UFC 278: Kamaru Usman v Leon Edwards 2 free betting picks and predictions - repeat or revenge in Salt Lake City?
Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards will lock horns again in Utah this Saturday. Usman, who is a -345 favorite with most sportsbooks, got the better of Edwards over three rounds in their first encounter. Our man Ben Fowlkes gives his full pick below.
Leon Edwards tags Kamaru Usman with a solid right hand during their first fight. Pic: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
|Usman vs Edwards
|Preview and odds
|Saturday August 20th, 9pm ET
|Salt Lake City, Utah
|Usman via decision (-105)
Finally, the day that seemed like it might never come is nigh at hand. Leon Edwards is finally getting his UFC welterweight title shot, and it’s coming in the form of a rematch with champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday.
The last time these two met also happens to be the last time Edwards lost a fight. It was 2015, Usman’s first UFC fight after winning season 21 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and Edwards came up on the losing end of the decision that night. Both men have changed a lot as fighters since then. The question is who’s improved more, and in ways that might exploit the other’s weaknesses
Kamaru Usman pins Leon Edwards against the cage during their first fight. Pic: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Back then, Usman was a wrestler first and everything else second. But now, with help from coach Trevor Wittman, he’s become a legitimate striking threat on the feet. His jab alone is a dangerous weapon that all would-be challengers have to contend with, and that wasn’t really the case in the first fight. Edwards’ wrestling has improved a ton since then, and he seems more confident in his overall game. He controls distance better and uses his range more, all of which is encouraging, but he’s still not much of a threat to finish fights against top opponents.
This should be Usman’s fight, which might explain why he’s as high as a 4-1 favorite with some sportsbooks. One question I have is whether Usman has full confidence in his right hand, which he had surgery on immediately following his last title defense. The hand has apparently been an ongoing issue for the champ, and for a lot of fighters it can be tough to trust that weapon again right away after dealing with so many problems.
A healthy, confident Usman wins this fight nine times out of 10. But the trouble with being on top of the mountain is that you can’t slip even a little bit, not with so many contenders looking to drag you down.
Kamaru Usman knocks Jorge Masvidal unconscious with a vicious right hand at UFC 261. Pic: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
I can’t talk myself into believing Edwards pulls off the upset here. I also think the line on Usman is a little inflated. The best value might be in betting on this one to go the distance, which is something both men have done plenty of in the past. A -160 line on the fight going to decision is a decent bet, but I’d take it a step further and go for the -110 line on Usman to win by decision.
If you’re looking for another bet on this card – or, for the real wheelers and dealers, a bet to parlay this one with – I’d take a look at Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold in the co-main event. You can get Costa to win inside the distance at -120 right now, and that’s a decent pick considering Rockhold’s recent history and the questionable current state of his chin.
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards free betting pick and prediction
Usman via decision (-110)
UFC 278: Kamaru Usman v Leon Edwards full fight card
Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards
Luke Rockhold vs Paulo Costa
Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvili
Marcin Tybura vs Alexandr Romanov
Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker
UFC 278 undercard
Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon
Wu Yanan vs Lucie Pudilova
Sean Woodson vs Luis Saldana
Miranda Maverick vs Shanna Young
A.J. Fletcher vs Ange Loosa
Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo
Aoriqileng vs Jay Perrin
Victor Altamirano vs Daniel Da Silva
Where can I stream UFC 278 Usman vs Edwards?
ESPN PPV will broadcast the fight in the US, while UK fans can watch the event on BT Sport. You can stream it on your smartphone, laptop or firestick by visiting ESPN.com.