The O2 Arena in London, England welcomes their very own Welterweight champion, Leon Edwards, as he tries to defend his throne when he faces Kamaru Usman in the main event. In the co-main Justin Gaethje looks to get back on the right track against rising contender Rafael Fiziev and Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidza lock horns in one of the most competitive fights on the card. We take a look at my three best bets below.
UFC 286 Preview & Betting Picks
Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman
Leon Edwards claimed a last gasp victory when he looked dead and buried before landing a highlight reel head kick to win the title against Kamaru Usman. Usman prior to the loss was riding high, the pound for pound number one and looking near on invincible. He dominated the pairs first encounter and was cruising in their second before a lapse in concentration saw him slept. Realistically fighters are never the same after their first bad knockout so there is a big question mark around how the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ will return. However, he has taken his time, gone back to the drawing board and I expect a rejuvenated Usman and expect him to reclaim his throne. If you want to go a bit more value back him to win in the championship rounds or by decision.
Lerone Murphy vs. Gabriel Santos
Lerone Murphy ended up scraping a draw in his Octagon debut after a slow start. Since he has strung together far better performances and finds himself undefeated in 12 fights. Gabriel Santos is an undefeated Brazilian prospect who steps in for Nathaniel Wood on short notice. I like Murphy in this match up as Santos doesn’t have the wrestling to keep Murphy guessing and the Brazilian doesn’t have the pop on his punches to match Murphy on the feet either. I expect him to secure the finish but will just back him straight out to play it safer.
Joanne Wood vs. Luana Carolina
Joanne Wood comes into this weekend’s fight winning only one of her last five and at 37-years-old questions will be being asked if her time is up. Luana Carolina is 3-2 in her last five but hasn’t beaten anyone near the calibre of Wood. While the Scot has been submitted in her last two and just looks a little lost, she should be way too good for Carolina. Wood also has the option to take this down and dominate from top control if things start getting sketchy on the feet.