UFC 278 heads to Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend and is headlined by a Welterweight title fight between current pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman and rampaging contender looking for ten wins on the trot, Leon Edwards. In the co-main Paulo Costa faces off against former champion Luke Rockhold and Brazil’s favourite Jose Aldo looks make another run towards a title when he meets Merab Dvalishvili. We take a look at my three best on this weekend’s pay-per-view card below and I will also be combining all selections in a three leg multi for some value.
UFC 278 Betting Picks
Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards
Since they last met on the prelims of a Fight Night card in 2015 both fighters have put together an incredible run of wins. Kamaru Usman is now the pound-for-pound number one and the dominant Welterweight champion disposing of top contenders Gilbert Burns once and Colby Covington twice. Leon Edwards has been on quite the run himself, despite battling to get fights due to Covid restrictions and cancellations. He has won his last nine fights and has not lost since he faced Usman.
What this boils down to is can Usman dominate wrestling exchanges and I think he can, whether that is on the ground or in the clinch up against the fence. While his striking has come on leaps and bounds under Trevor Wittman, striking is Edwards route to victory. He has only really been in trouble once since losing to Usman in 2015 and that is when he was rocked while complacent against Nate Diaz.
Realistically I would be shocked if Usman doesn’t walk away with his hand raised. He has the reach to be able to fight at range and has the strength and wrestling to dominate clinch and ground exchanges. I expect Edwards to hang tough and have his moments but at the end of five rounds the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ will be the one who gets his hand raised.
Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Romanov
Undefeated prospect Alexander Romanov puts his record on the line this weekend when he meets Marcin Tybura. Romanov is a perfect 16-0 and is a relentless grappler notorious for quick finishes. Tybura is also mainly a wrestler and this presents his toughest test to date yet I am sure Romanov will overcome the challenge. The Moldovan is explosive for his size and bullies his opponents to the mat and from there has a slick submission game or brutal ground and pound to rely on. Sadly, for Tybura I think he is going to be drowned by Romanov’s pressure and be finished likely in the opening minutes.
Amir Albazi vs. Francisco Figueiredo
I have always had a big opinion of Amir Albazi and he returns to the Octagon this weekend off of more than a year and a half layoff when he faces Francisco Figueiredo. Realistically there isn’t an area where Albazi is weak. His grappling is elite and he will give the top Flyweights serious problems. He also showed that he could hold his own on the feet in his win over Zhalgas Zhumagulov. Figueiredo is an exciting fighter to watch with all but two of his wins coming inside the distance, eight by the way of submission. I do think he is badly outclassed here though as Albazi will be able to control the grappling exchanges and I believe has the advantage on the feet. If that isn’t enough already Figueiredo has shown cardio issues in the past and considering the high pace this fight will likely be contested at that does not bode well.