First Look at UFC 278: Usman vs. Edwards 2

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On August 20, the UFC returns to our screens for a highly stacked pay-per-view event from the Vivint in Salt Lake City, Utah.

UFC welterweight champion and No.1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, Kamaru Usman, will defend his unbeaten record as a titleholder at 170lbs versus Leon Edwards in the main event of the evening.

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC 278 championship headliner between Usman and Edwards, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis.

Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 2

UFC 278 Welterweight Main Event Championship Bout

Saturday, August 20, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at Vivint Arena

Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman

  • Pro MMA Record: 20-1-0 (9 KOs, 1 submission, 12 decisions)

Further making his claim as the most outstanding 175lb competitor in UFC history, Kamaru Usman returns to the octagon next weekend for yet another welterweight title defense versus a familiar foe in Leon Edwards.

Taking ownership of UFC's best UFC welterweight fighter isn’t a simple task. The legendary George St-Pierre is still highly regarded as the GOAT of 175lb competitors.

However, with more consecutive wins than any other in the division’s history, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is trending towards a more authoritative career than those who came before him.

The Beginning of Greatness

Usman didn’t arrive at this point of dominance by mistake. Early interest in combat sports saw him accomplish multiple championships as an NCAA Division II wrestler. Wrestling later became the primary MMA skill set that assisted the welterweight champ with such a positive UFC tenure.

Following his arrival to the UFC – post-Ultimate Fighter season 21 success – he’s rarely been compromised by some of the most elite fighters in mixed martial arts history. A 3-fight win streak on the TUF reality show led Usman to the dance, as he notably made his UFC debut versus Leon Edwards seven years ago.

Since this date, Usman has compiled a 14-fight win streak, five welterweight title defenses, and knockout victories over the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns.

A lot has happened since Usman met with Edwards all those years ago, including an evolved striking offense with the assistance of coach Trevor Wittman and the world-famous Sanford MMA gym in Florida.

Will Usman sharpen the grappling tools and replicate the game plan from 2015 to avoid the kickboxing excellence of Edwards? Or will he showcase the punching power and refined striking skills that recently shutdown the opposition?

Kamaru Usman's Accomplishments

  • UFC Light Welterweight Champion (One time, five defenses, current)
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Four times)
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time) vs. Colby Covington
  • The Ultimate Fighter Season 21 tournament winner
  • Latest finish in UFC Welterweight history vs. Colby Covington
  • Latest knockout in UFC title fight history vs. Colby Covington
  • Most consecutive wins in welterweight history division (15)
  • First Nigerian-born UFC champion

Kamaru Usman Best Available Odds: -340 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Leon “Rocky” Edwards 2

  • Pro MMA Record: 19-3-0 (6 KOs, 3 submissions, 9 decisions, 1 NC)

Born in Jamaica but raised in Birmingham, England, Leon Edwards 2 first trained in mixed martial arts during his teenage years and owned a diverse skill set. Without shining in one particular discipline, he’s known for utilizing his full MMA background and adapting to the situation in front of him.

It’s taken seven years and a 10-fight win streak for Leon Edwards to earn his rematch with Kamaru Usman. But this time around, championship gold will be on the line as the English-born martial artist will look to send a shockwave through the MMA community and dethrone their beloved champion.

Hard Work Pays Off

Fighters before and after Edwards have received their title opportunities a lot sooner. With successes over Vincente Luque, Donald Cerrone, and Rafael dos Anjos, opinions have regularly criticized the UFC’s ignorance towards the continued success that Edwards has presented.

However, the number four ranked UFC welterweight was side-lined between 2019 and March of 2021, a factor that may have damaged this position. Behind a ten-fight win streak and a dominant win over Nate Diaz in his most recent bout, the British rude boy has patiently waited for his shot at redemption.

It's been seven years since Edwards lost a UFC bout, and yes, Usman was the route cause. Times have changed, and skillsets have evolved. Does “Rocky” Edwards have the tenacity to achieve what nobody else has and defeat the pound-for-pound greatest?

Leon Edwards's Accomplishments

  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time)
  • Sixth fastest finish in UFC history (8 seconds)
  • BAMMA RDX Welterweight Championship (One time, one defense)

Kamaru Usman Best Available Odds: +280 at BetOnline

Usman vs. Edwards 2: Breakdown and Analysis

Usman Fight Style and How Can He Defeat Edwards

Since adding a laser-focused striking regime to his training camps, we’ve noticed a dramatic decline in the wrestling offense that Usman was once known for. That said, it will be difficult to recap his first encounter with Edwards and not believe that a grappling gameplan is a possible blueprint to overcome the crafty English striker.

Two of the three judges gave Edwards a 10-9 win in the first round of their first fight. Despite spending a significant amount of time on his back, the Englishman caught Usman in a triangle that eventually allowed him to return to the feet.

Although the champ has already succeeded with a wrestling gameplan against this very opponent, I wouldn’t be surprised if we witness him give us a striking display due to the power punching discrepancy he’ll undoubtedly own.

Edwards Fight Style and How Can He Defeat Usman

If Usman gives Edwards – what he believes, he wants – a stand-up battle, this would be the greatest path to victory for the challenger. However, with his wrestling offense as a worthy backup, Usman already owns an advantage where Edwards will be fighting with a level of hesitancy in expectation of an eventual takedown attempt.

For Edwards to truly shock the world and overcome such a dominant force in Usman, I believe an opportunistic moment such as a back-take and a rear-naked choke would be the most viable path to success, but this is easier said than done.

Usman vs. Edwards 2: Prediction and Odds

The available odds at the top-rated sportsbooks - no matter who the opponent is - will forever be in favor of Usman, who is the current number-one-ranked fighter (throughout all weight classes) on the planet.

While -340 isn’t the worst price tag for such a dominant champion, I’d instead take the plus-money on the expectation that this fight will reach the judge's scorecards.

Edwards has never been stopped inside the distance, and Usman was stopped from a rear-naked choke in his lone career loss and second pro-bout in 2013. Both men have reliable durability and the patience to see through all five rounds.

UFC Pick: Over 4 ½ Rounds (+140) [1u returns 1.40u profit] at BetOnline

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Over 4 ½ Rounds (+140)
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UFC 278 Main Card

  • Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 2 [UFC welterweight title bout]
  • Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold [UFC middleweight co-main event bout]
  • José Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili [UFC bantamweight bout]
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Harry Hunsucker [UFC light heavyweight bout]
  • Marcin Tybura vs. Alexandr Romanov [UFC heavyweight bout]

UFC 278 Preliminary Card

  • Leonardo Santos vs. Jared Gordon [UFC lightweight bout]
  • Wu Yanan vs. Lucie Pudilova [UFC women’s bantamweight bout]
  • Sean Woodson vs. Luis Saldana [UFC featherweight bout]
  • Aoriqileng vs. Jay Perrin [UFC bantamweight bout]
  • Victor Altamirano vs. Daniel da Silva [UFC flyweight bout]
  • AJ Fletcher vs. Ange Loosa [UFC welterweight bout]
  • Amir Albazi vs. Francisco Figueiredo [UFC flyweight bout]

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.