The Ultimate Fighting Championship is gearing up for its third major event of the summer this week with UFC 278. UFC 278, which will feature a welterweight title fight between Kamari Usman vs. Leon Edwards, will be held at Vivant Arena in Salt Lake City (UT)
Saturday’s 13-card event will be UFC’s second foray to Salt Lake City, with the last being six years ago. The bouts will get underway at 6 p.m. (ET) with the early prelims.
Read more about UFC 278.
Welterweight: Kamari Usman vs. Leon Edwards
While this title bout is technically a rematch, the original occurred seven years ago when both fighters were just starting their careers. Usman won that bout by unanimous decision, and I don’t see the result changing dramatically in this one for the anointed best fighter “pound-for-pound.”
Usman (20-1) heads into the octagon a perfect 5-0 in his title defenses. He is undefeated in 15 UFC matches and has won 19 straight overall. A victory on Saturday would not allow Usman to keep his belt but also tie Anderson Silva’s record UFC of consecutive victories.
Edwards (19-3) is a formidable foe, reeling off 10 straight wins, and is the No. 2 ranked contender in the division. But, this is the 30-year-old Jamaican’s first title shot. He is fighting for the fourth time in three years, with his last time in the cage being over a year ago.
Ultimately, I believe Usman’s length, strong hands, and wrestling ability will prove too much for Edwards. However, there is little value in taking Usman to win at -380.
So, for value, I like Usman to win and the fight to go over 2.5 rounds. Neither Usman nor Edwards are great finishers, as 52.3% of Usman’s matches have ended before the final bell, including only four of his 15 chances in the UFC. Similarly, Edwards has had to go the distance in nearly 60% of his 22 fights, including all but three of his 13 (77%) fights on the big league stage.
Plus, neither combatant absorbs a lot of punches or lands a ton of significant blows per minute. Moreover, Usman’s typically last over 16 minutes while Edward’s generally go a little past the 15-minute mark.
Best Bet: Parlay: Usman Win and Over 2.5 Rounds (-175)
Middleweight: Paulo Costo vs. Luke Rockhold
Like Spencer Davis said in his “UFC 278 Betting Preview,” this bout between Costo and Rockhold is very interesting as both fighters had fought sparingly over the last few years and had issues when they were in the octagon.
On a two-fight losing streak, Costo (13-2) has yet to have a match this year; his last win came in 2019. Meanwhile, Rockhold (16-5) is stepping inside the cage for the first time in over three years and has lost three of his last four outings.
Both fighters have championship title pedigrees, with each combatant competing in a title match. Rockhold has the height and reach advantage. But I’m going with the younger fighter ranked 6th in the division, which is Costo.
Costo is the stronger fighter, and I believe that his takedown defense is good enough to avoid being put into a losing position. I also have question’s about Rockford’s stamina and rust. Saying that I also don’t believe that they will go the distance.
Ninety-three percent of Costo’s 15 bouts have ended before the final bell, including 12 of his 13 victories with 11 by knockouts. Likewise, 19 of Rockhold’s fights have ended in a finishes. All Rockhold’s losses have been as a result of being knocked out.
Best Bets: Costo to win by TKO/KO/DQ (-190)
Fight does not go the distance (-280)
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