Check out our top odds, picks, and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 278.
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Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards
A closer look at Edwards’ recent fight history shows a lack of quality that I don’t think is being baked into this line. Outside of his NC vs. Muhammad, Edwards has beaten aging fighters in the last few years in Nate Diaz, Rafael Dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, and Donald Cerrone; the average age of 37 and total fights of 39.
With no one else to beat in this division, look for Usman to handle Edwards inside the distance and move on to another division to dominate.
Best Bet: Kamaru Usman Inside the Distance (+250 via DraftKings)
Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili
The winner of this fight will be the person whose style prevails. If Dvalishvili can successfully take down Aldo, then he could rack up control time and win via decision.
If Aldo can keep It standing, then he will have the advantage in striking. With his 90% takedown defense and vastly superior experience, I believe Aldo’s style will prevail.
Dvalishvili has never been finished in his pro career, and all three of Aldo’s previous wins came via unanimous decision. Keeping the fight standing, Aldo should be able to stifle Dvalishvili’s takedown attempts and frustrate him with his superior striking.
Prediction: Jose Aldo to Win via Unanimous Decision
Best Bet: Jose Aldo Moneyline (+110)
Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold
While Costa would be a worthy challenger for any opponent, it’s going to be especially difficult for Rockhold after an extended layoff such as this one. Though it’s not available yet, I’ll be looking to play Paulo Costa inside the distance bets here as well.
Best Bet: Paulo Costa (-280 via DraftKings)
Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Romanov
While Romanov is superior in most aspects of this fight, I think Tybura’s strong takedown defense (82%) can keep this fight standing. If that is the case, then Tybura’s chance for success increases.
That being said, I still give Romanov the advantage in this fight if it is standing. His efficient striking and size could be enough to put Tybura out.
We have seen Tybura’s chin be his undoing multiple times, evidenced by his knockout losses to Augusto Sakai, Shamil Abdurakhimov, and Derrick Lewis. If you are looking for a way to back Romanov in this fight without laying heavy juice, then his knockout prop is worth a shot.
Prediction: Alexander Romanov to Win via Knockout in Rd 2
Best Bet: Alexander Romanov to Win via KO/TKO/DQ (+150)
Wu Yanan vs. Lucie Pudilova
In addition to having the edge in striking, Wanan also holds the edges on the ground, with .7 takedowns per 15 minutes (vs. .16), as well as a takedown accuracy of 30% (vs. 12%). It’s also worth noting that despite losing three straight, Yanan’s losses have all come against certified UFC professionals in Mzkui Inoue, Joselyne Edwards, and Mayra Bueno Silva; combined, which have an MMA record of 35-11-1.
While this will likely be a closely contested fight that goes to the judge’s scorecard, I like for Yanan to get it done.
Best Bet: Wu Yanan (-105 via DraftKings)
Tyson Pedro vs. Harry Hunsucker
The oddsmakers have Tyson Pedro as a massive favorite, coming in at -740 (via DraftKings) to get his hand raised on Saturday. I 100% agree, considering how efficient Pedro was in his fight versus Villanueva after a four-year layoff. He showed patience throughout the bout and looked really quick in avoiding opposing strikes. Ultimately, I think the speed of Pedro will be a major factor in this fight. Hunsucker may pick up a little quickness dropping down to 205, but it won’t be enough to stay competitive on Saturday. The American will likely have a slight advantage in power, but that means nothing if he’s unable to land very often.
The bottom line is that Harry Hunsucker is a one-trick pony in that he wants to stand in there and try to knock you out. On the contrary, Tyson Pedro is a well-rounded brawler. He’ll likely mix in some early kicks to slow down Hunsucker, and I think he’ll opt to take this fight to the canvas. At that point, look for Pedro to put those three black belts to use and lock in a submission.
Pick: Tyson Pedro to Win by Submission (+275 via DraftKings)
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