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mixed-martial-arts | Tuesday, August 16, 2022 9:21 AM (Revised at: Friday, August 19, 2022 11:15 PM)

UFC 278 Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Best Bet: ‘Rocky’ Ends the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’

UFC 278 Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Best Bet: ‘Rocky’ Ends the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’
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Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Best Bet: Saturday, August 20th

We had better hope that Leon Edwards has been chasing chickens in his backyard for the last year because we’re swimming against the current this Saturday! Everyone and their grandmother is picking Kamaru Usman to defend the Welterweight title once again at UFC 278 and the bookmakers all agree – Rocky doesn’t stand a chance.

Well, it’s a good thing the betting public and the bookies are never wrong then. I might feel like a Kentucky Fried Idiot when all this is over, but one thing is certain, the betting value is always with the underdog. Before you call me crazy and jump on the champ’s bandwagon, have a look at the article below and see why there’s a strong chance of him actually losing.

In this article:

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Preview

Sat, August 20th.

The 35-year-old Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is looking to make his 6th title defence in a row and continue his 3-year title reign. He won the title for the first time back in March of 2019 against Tyron Woodley and has gone on to beat the best fighters in the division, including Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and his opponent he is scheduled to rematch on Saturday – Leon Edwards. That said, this fight happened 5 years ago and a lot has changed since, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

Usman holds an MMA record of 20 wins and a single loss way back in 2013 to Jose Caceres. His main discipline has always been wrestling, having started as a sophomore in high school and continuing throughout college. But since starting his MMA career, Usman has focused on his striking a lot more and made huge strides in this field, and won 3 of his last 5 fights via KO/TKO.

Usman has definitely been a dominant champion, but he will have to lose eventually – father time waits for no one. His knee injuries have prevented him from being the elite wrestler we’re used to seeing, and he broke his right hand just before his last fight against Covington. The hand surgery in February is a concerning sign, and I don’t expect him to be able to pressure as much as he used to. Don’t get me wrong, Usman is far from finished, but let’s not act like he is untouchable.

In fact, Leon Edwards has the skillset necessary to get the job done against the champ, it’s just a matter of whether he will rise to the occasion. At 30 years of age, Edwards is in the prime of his career and in the perfect position to go after the Welterweight title. With a takedown defence of 70%, and elite striking, Edwards has the ability to keep the fight standing and squeeze out a decision win.

His wrestling might not be as good as the champion’s but he’s been nicknamed ‘Rocky’ for a reason. His striking technique is better than Usman’s. His leg/body kicks combined with his punching combinations and work in the clinch give him a more than solid chance to get the decision victory. I don’t expect a KO/TKO from him, with only 6 of his 19 wins coming this way, but a decision is more than realistic. On the flip side, Usman himself has a lot of punching power, (and I don’t like the fact that Diaz was able to rock Rocky last time around) but he isn’t as technical and tends to swing a lot of his heavy shots. Edwards should be able to get out of the way of those.

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Best Bet

At 1.25 odds to win (Bet365), Usman is the heavy favourite whilst Edwards is available at 4.95 at Marathonbet. According to Unibet, 98% of bettors are picking the champion to defend.

I can’t say I’m surprised, but at 4.95 odds, how can you stay away from the underdog? He has a solid chance of winning, and the bookies are saying it’s only a probability of 20.2%. Edwards is younger, hasn’t had any injuries recently, and most importantly – the odds next to his name are more than tempting. I’m backing the underdog (again)!

  • Selection: Leon Edwards to Win
  • Best Odds: 4.95 (Marathonbet)
  • Stakes: 2/10

Odds as at 02:30 pm August 16th 2022. Odds may now differ.

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