UFC 278 Preview - Usman v Edwards 2
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UFC 278 Preview - Usman v Edwards 2

The UFC travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the UFC 278 pay-per-view event. An odd location for a numbered card headlined by a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, but a must watch event with lots of betting opportunities. The co-main event features an intriguing middleweight encounter between former champion Luke Rockhold and Paulo Costa. MMA Viking's Ryan O'Leary previews what should be another thrilling night of octagon action.


UFC 278 Prelim Card

A flyweight encounter between Daniel da Silva and Victor Altamirano kicks the action off. Altamirano is a slight favorite and should come out on top of the flyweight bout to kick off the card.

Bantamweights collide as Qileng Aori faces Jay Perrin. The more experienced Aori is favored to get the victory over the American.

Sweden's Amir Albazi takes on Francisco Figueiredo in a flyweight tilt. Albazi is a massive favorite and should go 3-0 in the UFC with a win over the younger brother of current UFC Flyweight Champion Deveson Figueiredo.

AJ Fletcher takes on Ange Loosa in a welterweight bout. Bother fighters made their way through the Dana White Contender series and looking to make a name for themselves on the big card.

Miranda Maverick clashes with Shanna Young in a women's flyweight encounter. This should be a fairly convincing victory for Maverick that is one of the biggest favorites on the card.

Sean Woodson returns as he faces Luis Saldena in a featherweight tilt. Expect another victory for the unorthodox Woodson in the American versus American clash.

Lightweight veterans Leonardo Santos and Jared Gordon go to battle. The younger Gordon is expected to get the win in this duel.

Marcin Tybura collides with Alexander Romanov in a heavyweight bout in the featured prelim. Both fighters are just outside of the top 10, and Romanov the #13 contender will likely remain undefeated and move up to 17-0 in his pro career with a win over the #11 ranked heavyweight.

UFC 278 Main Card

Tyson Pedro (8-3) v Harry Hunsucker (7-5)

Light heavyweights kick off the main card as Tyson Pedro faces Harry Hunsucker. Pedro returned to action earlier this year with a knockout win over Ike Villanueva. He will look to establish a winning streak against Hunsucker, who has lost his 2 UFC outings so far as well as three of his last four. This should be straight forward win so expect a win for Pedro that is the biggest favorite on the card.

Yanan Wu (13-5) v Lucie Pudilova (13-7)

Lucie Padilova returns to the UFC when she takes on Yanan Wu in a women's bantamweight contest. Padilova has won five of her last six since departing the UFC. Wu, meanwhile, has lost her last three outings and is 1-4 in the UFC overall. It's a close contest, but expect Padilova to edge it in a real battle.

Jose Aldo (31-7) v Merab Dvalishvili (14-4)

Former featherweight king Jose Aldo, #3 contender, battles Merab Dvalishvili in bantamweight action. The legend Aldo is on a three-fight winning streak following wins over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. Another win could earn him a second shot at the 135-pound crown in a late career surgence.

Dvalishvili will not allow that to happen so easily, though. The Georgian is on a seven-fight winning streak and is coming off an impressive come-from-behind TKO victory over Marlon Moraes back in September. Dvalishvili, #6 contender, is a slight favorite and a big reason is his wrestling, but one should never count out Aldo who is known for his takedown defense.  I like a play on Aldo to keep his winning streak going.

Paulo Costa (13-2) v Luke Rockhold (16-5)

Is this fight really going to happen?  If so, it’s anexciting middleweight encounter as Paulo Costa welcomes back former 185-pound champion Luke Rockhold. Costa last competed in October when he lost a decision to Marvin Vettori. That setback put the Brazilian on a two-fight losing streak following his defeat to Israel Adesanya a year prior.  Who knows if we will get the old Costa or the new one with questionable motivation and fitness.

Rockhold is also on a two-fight losing streak, but hasn’t competed since a knockout defeat to Jan Blachowicz in July 2019. His overall inactivity and lack of durability doesn’t do him any favors in this one as the #6 ranked Costa is a pretty big betting favorite.  The American has been counted out, but that is what makes him an attractive play.  I’d put some action on Rockhold and hope that Costa continues his downward spiral.

Kamaru Usman (20-1) v Leon Edwards (19-3, 1NC)

The headliner sees Kamaru Usman defend his welterweight title against Leon Edwards. It’s a rematch of their 2015 bout that saw Usman come out on top with a decision victory. Both fighters have improved tremendously since then.

Usman has improved his striking in particular and is coming off wins over Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns. He remains undefeated in the UFC with a 15-0 promotional record.

Edwards, meanwhile, is on a 10-fight unbeaten streak and hasn’t suffered a defeat since his setback to Usman. The Brit last outpointed Nate Diaz and overall, has become one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division, having notably improved his wrestling.  He has moved up to the #2 contender position.

Usman is a big favorite to defend his title, but could the welterweight be looking past Leon with his recent talk about moving up to light heavyweight?  Edwards has proven that he has really become an elite fighter and believes this is his time to capture gold.  I see a 5-round battle, and with Usman such a big favorite, Edwards looks to be the more attractive betting play. 

About Ryan O’Leary 

Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.






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V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021