UFC 286 First Look: Edwards vs. Usman 3 Betting Picks, Odds, and Prediction

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UFC First Look fight

Our Top Betting Pick for UFC 286 

UFC Pick: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman – Usman Wins on Points (+125) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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The UFC is amongst royalty this Saturday evening as Britain’s own Leon Edwards returns home with the welterweight championship. It won’t be a simple 25-minute bout, as the formidable Kamaru Usman seeks revenge in the UFC 286 main event at the 02 Arena in London.  

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC 286 main event clash between Edwards and Usman, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis. 

UFC enthusiasts should make sure to check out the best US betting sites available in order to make their bets. 

UFC 286 Best Bet 

Usman By Decision Reasoning    

Speed, movement, offensive striking, and the support of England will favor Leon Edwards. However, Kamaru Usman was seconds away from retaining his championship before the Englishman delivered a head-kick knockout.

The same result is unlikely; Edwards is known for his precision and combinations but isn’t known as a one-punch knockout type of striker.

For this reason, expecting Usman to dominate the grappling and reclaim the welterweight strap via decision is a valid stance and one I expect to play out during the UFC 286 main event.  

  • Confidence Rating: 3.5/5   

UFC 286 Information 

  • When: Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 05:30 PM EDT   
  • Where: 02 Arena
  • Main Event: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman [Welterweight Championship Bout] 
  • Moneyline Probability: Usman – 71.4% (-250) Edwards – 32.3% (+210)  
  • Totals Probability: Over 4.5 – 63.6% (-175) Under 4.5 – 40.8% (+145)    

UFC 286 Edwards vs. Usman: Tale of the Tape 

Leon Edwards 

  • Age: 31 
  • Height: 6’2” 
  • Reach: 74”  
  • Nationality: United Kingdom 
  • Affiliation: Team Renegade BJJ    
  • Current Streak: 2 wins   
  • Pro MMA Record: 20-3-0   
  • UFC Record: 12-2 [3 KO/TKO, 1 submission, 8 decisions]  
  • Moneyline Betting History (Last 3): +290 (win), -475 (win), -120 (win) 

Kamaru Usman

  • Age: 35 
  • Height: 6’0” 
  • Reach: 76”  
  • Nationality: Nigeria  
  • Affiliation: Kill Cliff FC  
  • Current Streak: 1 loss   
  • Pro MMA Record: 20-2-0   
  • UFC Record: 15-1 [4 KO/TKO, 1 submission, 10 decisions]  
  • Moneyline Betting History (Last 3): -375 (loss), -310 (win), -350 (win)  

UFC 286 Main Event Profiles 

Leon “Rocky” Edwards 

Leon Edwards shocked the world in August of 2022 when handing one of the pound-for-pound greats, Kamaru Usman, his second career loss, the first loss in nine years, and the Nigerian’s first-ever knockout defeat.  

The wrestling offense has been a dominant factor in Usman’s career, and it was no different at UFC 278 during the Usman vs. Edwards II bout. However, the Englishman pulled through in the first round until the tide turned in the second, third, fourth, and fifth.  

One minute remained, and it looked like Usman was about to defeat Edwards on the judge's scorecards for a second time in their respective careers, but a head kick knockout with 56 seconds left on the clock temporarily sent Usman to the afterlife.  

Edwards has predominantly been a striker during his professional MMA career, and this dangerous offense he owns delivered in the biggest way last time out. However, many critics believe it was a fluke.

Although the UK representative will have the roaring support of Great Britain, can he overcome the elite-level grappling that Usman has displayed repeatedly during his UFC tenure?    

Leon Edwards Combat Sports Accomplishments   

  • UFC Welterweight Champion (One time, current)  
  • First Jamaican-born champion in UFC history  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Two times)  
  • BAMMA RDX Welterweight Champion (One time, one defense)  

Best Available Odds: Leon Edwards ML (+210) at BetOnline 

Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman  

A fluke, old age, and injuries - there’s a wealth of perceptions involving Usman’s title loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 278, but we’re only dealing with the facts. And one of the glaring facts from the Usman/Edwards II clash is that the defending champion was seconds short of retaining his championship via unanimous decision.  

British fans will be praying that the rumors of Usman’s knee complications are extreme because anything short of a 100% fitness level against the lightning-quick speed and excellent cardio of Leon Edwards won’t end well.  

That said, Usman has been a welterweight machine for the entirety of his professional MMA career. The former NCAA Div II wrestler utilized his origin skillset in the cage like no other, and besides Colby Covington, there hasn’t been an opponent that could stop his wrestling offense.  

During his famed podcast, Joe Rogan revealed Usman's struggle to walk on concrete due to the ongoing issues with his knees. This has caused many to speculate whether the former champion can return to the top and stay there.

However, if Usman can give just 50% of rounds two, three, and four from his last meeting with Edwards, it’s difficult to envision the Englishman finding the knockout shot in consecutive bouts.   

Kamaru Usman Combat Sports Accomplishments   

  • UFC Welterweight Champion (One time, five defenses)  
  • First Nigerian-born UFC champion  
  • Ultimate Fighter 21 winner  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Four times)  
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time)  
  • Most consecutive wins in UFC welterweight history (15)  
  • Wrestling - NCAA Div II National Championship (2010)  
  • Wrestling - NCAA Div II All-American (2008, 2009, 2010)  

Best Available Odds: Kamaru Usman ML (-245) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

UFC 286 Main Event Fight Statistics:  

  • Usman lands 4.55 significant strikes per minute.  
  • Edwards owns a striking defense of 53%. 
  • Usman averages 3.01 per 15 minutes. 
  • Edwards holds a 68% takedown defense.  

UFC 286 Skillset Analysis: Styles Make Fights   

You would assume that predicting fight outcomes for bouts we’ve witnessed would simplify this process; however, the variables surrounding Usman make it difficult to trust completely.  

A hand injury prior to his training camp, issues with his knees, and a return from his first knockout loss could be detrimental to the mental warfare he enters the cage with.  

This fight holds no secrets; Usman will have the wrestling advantage, while Edwards undoubtedly holds the striking edge. For me, the result boils down to Usman’s mental fortitude. However, considering he’s been a dominant champion for many years, he hasn’t given us much reason to begin doubting him.  

I’ll be in attendance at UFC 286, and although it pains me to say, Usman will likely emulate the previous two fights with Edwards – without the shocking knockout – and take a unanimous or split decision on the scorecards.  

Usman Wins on Points: The UFC 286 Best Bet Formula  

The available UFC odds at Bookmakers Review favor Usman, and rightfully so. He’s owned the longest active win streak in welterweight history, a division that’s seen notable legends such as George St-Pierre, and without question, possesses an MMA base of wrestling that can nullify Edwards in front of the home crowd.  

For the first time in a long time, I’ll be rooting against my analysis. That said, when it comes to fight predictions, I must choose head over heart, and that part of me sides with Usman regaining his 175lb strap through wrestling dominance behind a cautious attitude when exchanging with Leon on the feet.  

UFC Pick: Usman Wins by Decision (+125) at BetOnline    

UFC 286 Main Card & Odds 

UFC 286 Preliminary Card & Odds 

*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.