The UFC lands in Salt Lake City on Saturday with a PPV card headlined by Kamaru Usman putting the welterweight championship on the line against former foe Leon Edwards in the main event.
Usman and Edwards both bring lengthy winning streaks to their clash. Usman has won 19 straight bouts, including five successful title defenses since capturing the belt in March 2019. Edwards is on a nine-fight winning streak. His most recent loss came against Usman when the two fought in December 2015.
Two other former champions are. In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold returns for the first time since July 2019 when he takes on former title challenger Paulo Costa. Rockhold has not won a fight since September 2017. Costa has also lost two-straight, falling to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and then losing to Marvin Vettori.
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The card also features some rising prospects looking to make a name for themselves. Light heavyweight Tyson Pedro is looking to continue his winning ways when he meets Henry Hunsucker to open the PPV. Pedro returned from a four-year layoff in April to score a TKO over Ike Villanueva. Plus, undefeated heavyweight Alexander Romanov is set to take on veteran Marcin Tybura on the prelims. Romanov is 16-0 with 15 stoppages so far in his career, nine of which have come by submission. Also, Sean Woodson is back in a featherweight contest against Luis Saldana.
The 12-fight card is loaded with intriguing fights, making it the kind of event that can draw plenty of interest from bettors. Luckily for those looking to put a bit of money on the fights, Caesars Sportsbook has you covered for nearly every angle of UFC 278 to get in on the action. We're going to give you a few options to consider with this card from our favorite moneyline play, prop play and parlay play. Let's take a closer look at those picks now.
Best moneyline pick
AJ Fletcher (-160) vs. Ange Loosa
There are a few red flags here in picking Fletcher, not the least of which are his short arms. Despite Fletcher and Loosa being the same height, Loosa has a seven-inch reach advantage. If Loosa is able to keep the fight on the feet, that is probably the recipe for a bad night for Fletcher. Unfortunately for Loosa, he's not particularly disciplined in his attack and Fletcher has the ability to explode through takedowns and has shown a solid chin. Fletcher can also be explosive on the feet, as shown in his Contender Series flying knee knockout that secured a UFC contract. Fletcher is just a stronger play here on the back of a more well-rounded game and a better chance to control where the fight takes place.
Best prop pick
Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili to go the distance: Yes (-200)
This was originally a pick for Miranda Maverick and Shanna Young to go under 2.5 rounds, but Young was forced out of the fight. There aren't a ton of great value prop picks for this card, but Aldo and Dvalishvili going the distance feels like a safe bet at -200. Dvalishvili scored a big TKO of Marlon Moraes his last time out, but that was his first stoppage win in more than three years. Aldo was once a deadly finisher but only one out of his six most recent fights ended in a stoppage, and that came when he was stopped late in the fifth round against Petr Yan. Aldo has shown he can handle top fighters at bantamweight quite well and with this fight just being a three-rounder, I struggle to see a finish materializing for either man.
Best parlay pick
Lucie Pudilova vs. Wu Yanan to go the distance: Yes (-330)
Alexander Romanov (-380) vs. Marcin Tybura
Jared Gordon (-300) vs. Leonardo Santos
Parlay total (+119)
It's not always sexy to lump together three lines at -300 or more. However, these are three "fairly safe picks" (famous last words in gambling) that come out to +119 and the chance to come away with more than double your bet. Pudilova isn't a particularly strong finisher but she is also very adept at not being finished. Yanan has won all but one of her 12 career victories by stoppage, but only one of those came inside the UFC, with the rest all coming against lower-level opposition in China. This has every marking of a fight that goes the full 15 minutes. Meanwhile, it's hard to see Tybura being able to stay standing long enough to use the one edge he has in the fight -- his striking -- to pull off a win. It's a heavyweight fight, so anything can happen, but Romanov is likely to just put Tybura on his back and keep him there as much as he likes. Finally, Santos has good power and reach, but he has displayed miserable cardio throughout his recent fights and Gordon pressures hard and does not have the same issues with his cardio. Expect Gordon to drain Santos and leave him worn out and ineffective quickly.
Who wins UFC 278: Usman vs. Edwards 2? And which fighter is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 278, all from the insider who's up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out.