UFC 278: Kamaru Usman Vs Leon Edwards
UFC Welter-Weight Championship Bout
Many people do not even realize that this is a rematch of a fight that took place in 2015. Usman was fresh off his win on the Ultimate Fighter and was making his very first appearance in the UFC. Edwards in his fourth UFC fight had won two out of three of his previous matchups. Since that night, neither of the two fighters has suffered a single loss while accumulating 22 wins between them. This is a rematch seven years in the making.
Usman won that first fight by pressuring Edwards with his relentless grappling and wrestling. Edwards was simply not able to find the spacing required to unleash the deadly striking for which he is well known. Since that time, both fighters have evolved and improved their skills. Edwards has dramatically improved his wrestling and BJJ skills. But Usman has done the opposite, harnessing his boxing skills to the point where he is now a feared knockout artist.
The game plan for both of these fighters is likely to still be similar to what it was seven years ago. Usman will be looking to pressure Edwards against the fence and get takedowns while being ever conscious of opportunities to knock him out. Edwards has a clear advantage in the striking department and will be looking to keep the fight standing as long as possible. But if the fight does go to the ground, he is well equipped to get back to his feet or even find a submission from his back.
This is a fascinating matchup and is one of the most anticipated fights of the year because of the stylistic matchups it presents and the highest quality talent involved.
UFC 278: Paulo Costa Vs Luke Rockhold
This is another fascinating matchup and we have to give props to the match-makers for making this fight happen. It features two dangerous fighters who are both at precarious points in their careers. Poor performances or a devastating knockout by either of these two could signal the imminent end of their careers.
Paulo Costa began his career on an ultra-impressive 13-fight win streak that ultimately garnered him a middle-weight championship bout with Isreal Adesanya. His advancement appeared to be premature as he looked completely outclassed by the champion, ultimately getting knocked out.
In his next fight, Costa was heavily criticized for his unprofessional approach to his weight cut for his fight against Marvin Vettori. Paulo came into the weigh-ins fully 25 pounds overweight while making no excuses or apologies. The fight was ultimately changed to a light-heavyweight bout to accommodate the indignant Costa. Vettori, to his credit, accepted the fight regardless along with a large portion of Costa’s purse and won the fight anyway. It was not a good result for Costa who looked slow-handed and gassed out prematurely. Costa is well known for making excuses for his losses and poor attitude and is not likely to change.
Luke Rockhold is the former middle-weight champion but lost that title in 2016 after being choked out by Michael Bisbing. Rockhold’s career has faltered since that point with two more losses in his past three fights. It has now been a full three years since Luke has seen action in the octagon. He still claims to be fully focused on regaining his title, but if he gets knocked out on Saturday, it could mean the end of his UFC career.
It is fair to say that whichever fighter comes into this fight best prepared mentally should have his hand raised. That is the case in almost every fight but is even more so in this matchup, which is what makes this matchup so interesting. Both men are tremendously talented and dangerous, but each has been criticized for not being fully prepared to perform at their peak abilities.
UFC 278: Jose Aldo Vs Merab Dvalishvili
At 35 years old, Jose Aldo is the grandfather of the bantam-weight division and his UFC pedigree is unmatched by any other fighter currently on the UFC roster. This will be Aldo’s 20th career UFC fight dating back to 2011. He also fought 8 times in the WEC before it was acquired by the UFC and they added the Feather-Weight division to their ranks. Jose has fought in title fights 15 times over his long career. Getting a win in this fight could put him in a position for one last shot at the title before he is forced to retire.
Aldo is best known for his accurate and powerful striking abilities. But what is often overlooked is he has some of the best takedown defences the division has ever seen. That is going to play a major role in determining the winner of this particular fight.
Merab began his UFC in 2017 with two consecutive losses before beginning his current streak of 7 wins in a row. He hails from the huge stable of dominant grapplers who are emerging out of Eastern Europe. His fighting style involves constant pressure and a bulldog attitude that is difficult to handle.
Aldo’s ability, or lack thereof, to handle that pressure is likely to determine the winner of this matchup.
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