UFC 278 Tips – Usman v Edwards Predictions

The UFC middleweight title is on the line Sunday as Kamaru Usman looks to continue his magnificent winning streak.

Kamaru Usman (20-1) vs Leon Edwards (19-3)

Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards will run it back after first meeting nearly 7 years ago. Both fighters have greatly improved since then and as such, we should expect an exciting main event.

Usman’s name is being thrown around as the #1 Pound for Pound fighter in the world and if you look at his winning record of late, it is easy to see why. A pair of wins over Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, a knockout victory over Gilbert Burns after taking some early damage and finally dethroning Tyron Woodley in 2019 to win the 170lb title. Primarily known for his wrestling, his striking has improved in leaps and bounds, as seen by his devastating knockout win over Masvidal at UFC 261.

Edwards hasn’t lost since facing Usman back in 2015. He has been touted as the #1 contender for a while now but has been forced to take a bunch of different fights in the interim. He most recently took Nate Diaz to a decision in a fight that he dominated for the first four rounds, but was on the receiving end of a Diaz right hand early on in the 5th that had him staggered and nearly knocked out. He managed to survive and win the decision, but he came shockingly close to throwing away a fight that was in the bag (ala Anderson Silva v Chael Sonnen 1).

Edwards likely holds the technical advantage in striking but Usman’s hands have drastically improved over the last few years. Throw this in with his elite-level grappling, Usman looks highly likely to retain the belt here.

Tip: Method of Victory – Usman via Decision $1.90

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

Both fighters here are in desperate need of a win to remain relevant in the 185lb division. Costa is coming off an embarrassing loss against Israel Adesanya, followed by a decision loss to Marvin Vettori and Rockhold has dropped 3 out of his last 4 fights, being knocked out in devastating fashion by Michael Bisping, Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz.

Rockhold clearly holds the grappling advantage here but there’s a good chance this fight remains on the feet. Costa is one of the hardest hitters in the division and with the amount of damage Rockhold has taken over the last few years, it may only take one punch from “Borrachinha” to bring an early end to proceedings.

Tip: Round and Method Double – Costa by Round 1 KO $2.55

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

The stakes couldn’t be higher here as the winner of this fight might find themselves in line for a Bantamweight title opportunity. Arguably the greatest featherweight champion of all time, Aldo is experiencing somewhat of a career resurgence at Bantamweight. He has rattled off three decision victories against tough opponents such as Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font.

Despite losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has gone on a tear, winning 7 in a row since April 2018. He is an extremely aggressive fighter who relentlessly tries to get his opponent to the ground and inflict damage via Ground and Pound. 

This is a tough fight to pick but I think the value lies in whether this fight goes to the judges or not. As mentioned, Dvalishvili has no problem going all out and despite being a 3 round fight, this could mean one of a few things. Either Dvalishvili is successful in his attempts to inflict damage on the ground, or he tires himself out and leaves himself open for a barrage of strikes from the still very able Aldo. Expect this one to not require the services of the judges.

Tip: Will The Fight Go The Distance? – NO $2.25

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Joel has worked for more than six years at Sportsbet and BetEasy in the content and tipping space, specialising in AFL, cricket, NBA and UFC.