Edwards vs Usman odds
The UFC touches down in London for the third time in a year on Saturday, as welterweight champion Leon Edwards defends his belt in a trilogy fight against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286.
The Birmingham native snatched the title with the knockout of the year at UFC 278 in July, connecting with a fifth-round head kick that stopped Usman, who was dominating the fight up to that point.
Edwards’ reward is a fight in front of his home fans, something he has not had the opportunity to do since March 2019.
‘Rocky’ is currently riding a 10-fight winning streak, one of the longest active runs in the promotion, but will enter his first ever title defence as a underdog.
Usman, who saw his own 15-fight win streak broken in that loss, will attempt to become the third two-time welterweight champ in UFC history, following in the footsteps of legendary duo Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was probably the UFC’s most dominant champion during his reign, reeling off five title defences, including three by way of knockout.
He is favoured by the bookmakers to take back his belt, heading to London as the favourite.
Edwards vs Usman prediction
The conclusion of the last fight between these two was not only shocking because of the situation – Edwards was 55 seconds away from a comprehensive loss on the scorecards – but because it reminded everyone how dangerous he can be.
Edwards is one of the most accomplished and technical strikers in the welterweight division, if not the entire UFC, but he has not exactly forged a reputation as a knockout artist at the top level.
In 15 UFC fights, Edwards has only won by knockout on three occasions. Instead, he tends to grind out victories, using his elite kickboxing and distance control to limit damage while landing with regularity.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough of a well-rounded game to do that against Usman, who possesses much-improved striking to go alongside his world-class wrestling.
That much was obvious at UFC 278 as Usman recovered from being taken down for the first time in his career to dominate the fight, taking Edwards down at will and holding his own on the feet before being knocked out as he pressed for a finish in the closing stages.
Usman is unlikely to make the same mistake twice, so Edwards will have to try and keep it close on the scorecards in the early rounds to keep Usman coming forward and create those openings.
While the home crowd may be a factor in Edwards’ favour, Usman has the ability to silence them very quickly by picking up where he left off before that shock knockout in July.
It’s not the most exciting prediction, but backing Usman to win on the scorecards looks the sensible play here.
Usman to win by decision