviously I apologise to Belal. I didn’t meant to do it. I really apologise.

Muhammad later tweeted this picture from hospital, saying there was no permanent damage

The incident happened 18 seconds into the second round of the contest in Las Vegas

‘I’d rather a loss than that. I’m just heartbroken. I don’t know what to say.

‘As soon as I left the cage, I asked my manager, what do I do now? I went in there focused on my next chapter to be a world champion. I’m heartbroken.

‘It’s been a long year and a half. A lot of ups and downs and then to come back to this.’

The excruciating pain was etched on Muhammad’s face as he collapsed to the ground

He received medical attention from the doctors in attendance before being taken to hospital

Edwards waits on the other side of the Octagon as his opponent receives treatment 

After so long out of action, British fighter Edwards was in top form prior to the incident 

Prior to the ending, Edwards had shown no signs of ring-rust after so long away, with his last main event in 2020 wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Edwards also saw another fight cancelled after he contracted Covid-19.

He rocked Muhammad several times in the opening round, including a kick to the head that opened a cut.

But the second round was only 18 seconds old when the poke happened with his prospective title shot against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman now in the balance.

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