When welterweight prospects Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards met in the octagon, in December of 2015, they were considered two of the most exciting up-and-comers in the sport. The battle did not fail; Usman won by unanimous decision but each man had moments of brilliance. Fast forward to 2022 and the two men are set to meet again, but this time the circumstances are different and the stakes are higher. Usman is the reigning welterweight champion and the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Their rematch will be the main event of the night during UFC 278. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Embed from Getty Images
Usman vs. Edwards
Kamaru Usman hasn’t lost inside the octagon since May of 2013. Since then, he’s on a nineteen-fight winning streak. At the same time, he was able to become the reigning UFC welterweight champion while also being recognized as the best pound-for-pound performer in the organization. His wars against Colby Covington were not only highly anticipated within the mixed martial arts community, they transcended the platform and resonated with casual sports fans who may not regularly watch combat sports. After five successful title defenses, the champion shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Embed from Getty Images
Leon Edwards hasn’t lost a fight since his fight with Kamaru Usman nearly seven years ago. It looks like the two will meet in the octagon for a rematch sooner rather than later. However, Edwards was known to take victories without joy. The world of combat sports is as much about ticket sales as it is about the technicalities of the sport itself. Edwards has achieved one victory by submission and one victory by knockout in the past seven years; the rest of his wins have come by decision. The lack of stoppages is the reason why the organization’s upper-management is in no rush to give Edwards a title. However, a win on August 20 would be vindication for Edwards, however it turns out. Be sure to tune in when Usman and Edwards face off for the second time in their illustrious career!
Embed from Getty Images
Costa vs. Rockhold
Middleweight challenger Paulo Costa has lost each of his last two fights. Having won the first thirteen fights of his career, Costa is still viewed by most pundits as an elite fighter in the division with a chance to become a champion one day if he is able to update his strategy. The fact that his defeats came at the hands of reigning champion, Israel Adesanya, and long-term rival, Marvin Vettori, led most observers to believe that Costa was still one step ahead of the “runners also” of the division. On August 20th, Costa will have a chance to remind the world why he is sixth in the organization’s divisional rankings.
Luke Rockhold is a former Strikeforce MMA middleweight champion, with two successful title defenses. After making his UFC debut in May of 2013, it took him two and a half years to reach the pinnacle of the most prominent mixed martial arts organization in the world. However, in December of 2015, he became the UFC middleweight champion at UFC 194. Losing the belt in his next fight, to future ringside comedian, Michael Bisping, Rockhold has struggled to appear elite since his most recent victory. However, if he can emerge victorious on August 20, it will breathe new life into what has been an excellent career.
Aldo against Dvalishvili
The current bantamweight challenger, José Aldo, is a featherweight legend. He once had seven consecutive successful title defenses of the UFC featherweight championship belt. The seven title defenses were part of a remarkable eighteen-fight unbeaten streak. While a portion of the fights occurred while Aldo was a member of other organizations, the mark he left on the UFC is undeniable. At 35, he’s excited about the fact that he’s closer to the end of his career than it was when he started, but fans of mixed martial arts owe him a debt of gratitude whenever he decides to step away from the octagon for good. .
31-year-old Georgian bantamweight, Merab Dvalishvili, is on a seven-fight winning streak that began in April of 2018. In his four-year undefeated streak, Dvalishvili has managed to climb to sixth place in bantamweight of the UFC ranking. Pundits openly criticized his inactivity; he only fought once in the calendar year of 2019. However, every time Dvalishvili steps into the octagon, he gives the audience maximum effort and the watchers never feel cheated. You won’t want to miss when Aldo and Dvalishvili go to war with each other on August 20!
Wu vs. Pudilova
Yanan Wu became a professional mixed martial arts fighter in 2013, when he was just 17-years-old. Although he had a seven-fight winning streak and four fights, at various points in his career, he found himself in the midst of a three-fight losing streak. Lucie Pudilová is also a respected veteran of the sport, having been a professional fighter since 2014. These two bantamweights are each approaching a decade on the professional stage and neither of them has reached the 30-year- old Fans won’t want to miss these two time-tested athletes, each in their physical prime, going right here in the middle of the octagon!
Peter against the Hunsucker
Light Heavyweight challenger Tyson Pedro is a Black Belt in Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His opponent, Harry Hunsucker was a self-taught barroom brawler from Kentucky, who competed in regional tournaments in the Southeast United States until the UFC invited him to compete in two editions of Against the night in 2021. Pedro is the overwhelming favorite heading into their fight, but the world of combat sports is full of surprises. It’s the classic case of the world-class-trained athlete versus the longshot from the shadows; you don’t want to miss it!
How to watch
UFC 278 can be viewed via pay-per-view on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the results of the matches, as well as in-depth analysis, available right here on World in Sport!