World champion Kamaru Usman will look to defend his UFC welterweight title against a familiar foe this weekend in his epic rematch with Leon Edwards in Salt Lake City.
In the year After a unanimous decision in their first meeting in 2015, Edwards has had revenge on his mind for the past seven years.
But the challenger has rightly earned his chance at World Cup glory after overcoming a losing streak with a hard-fought win after the last nine matches.
UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 is live on Kayo and Foxtel, Sunday 21 August at 12pm AEST. Order now >
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It hasn’t been a straight path for the British fighter though, with five of his last six fights canceled, including a near-historic meeting with Nate Diaz.
While the fight has been rescheduled for June this year, with Edwards winning by unanimous decision in Glendale, it’s still far from perfect.
Edwards’ stellar run over the last six years, even if he doesn’t fight in 2020, is all leading up to one night — a shot at destiny, revenge and redemption.
Usman is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC today, with Australian Alexander Volkanovsky second in the official rankings.
The man known as the Nigerian Nightmare made his UFC debut against Edwards in that three-round fight, which he largely dominated with six takedowns and 111 total strikes.
Usman became Africa’s first world champion by decision after defeating American Tyron Woodley in Las Vegas a few years ago.
The king of the welterweight division is hanging on to his crown and looking to extend his reign once again.
Usman has defended his title five times, including an impressive knockout win over Jorge Masvidal last year.
But just like the opposition, there is a lot on the line for both champion and challenger as both their careers come full circle on Sunday afternoon (AEST).
In other bouts, Tyson Pedro returns from the longest layoff in UFC history – four years, a big time for the Aussie.
When and where (AEST)
The UFC 278 undercard starts live on ESPN on Foxtel and Kayo from 10am AEST on Sunday 21 August.
The main card can be purchased directly from Kayo or at the main event from midday AEST.
After the 2016 card, Salt Lake City will host UFC Fight Night for the second time.
Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards (welterweight title fight)
Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold (Middleweight)
Jose Aldo vs Merab Divalishvili (Bantamweight)
Wu Yanan vs Lucy Pudilova (Bantamweight)
Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker (Light Heavyweight)
Marcin Tibura vs. Alexander Romanov (Heavyweight)
Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon (Lightweight)
Shawn Woodson vs Luis Saldana (Featherweight)
Miranda Maverick vs Shana Young (Flyweight)
AJ Fletcher vs Ange Llosa (Welterweight)
Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo (Fellowweight)
Eric Lang vs Jay Perrin (Bantamweight)
Both Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards enter the house confident of their much-anticipated rematch, as both look to write their own names into history.
In the other bouts, former World Cup contender Paulo Costa will look to square off against seasoned main eventer Luke Rockhold.
New Zealander Israel Adesanya is the first fighter to defeat Costa in the UFC, winning by TKO in the second round two years ago.
Adesanya advised Rockhold that he could “wear him down” by wrestling and take his opponent to the floor early.
“Luke should take it down,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Luke, start fighting now.
“If he can wrestle with it and wear it out, pull those muscles out. Luke, try to grapple him right away… land some leg kicks, but start grappling right away and wear him down, make him second guess.
“Let him know you’re going down or there’s a threat of going down.”
Veteran fighter Jose Aldo is looking to extend his undefeated streak dating back to December 2020 to four fights.
In the year Aldo, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Conor McGregor in 2015 in 15 seconds, will face Merab Dvalishvili.
But for Australian fight fans, keep an eye out for Tyson Pedro, who returns on his first pay-per-view card since 2018.
Injuries have plagued the 30-year-old’s career over the past few seasons, but he made his return to the cage with a win over Ike Villanueva in April.
Pedro said that he wants to tell his Hollywood biography, he is very popular for this match.
What are they?
Kamaru Usman: “I’m a competitive person. I got into sports and realized that competing and wanting to compete was something that burned inside of me. I wanted to make that guy good. This is the ultimate, mono-e-mono, sport,” Usman told ESPN.
Leon Edwards:“Now is the right time,” Edwards said. “He’s been in so many episodes. He was hurt by Colby, he was hurt by Gilbert. His body is showing this. I’m hotter, bigger, and excited to show the world that I’m number one.
Warrior Jamahal Hill: “Don’t be alert enough for me to see exactly where Leon is right now,” he said. I look at him (Edwards’ final opponent, Nate Diaz) as very talented, but at the level the game is at and where the average guy at the top of the game is, he’s not there.
Israel Adesanya on Rockhold vs Costa: “With time off, hopefully, his brain has recovered as much as it can,” he said. “My brain goes Luke, I go Luke.”
UFC veteran Anthony Smith on Luke Rockhold: “I think Luke is definitely the better fighter, but I’ve talked about the last two guys that Luke has fought,” Smith said. “His thing is always keeping his defense up and his chin up and getting the shot off.”
Courtesy of TAB – Responsible Gambling
Usman $1.27 to Edwards $3.75
Costa $ 1,27 in our Rockhold $ 3,60
Aldo $2.00 vs Dvalishivili $1.80
Pedro $ 1,12 in our Hunsucker $ 5,85
Tybura $ 4,25 vs Romanov $ 1,22
Santos $3.25 and Gordon $1.33
Woodson $ 1,27 in our Saldana $ 3,60
Maverick $ 1.17 in our Young $ 4.80