MMA

UFC 278: Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman Picks, Predictions, Odds

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards
August 20, 2022 11:50 pm EDT
The Line: Leon Edwards +305 / Kamaru Usman -370
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards fight Saturday in UFC 278 at the Vivint Arena. Usman enters this fight with a 20-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by decision. Edwards enters this fight with a 19-3 record and has won 53 percent of his fights by decision.

Usman has won his last 19 fights and is coming off a November win over Colby Covington. Usman is averaging 4.66 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 52 percent. Usman is averaging 3 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Usman is coming off a decision win at UFC 268 where he landed 158 total strikes and produced 1 takedown. Usman is now 10-0 for his career in decisions, and he’s seen 6 of his last 9 bouts go the distance. The Nigerian Nightmare still hasn’t lost a fight since his second pro fight back in 2013. Usman is a known as a takedown machine with a deep wrestling background, a black belt in BJJ and a quality ground and pound attack. He is a really gifted athlete who usually gets the fight where he wants it and can spend the majority of the fight from the top position wearing down his opponent. However, Usman has shown a much improved striking game over his last few fights, and he’s put himself in the conversation as one of the best fighters in the history of the UFC. This will be Usman’s first career fight in Utah.

Edwards has won 9 of his last 10 fights and is coming off a June (2021) win over Nate Diaz. He is averaging 2.62 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Edwards is averaging 1.48 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 35 percent. He’s coming off a decision win at UFC 263 where he landed 83 strikes and produced 4 takedowns. Edwards has seen his last 4 completed fights got the distance, and he’s 10-2 in career decisions. Rocky hasn’t lost a fight since UFC on Fox 17 nearly 7 years ago. Edwards entered the UFC as a known power striker, but it’s his heavy wrestling approach that’s given him a title shot. Edwards is a highly effective fighter in the clinch and has good use of his knees and elbows as well. He is a crafty southpaw who can be tricky standing up, and he’s never been finished in his career. A purple belt in BJJ, Edwards has become a balanced fighter at 30 years old and has earned a shot at the throne. This will be Edwards’ first career fight in Utah.

This will be a fun rematch from UFC on Fox 17 where the bout took place on the preliminary card. Usman won the fight by decision, where he landed 126 total strikes and produced 6 takedowns. Edwards has improved a lot since, and he’s proven recently he can go 5 rounds. There’s some value in the underdog role here. However, Usman has earned the right to be backed until he shows chinks in the armor. The guy has been dominant over the years and seems to be getting stronger in terms of his striking. Usman has become a balanced fighter who you shouldn’t be willing to bet against. 

Edwards has the upside and the ability to make this competitive, but I’m not betting against Usman. Give me Usman by decision to shave the price.

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Kamaru Usman By Decision

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.
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