Guy Giles makes his pick as Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight belt in a rematch against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City.
Usman v Edwards odds
Almost seven years on from their first fight, Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards meet again at UFC 278, but this time with the welterweight title on the line.
Usman won that initial meeting via unanimous decision, and has since established himself as one of the greatest welterweights in UFC history, as well as the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ remains unbeaten in 15 fights in the UFC, and has successfully defended his title five times since winning the belt against Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019.
His dominance at 170lb is reflected in the odds for his latest title defence, with Usman the favourite in Salt Lake City.
For Edwards, this fight represents a long-awaited and well-deserved first title shot of his UFC career.
‘Rocky’ has not lost since dropping that decision to Usman in 2015, reeling off nine wins and a no-decision against some of the best in the division, including Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos and Vicente Luque.
He is now aiming to become just the second English champion in UFC history, following in the footsteps of Michael Bisping, but the odds are stacked against him.
He is priced at to overthrow Usman and become the new king at 170lb.
Usman v Edwards prediction
Usman made his name in the UFC with his elite wrestling, but has added a well-rounded striking game to his arsenal in recent years under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman.
After winning just one of his first 10 fights in the UFC via knockout, Usman has ended proceedings early in three of his last five, including handing Colby Covington his first KO loss.
He may find it hard to match Edwards’ skill on the feet, though, with the Birmingham native possessing some of the best stand-up in the division.
Edwards is a kickboxer by trade, and his slick striking along with elite distance control make him a dangerous prospect for Usman. He has also never been finished on the feet in his 22-fight career.
Usman does have the ability to drag opponents into deep water with his devastating power, impressive chin, and world-class cardio, and will be a knockout threat throughout the five rounds.
He will know, however, that he holds a clear advantage in any grappling exchanges, and could look to dominate the fight on the ground, using his size and strength to overpower Edwards while avoiding any threat on the feet.
The challenger, meanwhile, must keep this fight off the mat if he is to have any chance of winning, but Usman only needs one takedown per round to ragdoll his way to a sixth title defence.
A repeat result of their first fight looks a good bet on Saturday.
Usman to win by decision
Visit Betway’s UFC betting page.