UFC 278 Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions For Usman vs Edwards
Adam Martin | 10 mins
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The Octagon travels to Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah this Saturday for UFC 278. This pay-per-view card features the rematch between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Leon Edwards, plus 12 other fights.
Let's break down the main event, as well as two other fights, as we give you our UFC picks for the weekend.
UFC 278 Main Event Prediction
Kamaru Usman (-380) vs. Leon Edwards (+310)
The main event of UFC 278 sees UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman take on Leon Edwards. This is a rematch of their bout in 2015, which Usman won by decision. Seven years later, I see the rematch going the same way with another win for Usman, who is a -380 favorite on UFC betting sites.
At this point, it’s nearly impossible to pick against Usman. The 35-year-old “Nigerian Nightmare” is a perfect 15-0 in the UFC since joining the promotion back in 2015. He won “The Ultimate Fighter” that year to get into the UFC, and since then has turned into the best fighter on the planet. He is currently the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and is showing no signs of slowing down.
He has fought the best fighters in the division, including Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns, and he has beaten them all. Usman has the best wrestling in the division, his striking is improving, and he has phenomenal conditioning. There are no weaknesses in Usman’s game and everything he does is elite. There is a reason why he is the UFC welterweight champ.
Edwards is also a great fighter in his own right. At age 30, he’s in the prime of his career. Since joining the UFC in 2014, Edwards has lost just twice, and one of those losses came against Usman just four fights into Edwards' UFC career. Edwards is a fantastic striker with improved grappling skills, and he’s one of the best welterweights in the sport today.
Riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak into this bout, Edwards is coming off the biggest win of his MMA career over Nate Diaz. However, he did get rocked in that fight, and that’s worrisome against Usman, who is a huge power puncher. I’m also worried about Edwards’ takedown defense. It’s just 70%, which is far from elite, and that could prove to be an issue going up against a wrestler like Usman. If Edwards can keep this fight standing, he has a chance to win, but that’s a very big if.
Edwards is great, but Usman is the best MMA fighter in the world, and until he loses, I can’t pick against him. Give me Usman to win as a -380 favorite on betting sites, and with Edwards being so durable and tough to finish, I expect Usman to once again win a decision on the scorecards.
The Pick: Kamaru Usman wins at -380 with DraftKings Sportsbook ➜
Alternative Pick: Kamaru Usman wins by decision
Other UFC 278 Best Bets & Predictions
Aoriqileng (-170) vs. Jay Perrin (+145)
On the preliminary card, Aoriqileng takes on Jay Perrin. Aoriqileng is a short -170 favorite on betting apps, and I like him to get his hand raised.
Aoriqileng is only 1-2 in the UFC, but overall he has performed better than his record indicates. The 29-year-old China native lost a close decision to Jeff Molina in his UFC debut and then followed it up with another close decision loss to Cody Durden. After losing two close fights, he finally showed off his potential with a vicious TKO win over Cameron Else in his last outing. With 31 professional MMA fights, Aoriqileng is very experienced and yet he is still on the right side of 30 years old. There is a lot to like about Aoriqileng and he continues to improve his game.
Perrin is also 29 years old and is 0-1 in the UFC so far, with a decision loss to Mario Bautista. He is decently experienced with 15 pro MMA fights but he hasn’t shown he can win at this level yet. He is durable and hard to finish, with four of his five losses coming by decision, but I’m just not convinced he has what it takes to beat Aoriqileng in this spot.
It feels like a difficult fight for Perrin to win, given he is going up against someone who is arguably more talented and who has more professional experience overall, as well as more experience in the Octagon.
I like Aoriqileng to win this fight as a -170 favorite and I think those are good odds. With Perrin being so durable, I would go with Aoriqileng to win by decision if you want to bet on a prop.
The Pick: Aoriqileng wins at -170 with DraftKings Sportsbook ➜
Alternative Pick: Aoriqileng wins by decision
NOTE: Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young was scratched on Friday after Young was hospitalized prior to the weigh-ins. I left my analysis here for the fight, but you will no longer be able to place a wager on this matchup.
Miranda Maverick (-520) vs. Shanna Young (+410)
On the preliminary card, Miranda Maverick takes on Shanna Young. Maverick is one of the biggest favorites on the card at -520, and I’m convinced she defeats Young in this fight. Not only do I think she wins the fight, but I’m predicting Maverick wins the fight inside the distance. I didn’t want to give out such a big favorite as a best bet, but note there are seven -300 or better favorites on this card. Out of those seven big favorites, Maverick is my most confident pick.
This is, in fact, a rematch after Maverick and Young previously met in Invicta FC back in 2019. Maverick won that fight by submission in the first round, and she was signed by UFC one fight later. Since joining the UFC in 2020, Maverick is 3-2 in the Octagon but really she should be 4-1 since her loss to Maycee Barber was a highly controversial decision. At just 25 years of age, Maverick has shown well-rounded MMA skills, including fantastic grappling and improved striking. She also has top-notch conditioning and pushes a high pace for the full 15 minutes. In many ways, Maverick has all of the qualities you want in a future title contender.
Young, meanwhile, has struggled so far in the UFC. At age 31, she is just 1-2 overall. Although she did come back to win her last fight against Gina Mazany, she has shown she can be taken down to the ground and finished on the mat. Now she's taking on a young killer in Maverick for the second time, and the first fight didn’t go so great. I’m just not sure how she wins this fight.
Young is the inferior striker and grappler, and her conditioning won’t help her as much as it did in her previous fight. There just isn’t any reason to think that Young has a chance to win this fight, as Maverick should dominate.
As soon as this fight was announced, I liked Maverick to win. She’s a -520 favorite, so the line is obviously high, but I am confident she wins this fight. If you want to get better odds on her winning, then take a look at the line on Maverick inside the distance. I believe submission is the most likely outcome, but a knockout via ground-and-pound is possible.
The Pick: Miranda Maverick wins at -520 with DraftKings Sportsbook ➜
Alternative Pick: Miranda Maverick wins inside the distance