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mixed-martial-arts | Friday, August 5, 2022 1:18 PM (Revised at: Monday, August 8, 2022 11:26 AM)

UFC 278 Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Preview and Betting Odds: Will the 'Nigerian Nightmare' Continue?

UFC 278 Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Preview and Betting Odds: Will the 'Nigerian Nightmare' Continue?
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UFC 278 Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards: Saturday, August 20th

The main event of UFC 278 will have the Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman attempting to make his 6th title defence in a row against the 3-rd ranked fighter in the division Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards. These two already faced each other once in 2017, but ill the result be the same, or will Rocky be able to turn the tide? The one thing I do know is, ‘It ain’t about how hard you’re hit, it’s about how hard you can get…’ Alright, I stopped.

In this article:

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Preview

Saturday, August 20th

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it has been for Kamaru Usman recently, who has been the king of the Welterweights for the last 3 years since winning the title back in 2019. Fittingly nicknamed ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman holds an MMA record of 20 wins and a single loss. 3 of has last 5 fights were TKO/KO victories, and he is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington. Usman’s base martial art has always been wrestling, and he is elite in that regard, but he has developed his striking in recent years, and now has very few weaknesses.

His only career defeat came in 2013 against Jose Caceres due to a rear-naked choke, and he has since connected a 19-fight winning streak. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, quite the contrary, but at 35 years of age, Usman is at the tail end of his career and you have to wonder how long he can keep it going. He is the no.1 pound-for-pound ranked fighter in the UFC, and with victories against the top fighters in the division like Masvidal, Covington, Burns, Woodley and others, it’s easy to see why.

For Edwards, this is his first attempt at UFC gold at the back of his 9-fight winning streak, not counting the no-contest against Belal Muhammad. Edwards has been in the UFC since 2014, and with an MMA record of 19 wins and just 3 losses, he is ranked 2nd in the Welterweight division, just under Colby Covington. He has also faced a lot of stiff competition leading up to this title shot, beating the likes of RDA, Donald Cerrone, Vicente Luque and most recently Nate Diaz.

That said, he hasn’t fought in more than a year, and his fighting style so far has been heavily oriented toward his striking. He has used his grappling against weaker competition, but he is by no means elite in this category, but his opponent certainly is. But the biggest corner for him in this fight is his inactivity leading up to a title fight, and it’s safe to say the momentum is with the champion here.

Did I mention these two have already faced each other earlier in their careers? Yes, it was 7 years ago but it still counts. Kamaru Usman got the decision victory largely due to landing 6 takedowns in the 3-round event and controlling the majority of the fight. That said, both fighters have come a long way since, and I wouldn’t read too much into this, other than the psychological aspect.

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards Betting Odds

Kamru Usman is listed as the heavy favourite to win this fight at 1.28 odds, whilst Edwards is valued at 3.75 (Unibet). Whilst I agree that Usman has the better chance of winning, I see these odds as… well, odd.

This would mean that Usman has a 75% chance of winning, whilst Edwards only 25%. You can already tell where the value is going to be, even though it’s way too early.

Finally, Unibet is telling me that 98% of punters are betting on Usman to win.

Odds as at 03:00 pm August 5th 2022. Odds may now differ.

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