The most dominant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion faces an old rival this Saturday evening (Aug. 20, 2022) when Kamaru Usman defends his Welterweight title against the surging Leon Edwards inside Vivent Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. UFC 278’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card also features the return of Luke Rockhold against the lethal Paulo Costa, as well as a potential Bantamweight final eliminator pitting Merab Dvalishvili against Jose Aldo.
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What Went Wrong at UFC San Diego?
You know what? I’ve decided to change things up a bit for this one. I’ll break everything down bout-by-bout, because if it’s gonna be a death spiral, it’s gonna be a fun death spiral.
I would have done it again. Godinez entered the fight as one of the most prolific takedown artists in the division, and her two previous UFC losses to Jessica Penne and Luana Carolina came about because she was too focused on wrestling. All she had to do was consistently push for takedowns against a woman in Angela Hill who’d just been completely neutralized by Virna Jandiroba on the mat, and the fact that she only shot twice defies belief.
I’m not so far gone I don’t see that he should have lost, but again, that was a complete 180-degree turn from his usual style. Buday only made occasional attempts to put Brzeski against the fence despite a 50-pound weight advantage, which allowed Brzeski to take advantage of “Badys’” lack of speed and rack up damage at a distance. Credit to Brzeski for tightening up his gas tank, but a big fat question mark for Buday of abandoning his best skill.
He made one very bad decision and Tyson Nam capitalized perfectly. It was clear early on that Osbourne had the right approach, peppering Nam while steering clear of the big right hand, and he threw it all away. Osbourne’s had brain farts before, like when he gave Brian Kelleher his neck, but I didn’t anticipate him literally jumping face-first at one of the division’s heaviest hitters.
He was more hesitant to impose his will than I expected, but he still forced a draw with that late surge, so no harm done.
Perfect, no notes.
The last time Onama fought an ultra-aggressive cardio freak in Mason Jones, his gas tank largely held up despite the short notice. I figured he’d knockout Nate Landwehr before that even became a factor, which he kind of did, but I have never seen his body just give out like that.
It wasn’t as dominant as I expected, but still turned in a good performance.
No defending that one. Lipski had never shown durability issues before, but her technical skills seemed to evaporate as soon as she got cracked. Whether it was the COVID or something else, I badly overestimated her.
I straight-up do not understand what happened to that guy. His striking’s always been limited, but never like that, and it boggles the mind that he absorbed Alex Pereira’s death hook, but got slumped by Gerald Meerschaert of all people. I have to assume he about killed himself making weight, because that did not look like the “Blindado” we know.
UFC 278 Odds For The Under Card:
Jared Gordon (-275) vs. Leonardo Santos (+230)
Santos’ current two-fight skid is less damning than it looks on paper; he was more than holding his own against Grant Dawson before a last-minute brain fart and had Clay Guida dead to rights before emptying his gas tank. The more worrying effort was actually his win over Roman Bogatov, as Santos was absolutely dead on his feet by the time the third rolled around. An aggressive cardio machine like Gordon seems perfectly suited to wearing the Brazilian down, and while Santos could potentially clip him early thanks to his power and huge reach advantage, a moderate bet on “Flash” makes sense.
Lucie Pudilova (-130) vs. Wu Yanan (+110)
I’d leave this one alone, honestly. All signs point to a contentious decision, as both women are fond of rapid-fire exchanges and neither is a particularly adept finisher. Gun to my head, I favor Pudilova’s aggression, but not enough to put money down.
Sean Woodson (-320) vs. Luis Saldana (+265)
Luis Saldana is heading into his fourth Octagon bout and he still has no idea how to pace himself. He’s slick as can be in the first round, but his gas tank has failed him against even relatively passive opponents like Bruno Souza. I can’t say the same about Woodson, who’s not only taller and rangier than Saldana, but capable of maintaining his incredible output well into the third round. While it’s relatively even when both men are at their peak thanks to Saldana’s movement and kicking prowess, it’s going to get more and more one-sided as the fight progresses. Woodson is a safe parlay anchor.
A.J. Fletcher (-150) vs. Ange Loosa (+130)
Loosa is unquestionably a live dog. The last two times we’ve seen him on a big stage, he’s been up against terrible match ups; Jack Della Maddalena was far sharper than Loosa on the inside and Mounir Lazzaez used his length masterfully to keep “The Last Ninja” from ever getting settled. Fletcher’s hilariously short arms will give Loosa plenty of opportunities to work in his wheelhouse, but I still think Fletcher’s the one worth investing in. “The Ghost” showed off an extremely powerful double-leg against Matthew Semelsberger, which should work well against someone as fond of naked low kicks as Loosa, and his ability to stand up to Semelsberger’s power is a good sign for his chances on the feet.
Miranda Maverick (-520) vs. Shanna Young (+410)
Yeah, Maverick’s going to eat Young alive. “The Shanimal’s” grappling is an Achilles’ heel she can’t seem to fix, from getting dominated on the mat by Sarah Alpar on Contender Series to running directly into Stephanie Egger’s clinch. There’s very little stopping Maverick from just bulldozing her to the mat and dominating from there.
Amir Albazi (-410) vs. Francisco Figueiredo (+330)
It’s not that I dislike underdogs, but there aren’t exactly a lot of appealing underdogs here. Albazi’s wrestling and overall Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills far outstrip Figueiredo’s, and I’m not convinced “Sniper” has any sort of striking edge, either. On top of that, Figueiredo’s cardio is awful, meaning the best he can hope for is a competitive first round before Albazi takes over completely.
Victor Altamirano (-190) vs. Daniel da Silva (+160)
Stay the hell away from this one. da Silva is as talented as he is volatile. And while he’ll likely find some way to shoot himself in the foot, I can just as easily see him kicking Altamirano’s head off when the latter dips with his hands low.
Aoriqileng (-170) vs. Jay Perrin (+145)
This really boils down to what you think of Aoriqileng’s grappling. In a stand up battle, his power and raw aggression will be incredibly effective against Perrin’s linear kickboxing. If “The Mongolian Murderer” gets lazy like he did against Cody Durden, though, Perrin’s got enough wrestling chops to ruin his day. Still, Perrin struggled so much in the clinch against Mario Bautista that I’m willing to toss some money Aoriqileng’s way.
Summary: Woodson, Maverick and Albazi are the near-guarantees their odds suggest. Gordon is right on the edge of being a safe pick and it’s a judgment call as to whether Santos’ power is enough of a threat to play the underdog. Pudilova vs. Wu and Altamirano vs. da Silva are too shaky to invest in. I favor Fletcher and Aoriqileng in the closer match ups, but their opponents have avenues to victory.
UFC 278 Odds For The Main Card:
Kamaru Usman (-380) vs. Leon Edwards (+310)
I’m just not sure what Edwards is supposed to do in this match up. He’s not winning a clinch battle with Usman in this or any universe and he lacks the stopping power to make his low-output style work against someone this persistent and well-conditioned. Usman’s not invincible, but the style Edwards has crafted over the years is just not equipped to deal with what Usman brings to the table.
Paulo Costa (-315) vs. Luke Rockhold (+260)
As a rule, I don’t enjoy betting on fights where one of the combatants is coming off a long layoff, but you have to go with Costa here. A meathead he may be, but he’s a very powerful, very durable, and very well-conditioned meathead fighting a 37-year-old with obvious defensive flaws and a degraded chin. If American Kickboxing Academy (A.K.A.) couldn’t hammer Rockhold’s over-reliance on the check hook and tendency to back straight up out of him before, they never will.
Merab Dvalishvili (-125) vs. Jose Aldo (+105)
If you’re going to bet on anyone in this showdown, make it Aldo. He remains one of the division’s most potent counter-wrestlers after all these years and has the striking skills to clip Dvalishvili the way Marlon Moraes did last time out. This isn’t a huge ringing DEAL OF A LIFETIME endorsement, but a flyer could make sense.
Alexandr Romanov (-460) vs. Marcin Tybura (+370)
While a good step up for Romanov on paper, it’s hard to argue that Tybura isn’t in for a bad time. If this were the Romanov who sputtered against Juan Espino, “Tybur” would have a real chance of using his own wrestling skills to wear the big man down. That seems a lot more far-fetched against the newer, sleeker Romanov, who seems to have Tybura beat in most areas of the game. Tybura’s still the better kickboxer, at least, but I can’t see him staying standing long enough to properly utilize it.
Tyson Pedro (-740) vs. Harry Hunsucker (+540)
Please tell me I don’t have to explain to you why Pedro wins this.
Summary: The major favorites are major favorites for a reason, and I don’t see any of them suffering upsets. Aldo is the most appealing underdog on the card, but caution should be taken.
Overall, the matchmaking in this event is so lopsided that multi-leg parlays are the best course of action. Of the major underdogs, Leonardo Santos seems the likeliest to flip the script, and I still think his cardio issues make his opponent the better investment.
UFC 278 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Alexandr Romanov, Sean Woodson and Aoriqileng: Bet $100 to make $154
- Parlay — Jared Gordon and AJ Fletcher: Bet $100 to make $127
- Parlay — Amir Albazi, Tyson Pedro, and Jose Aldo: Bet $50 to make $94.50
- Parlay — Miranda Maverick, Kamaru Usman, and Paulo Costa: Bet $100 to make $98.03
There are some real bangers here, even with the wonky matchmaking. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2022: $600
Current Total: $351.32
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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