What to Expect from Usman vs. Edwards 2 at UFC 278

27 Jun , 2022,
A. J. Riot

The UFC is heading to Salt Lake City in August, where the main event will decide who will take the title of welterweight champion. Announced during UFC 275, fans will be treated to a rematch between champion Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards.

The two first met back in December 2015, when Usman scored a comprehensive victory through a unanimous decision. Since then, both fighters have been on a tear: Usman has the second-longest win streak in UFC history with 15, while Edwards is unbeaten in his last ten bouts, not losing since his fight with the man he faces at UFC 278. In the classic tale of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object, something has to give when these two titans of the sport meet.

Kamaru Usman

Usman has, quite frankly, been unstoppable during his run in the UFC. His MMA record stands at 20-1, with a 15-0 record since he stepped foot in a UFC Octagon. Demolishing all in front of him, Usman has garnered quite the reputation and will be heavily favored to equal Anderson Silva’s 16 wins in a row. In fact, on June 22nd, according to the outright sports betting odds on Betway, Usman was priced at odds of -250, while Edwards was staked at odds at +200. The fact that Usman is the bookmaker’s favorite is no surprise, considering his dominant displays inside the cage.

Usman has such an assertive presence over the welterweight division that ESPN has ranked him as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He became the first African fighter to win a UFC title when he dominated Tyron Woodley to win the championship back in March 2019. Since then, Usman has defended his title five times, scoring convincing victories over the likes of Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns. In those contests, he has two Performances of the Night and one Fight of the Night. Such a commanding display is rarely seen in the UFC; staying on top for so long is a testament to his commitment, craft, and preparation. It’s no wonder he’s revered, and it will take an extraordinary performance to knock him off his perch.

Leon Edwards

However, the extraordinary shape of Leon Edwards can’t be ignored. The Jamaican-born star has steadily risen since his loss to Usman seven years ago, becoming UFC’s number two ranked welterweight behind champion Usman and Covington. He has managed all competition in front of him and even headlined two events on his way to challenge for the welterweight title. It will be his first shot at the title since he joined the UFC, proving to be a significant milestone for the 30-year-old and a symbol of how perseverance pays off.

Nonetheless, Edwards isn’t merely taking part to boost Usman’s record. The freestyle fighter will hope his unique in-ring presence and added experience will give him an edge over his opponent this time around. His deadly striking nature could rock Usman in early rounds, but he’ll have to keep his composure as he did in his last fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 263. Diaz would have been an excellent warm-up fight for Usman, with his unorthodox style and notable endurance surprising some of the best fighters in the game. However, that contest was in June 2021, with Edwards’s fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 269 in December 2021 called off due to injury. Even his fight versus Usman has been delayed as the Nigerian recovered from surgery, which means it has been quite some time since Edwards has stepped foot in the Octagon competitively. He will have to muster all his experience to ensure he comes to this fight prepared for war.

Result

The contest will be an intriguing match-up between two fighters who have had two contrasting accents since their last bout. Usman has skyrocketed to the top of the division and the UFC. His meteoric rise with comprehensive victories would see him be favored to walk away as champion, but Edwards can’t be ruled out completely. Going under the radar but still scoring sweeping victories, he has ensured his climb up the welterweight division to earn his title shot. He meets Usman at the perfect time in his career when he can combine his physical prime with experience to pique in this fight.

The fight will be a turning point for each fighter no matter the outcome and will be a delightful treat for fans to see how they have grown since their last contest.