The UFC welterweight title will be on the line on Saturday, when reigning champion Kamaru Usman steps into the Octagon for a long awaited rematch with No. 2 contender Leon Edwards.
Currently riding a 20-fight win streak, including 15 victories since joining the UFC seven years ago, Kamaru Usman leads the way as a strong -395 favourite to successfully defend his UFC welterweight crown for the sixth time. Unbeaten since falling to Usman in their first meeting over six years ago, Leon Edwards is pegged as a +295 underdog in Saturday’s main event on the MMA odds.
Kamaru Usman UFC 278 Odds
Usman has rocketed to the top of the UFC pound-for-pound rankings during his extended stay atop the UFC’s 170-pound division. And with good reason. “The Nigerian Nightmare” has effectively cleaned house at the top of the division. Multiple victories over both top contenders Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, as well as a TKO win over Gilbert Burns, have cemented Usman’s position as one of the greatest welterweights in UFC history.
Usman currently shares the record for the most consecutive wins in UFC welterweight history, and also sits among the historical leaders in significant strikes landed. That was particularly evident in his second meeting with Covington last December, in which he out-struck the division’s top contender by a wide 158-119 margin on his way to a five-round unanimous decision win.
Despite his impressive punching power, Usman has seen 10 of his 20 career victories come by decision. The former NCAA wrestling champion is also a fearsome threat on the mat, and has tallied eight takedowns over his past four fights. He is also a notoriously strong defender, who has avoided being taken down in 15 UFC contests, and has yet to record a single second of bottom time over that stretch.
Leon Edwards UFC 278 Odds
Edwards was thoroughly dominated in his first date with Usman in December 2015. Taken down by the future champion on six occasions, “Rocky” had no answer for Usman, who racked up over 10 minutes of control time in that contest, and limited Edwards to just two significant strikes over the final five minutes of that bout.
However, that defeat failed to deter Edwards, who has followed up with nine wins along and one no contest. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, who first embraced MMA in his late teens, Edwards put his submission skills on display early in his career. Rocky tallied a pair of tap out wins on his way to winning the BAMMA welterweight title, and has racked up an impressive nine takedowns over his past four fights.
More recently, Edwards has demonstrated his durability, with nine of his past 11 full fights ultimately getting decided by the judges. That run includes three fights that have gone a full five rounds. However, he was lucky to survive the fifth round in his last outing, a unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263.
UFC 278 Prediction: Usman vs. Edwards
There is no doubt that Edwards has dramatically matured as a fighter since his first meeting with Usman. He has evolved into a more patient fighter who is capable of winning standing or on the mat. However, he has continued to show signs of wearing down when fighting in championship rounds, and must find a way to get to Usman early if he is to have any chance of upsetting the champion.
Prediction: Kamaru Usman by Points or Technical Decision (-115)