In the main event of UFC 278 on Saturday night, August 20, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kamaru Usman puts the welterweight championship on the line against Leon Edwards. If you're looking for bets on this one, you came to the right place. We're breaking down the best matches on the card and we're feeling confident in our picks for this one.
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UFC 278 Betting Guide - Featured Fights and Favorite Bets
Alexander Romanov vs. Marcin Tybura - Heavyweight Bout
Alexander Romanov (16-0) will look to keep his undefeated record intact at UFC 278 against Marcin Tybura (22-7). Romanov began his career with Eagles FC, and after 11 straight wins and finishes, he signed with the UFC in 2020. Romanov's dominance continued in the world's top promotion, with five straight wins to start his UFC path to superstardom.
The Moldovan fighter possesses technique and speed that rarely visits the heavyweight division. Rather than relying on powerful knockout power, Romanov likes to strike at a moderate pace, and when the opportunity presents itself, get his opponent on their back. Once on the ground, his top position ground-and-pound, coupled with his deadly submission game, often results in the referee being forced to stop the fight with Romanov getting his hand raised.
Across the octagon, Tybura is a grizzled UFC veteran, and at 36 years old, he feels this is the opportunity he needs to climb the competitive heavyweight rankings. Before his recent loss to Alexander Volkov, Tybura was in possession of a five-fight win streak, and will certainly be looking to use Romanov’s hype to his advantage.
Tybura has a well-rounded resume, with nine wins by knockout, seven by decision, and six by submission. However, this is misleading as all six of his submission wins came before his 2016 UFC debut. Given the fact that his last two wins have come via knockout, he will feel as though he has the advantage over Romanov on the feet, and will likely be looking to repeat what has brought his success in the UFC and keep the fight upright. He has the ability to knock Romanov out, and with a respectable 82% takedown defense will be hoping he has the chance to use it.
Personally, I am shocked Tybura took this fight, and feel he will be dominated from start to finish. Romanov is clearly headed towards big things, and is likely better than his #13 ranking suggests, leaving Tybura, who is currently ranked 11th, in a lose-lose situation. When he inevitably gets tapped or knocked out by Romanov, he may wake up Monday morning having slipped out of the heavyweight rankings. Romanov is the real deal and I foresee another display of domination against Tybura, keeping Romanov’s undefeated record intact.
Coming in at -425, there is not much room for profits on the moneyline. However, Romanov has a -110 price tag to finish the fight early, and considering 15 out of his 16 wins have come this way, it seems too good to be true. Given the fact that this prop encompasses both knockouts and submissions, and it is at coin-flip odds, I certainly think Romanov has a likely chance to win the fight, and to make it quick. Take this pick, parlay it or use it straight up to build your bankroll for the rest of UFC 278.
PICK: Romanov By Finish (-110)
Keys to victory: Keep distance, then strike.
Tybura will be looking to keep this fight on the feet, and bring Romanov in close. Romanov must keep his distance, then take him down and put his lethal top game to work.
Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili — Bantamweight Bout
Jose Aldo (31-7) will be looking to get back into the featherweight title picture at UFC 278 against Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Aldo has had an illustrious UFC career, and with three straight wins under his belt, will certainly feel a fourth may be enough for another title shot.
Aldo’s UFC career got off to a hot start, winning his first seven title fights and setting the UFC featherweight record, which remains today in the process. After losing his belt via a 13-second Conor McGregor knockout, Aldo’s career went sideways going 3-5 in the subsequent fights, and after three straight defeats, many thought the 35-year-old should hang up his gloves. However, wins against Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font silenced the criticisms and has Aldo primed for another shot at UFC glory.
Aldo boasts a 90% career takedown defense, and has the striking ability to compete with anyone on the roster upright. Throughout his career, Aldo has been able to prevent his opponents from dictating the pace of the fight, and knows against a cardio specialist like Dvalishvili, he must stand strong and do so again.
His opponent, Dvalishvili, has other ideas. On paper, Dvalishvili got off to a rocky start to his UFC career, dropping his first two fights, but in both of these fights, and his next seven UFC wins, he outstruck his opponents and landed more takedowns. Having dominated his first nine UFC fights, Dvalishvili will be feeling very confident that if he sticks to his game plan against Aldo, which consists of constant pressure and getting his opponent to his back, the positive results will continue. Despite the discrepancy in striking numbers, and the quantity of takedowns he lands, neither of these are Dvalishvili’s best feature.
The gas tank on Dvalishvili is truly the best in the sport, and he makes full use of this advantage, with relentless pressure from the first minute to the last. By smothering his opponent, Dvalishvili will force Aldo into making mistakes, and has the tools to quickly capitalize.
This marquee matchup will come down to whether or not Aldo’s takedown defense holds up. Aldo knows the takedowns and "in your face" pressure will be coming for him Saturday night, and the takedown defense will heavily sway the outcome of the fight. Dvalishvili relies on gassing his opponents, and racking up absurd striking numbers in the process.
I foresee Aldo being no different, and ultimately succumbing to the pressure. Aldo may boast a 90% defense rate, but when Dvalishvili attempts 25+ takedowns on him, some will certainly get through. Aldo’s fairytale comeback run to the title has been fun to watch, but it ends at Dvalishvili. After a dominant display against the former champ, a title shot for Dvalishvili will be on the horizon.
PICK: Merab Dvalishvili (-120)
Key to victory: Keep the pace.
Dvalishvili relies on constant, exhausting pressure to achieve success. There is no doubt in my mind that if he can put Aldo in deep waters, he will find victory Saturday night.
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UFC 278 MAIN EVENT: Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 2 - Welterweight Title Bout
Kamaru "The Nigerian Nightmare" Usman (20-1) faces Leon “Rocky” Edwards in the main event at UFC 278, with the welterweight belt on the line. Usman’s reputation and record-breaking accomplishments speak for themselves, and include the longest welterweight win streak (15), being named the 2021 Fighter of the Year, a spotless 100% takedown defense, to go with his 15-0 UFC record.
Usman has shown he can out-strike, out-wrestle, and out-muscle the UFC elites, and is already in the GOAT conversation, despite still having several years left in his career. His latest challenger is Edwards, who has a respectable nine-fight win streak coming into the rematch against Usman, who also happens to be his most recent loss.
In late 2015, these two opponents met with Usman comfortably out-striking (126-36) and out-wrestling (6-0 takedowns) Edwards. It was a rather one-sided fight, and brought Edwards’s UFC record to a mediocre 2-2. Usman used that win in his UFC debut to gain confidence and springboard him on the upward trajectory he has rode since then. Usman is truly one of the elite UFC fighters and will be looking to make Edwards his most recent punching bag.
Alternatively, this is the biggest fight of Edwards’ life. Edwards was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Birmingham, England at the age of nine. He fell into the wrong crowd and claims mixed martial arts saved his life. After a subpar 2-2 start to his UFC career, Edwards rattled off nine constructive wins.
In this under-appreciated win streak, he has taken down UFC staples such as Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, Vicente Luque and Donald Cerrone (when he was good). Edwards feels this title shot is long overdue and plans to go on a long title reign following his planned defeat of Usman.
The key to this fight will be Usman’s gameplan. Edwards’ gameplan is much more predictable, as while he may mix in a few takedown attempts, he knows the most likely path to victory against the man who has never been taken down is his striking.
On the other hand, Usman has put his wrestling background to good use by dominating opponents on the mat, and has shown a vast improvement in his striking, famously knocking striking specialist Jorge Masvidal out cold. This fight will likely go where Usman decides to take it, and Edwards will have to adapt. Unless Edwards comes out and takes down Usman, which has never been done, he will have to out-work, and out-class Usman on the feet, which I simply don’t see happening.
In short, Usman out-strikes him on the feet, out-wrestles him on the mat and continues to show why he is one of the greatest mixed martial artists in history.
PICK: Kamaru Usman (-400) - If it's a little too rich for your blood, you can always use it to anchor your parlays.
Key to victory: Keep focus.
Usman has been on top of the division for several years and he must not take his opponent lightly. While Edwards doesn’t necessarily possess a specific challenge Usman can't handle, he is a UFC fighter who has no real holes in his game. Usman must stay focused on the challenge at hand.