Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the pay-per-view (PPV) business later TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 20, 2022) from inside Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Headlining the event will be a Welterweight title fight between division kingpin, Kamaru Usman, taking on Leon Edwards. In the co-main event, Luke Rockhold will battle Paulo Costa, while Jose Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili collide in a Bantamweight affair one fight prior.
How To Watch/Stream UFC 278
Start Time (United States)
- ESPN+ PPV main card: 10p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT start on ESPN+ (order it here).
- “Prelims” undercard (late): 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT start, streaming online via ESPN+ and simulcast on ABC and ESPN in the United States.
- “Prelims” undercard (early): 6:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT start, streaming online via ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.
In the absence of Jon Jones, Usman has managed to take over the No. 1 spot on the pound-for-pound list thanks to his dominance over the division. And rightfully so, Usman has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon, winning all 15 of his fights with the promotion so far, extending his win streak to 19 straight. One of those wins came over Edwards, the man he is set to face tonight in Salt Lake City. The two men initially threw down in 2015 in what was Usman’s second fight inside the Octagon and Edwards’ fourth. Since that loss, however, Edwards has yet to experience defeat, winning nine straight and one fight being ruled “No Contest” after an eye poke put a halt to his fight against Belal Muhammad. For Edwards, it seems his road to the title fight was a rather long and arduous one, taking him more than seven years to finally get to the big dance. Now that he’s here, he is out to make the most of it.
When it comes to the fight itself, they are somewhat evenly matched on the feet, but when it comes to the wrestling department, Usman has “Rocky” covered. If it goes to the mat, “The Nigerian Nightmare” could very well cruise his way to a unanimous decision victory. But, as he has shown in past fights, he prefers to stand-and-bang to show off his ever-improving striking. And he’s done well against some of the best, including Jorge Masvidal (twice), Colby Covington (twice) Gilbert Burns, and Tyron Woodley. Edwards isn’t exactly known for his knockout power — he has two technical (knockout) wins inside the Octagon — but he does have crisp and tight boxing that helps him get to the winner’s circle. So, if he wants a shot at winning the belt and getting revenge on Usman, he has to keep the fight standing, it really is his only chance. And it’s not a great one, at that, because Usman has improved in that department in each fight.
A late line up change promoted Wu Yanan and Lucie Pudilova to the PPV main card. It was a surprising move to say the least since it meant that the big man showdown between Marcin Tybura and Alexandr Romanov was sent down to the “Prelims.” Plus, it’s not like Wu has been setting the combat world on fire. On the contrary, she has lost three straight and is 1-4 inside the Octagon. As for Pudilova, she is 5-1 in her last six fights, though they have taken place outside of UFC. In her most recent run, she went 0-4 with the promotion.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Shanna Young was in line to face Miranda Maverick in a women’s Flyweight fight this evening before she was hospitalized the day before weigh ins because of weight-cutting complications.
Jake Hadley was forced out of his scheduled bout against Victor Altamirano with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Daniel Lacerda, who has yet to win inside the Octagon in two attempts.
No newcomers at this event.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
In the Heavyweight division, Marcin Tybura will take on Alexandr Romanov. Tybura, ranked No. 11, is coming off a loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC 267, which snapped his five-fight win streak. It was a tough blow for Tyubra, who seemed to be on the cusp of breaking into the Top 10. He will have a tall task if he wants to get back into the win column because he will take on an undefeated monster who is perfect (16-0, 5-0) inside the Octagon
Qileng Aori finally broke through and won his first UFC fight when he defeated Cameron Else earlier this year. Prior to that, he had lost his two fights with the promotion, putting him on thin ice. Now that he has a new lease on his combat life, he hopes to make it two straight when he battles Jay Perrin, who suffered a loss in his UFC debut against Mario Bautista a few months back.
Winner of three straight — two inside the Octagon — Amir Albazi has impressed thus far during his short stint with the promotion. He has a tough test against Francisco Figueiredo, who is 2-1 inside the Octagon and is hoping to gain some more momentum to one day reach the levels his brother — Deiveson Figueiredo — has been able to.
In a fun Welterweight collision, A.J. Fletcher will look to get back in the win column after he suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career in his UFC debut against Matthew Semelsberger. The hulking 170-pounder will take on Ange Loosa, who also came up short in his UFC debut against Mounir Lazzez. Both need a win in the worse way if they want to stay with the promotion.
Also, Jared Gordon will battle Leonardo Santos — loser of two straight in the Lightweight division — while Gordon will attempt to earn a trip back to the winner’s circle after he suffered a loss at the hands of Grant Dawson three months ago.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Rockhold will make his long-awaited return to action to face off against Costa. Rockhold hasn’t competed since July 2019 at UFC 239, where he was knocked out by former Light Heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz, in his lone fight at 205 pounds. Now that he’s back at 185 pounds, the former division champion is out to score his first victory in more than five years. He is currently riding a two-fight losing streak and is just 1-3 since 2016. He has a very hard fight in front of him against Costa, who is also riding a two-fight skid into the fight after losing to Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. Both men need wins here to prevent falling further down the pecking order, but if Rockhold loses his third straight, we might see him take another lengthy hiatus ... if not for good. This is a great match up for both men that could serve as a catalyst for the winner moving forward in the stacked Middleweight division. Rockhold has been letting out all of his frustrations toward UFC this week, which apparently didn’t sit well with the promotion. If Rockhold doesn’t get the win, he could be on his way out, which could be what he wants.
Interest Level: 8/10
Since losing to Petr Yan at UFC 251, Jose Aldo has been on a tear, winning three straight fights over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. His run has been good enough to earn him the No. 3 spot in the Bantamweight division. One more win could very well set him up for a shot at the title. But, he has a very stiff test in front of him because Merab Dvalishvilli, ranked No. 6, hasn't lost in four years. He is currently on a seven-fight win streak so he has a ton of momentum behind him. Aldo loves to stand and bang, but Dvalsivhili isn’t afraid of a dog fight and can hang with the best of them on the feet. He is also a great Sambo technician, which means if he gets up close and personal with Aldo, it won’t end well for the living legend. This is a big chance for both men to prove they are deserving of a championship fight. For Aldo, it could very well be his last chance to earn a title fight, as well as make Drake a bit more richer.
In the Light Heavyweight division, Tyson Pedro will attempt to win his first back-to-back fights since 2017 when he battles Harry Hunsucker, who is in desperate need of a win since he has gone 0-2 in his first two fights with the promotion.
Overall, we have a good night of fights. The rematch should be fire and if Edwards can bring it again like he did in the first fight against “The Nigerian Nightmare,” we could have an upset to look forward to. That said, Usman has been firing on all cylinders so the man who beats him will have to be perfect.
Plus, we get to see if a “scared” Rockhold has made the necessary adjustments to get his MMA career back on track. He’s been talking a good game all week, now he has to back it all up against a dangerous Middleweight who is looking for some redemption of his own after dropping his last two fights. Costa needs a good showing here because one more loss will send him tumbling down the rankings, though it’s safe to say he won’t get cut.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC 278 PPV Main Event On ESPN+ PPV:
170 lbs.: UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards
UFC 278 PPV Main Card On ESPN+ PPV:
185 lbs.: Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold
135 lbs.: Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili
135 lbs.: Wu Yanan vs. Lucie Pudilova
205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro vs. Harry Hunsucker
UFC 278 ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ ‘Prelims’ Under Card:
265 lbs.: Marcin Tybura vs. Alexandr Romanov
155 lbs.: Leonardo Santos vs. Jared Gordon
145 lbs.: Luis Saldana vs. Sean Woodson
125 lbs.: Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young— CANCELED (full details here)
UFC 278 Fight Pass/ESPN/ESPN+ ‘Prelims’ Under Card:
170 lbs.: A.J. Fletcher vs. Ange Loosa
125 lbs.: Amir Albazi vs. Francisco Figueiredo
135 lbs.: Aori Qileng vs. Jay Perrin
125 lbs.: Victor Altamirano vs. Daniel Da Silva
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
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 6:30 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.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 278: “Usman vs. Edwards 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.