UFC 278 preview

Salt Lake City plays host to UFC 278 on Saturday night, as Kamaru Usman looks to defend his welterweight title against Leon Edwards in a rematch that has taken seven years to come around.


By Kieran Cobley

Salt Lake City plays host to UFC 278 on Saturday night, as Kamaru Usman looks to defend his welterweight title against Leon Edwards in a rematch that has taken seven years to come around.

Usman comes into the bout on a 19 fight win streak and is in the process of lapping the 170lbs division, having already had rematches with Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, with his main event bout with Edwards being his third rematch in as many years.

For Edwards, UFC 278 sees his long wait for a title fight end after the Birmingham based fighter went through hell and high water to get his shot, racking up a nine fight win streak (not including his no contest with Belal Muhammed) and being taken out of the rankings for his refusal to fight a then un-ranked, Khamzat Chimaev.

The two last squared off in 2015, but both men have evolved since, and you can take a more in-depth preview of their upcoming bout here.

In the co-main event, Paulo Costa will look to show the UFC were right to let him return to the middleweight division after the fiasco with Marvin Vettori as the Brazilian takes on former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

Costa’s shenanigans with his last fight, where he notified the UFC that he wouldn’t be attempting to make 185lbs or the then agreed 195lbs, forced the fight into a light heavyweight bout, were highly unprofessional and were rightly criticised by fans and media alike. Now Costa needs to show that he can make 185lbs and keep his name in the division; otherwise, another forced move to 205lbs could be on the cards.

Meanwhile, Rockhold will try to show that he can still beat top quality opponents despite a weakened chin. The former middleweight champion has lost three of his last four bouts by knockout, showing he is susceptible to a heavy punch.

In what could be a title eliminator for the bantamweight division, Merab Dvalishvili squares off with Jose Aldo, the former featherweight king of the UFC.

Dvalishvili is currently riding a five fight winning streak, utilising his heavy wrestling offence to grind out wins over his opponents by sapping their gas tanks. Nowhere is this better illustrated than by his record of 13 takedowns in a fight when he beat Gustavo Lopez back in 2020.

Aldo has looked impressive since moving to 135lbs, and his notorious leg kicks still give his opponents problems to deal with. “The King of Rio” is known for his knockout ability with 16 wins by KO/TKO, and that would look to be his best chance at winning on Saturday, especially if he can avoid hitting the mat with “The Machine.”

Further down the card, Miranda “The” Maverick is in action as she takes on Shanna Young in a flyweight contest to open the ESPN+ prelims. In contrast, Marcin Tybura takes on Alexander Romanov in a heavyweight bout in the evening’s featured prelim.

The action gets underway from 11pm on UfC Fight Pass, with the main card kicking off at 3am.

Fight Card

Main Card

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards – welterweight title fight

Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold – middleweight bout

Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvil – bantamweight bout

Wu Yunan vs Lucie Pudilova – women’s bantamweight bout

Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker – light heavyweight bout

Preliminary Card

Marcin Tybura vs Alexander Romanov – heavyweight bout

Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon – lightweight bout

Sean Woodson vs Luis Suldana – featherweight bout

Miranda Maverick vs Shanna Young – women’s flyweight bout

A.J. Fletcher vs Ange Loosa – welterweight bout

Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo – flyweight bout

Aori Qilieng vs Jay Perrin – bantamweight bout

Daniel Lacerda vs Victor Altamirano – flywweight bout

Usman vs Edwards II: Repeat or revenge?

UFC 278 takes place this Saturday, August 20th, in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is headlined by the long awaited rematch between current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (20-1, 9 KO, 1 Sub) and top contender Leon Edwards (19-3, 6 KO, 3 Sub, 1 NC).


By Kieran Cobley

UFC 278 takes place this Saturday, August 20th,in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is headlined by the long awaited rematch between current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (20-1, 9 KO, 1 Sub) and top contender Leon Edwards (19-3, 6 KO, 3 Sub, 1 NC).

“The pair first met in 2015, with “The Nigerian Nightmare” scoring a unanimous decision win over Birmingham native Edwards.

But seven years have passed since then, and both men have evolved during that time.

Usman’s reputation of being “boring” fighter who merely goes for decision wins has been shattered, with the TUF 21 winner utilising his wrestling background to take fighters to the mat and keep them there. That was how Usman successfully navigated his first bout with Edwards, securing six takedowns on his way to getting the nod from the judges.

That Usman is long gone. The Usman of 2022 is regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, a fighter who can slam you, tie you in a tight clinch, or simply beat the brakes off you with his new found love of striking.

In three of his last five fights, Usman has scored knockout victories over the man opposite him in the Octagon, with those men being very notable: former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington, and last but not least, the BMF of the UFC, Jorge Masvidal.

This ferocity in striking, brought on from working with Trever Wittman in fight camp while training in Sanford MMA in Florida for the rest of the year, has made Usman lethal. Stepping into his boxing range is like putting your head in the mouth of a lion; nothing good can come of it.

Psychologically, Usman will feel good coming into this bout after seeing his brother, Mohammed, win the TUF Heavyweight final two weeks ago and coming into this fight on a run of 19 consecutive wins.

Edwards’ rise to the top of the welterweight division is nothing to sneer at. Since losing to Usman, the Team Renegade talisman has won nine bouts, with a no contest with Belal Muhammed in the mix too.

While Usman was regarded as being boring due to his heavy wrestling style, fans were equally unimpressed with Edwards, seeing him as a point fighter who lacked finishing ability in a division full of fighters who could get the win within the distance.

It was perhaps this fan resentment that caused Edwards to have to wait for so long for his shot; after all, he did have a more legitimate shout for a title fight than Covington or Masvidal did, with the pair getting rematches not long after being soundly beaten by Usman. At the same time, Edwards was forced to consistently hold onto his position at the top of the rankings.

There was also the issue of Edwards being removed from the rankings for not accepting a fight with the then un-ranked Khamzat Chimaev, instead opting to wait it out for either a title shot or a fight with a notable ranked contender, for instance, Nate Diaz, who Edwards beat easily.

That has to be put to the back of Edwards’ head now, and he needs to focus on Usman, a new Usman, a more dangerous Usman. If Edwards underestimates Usman and still believes him to be the same fighter he was in their first meeting, he will be in deep trouble.

There is no obvious way for Edwards to win this fight; slipping in an out of range against Usman is an impossible task given the man’s abilities and movement skills.

The bookies are certainly in favour of Usman in this fight, making him a heavy favourite with odds of ¼ to win and 11/5 to win by either submission or KO.

However, miracles can happen in MMA; Derrick Lewis’ come from behind KO against Aleksander Volkov, Matt Serra’s underdog win against George Saint-Pierre, and JuliannPena’s KO win against the double champ, Amanda Nunes.

A win for Edwards would undoubtedly be one of the most significant underdogs wins ever, but this is one hell of an uphill battle.

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