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UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 - Aug 20 🇺🇸


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I’m banging these threads out but sod it. This is less than a month out now! Salt Lake City, Utah of all places hosts this one…


Kamaru Usman© vs Leon Edwards - Welterweight Title

Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold

Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvili 

Lucie Pudilova vs Wu Yanan

Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker  

Marcin Tybura vs Alexandr Romanov

Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon

Sean Woodson vs Luis Saldana

AJ Fletcher vs Ange Loosa

Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo

Aori Qileng vs Jay Perrin

Victor Altamirano vs Daniel Da Silva 


Might be more added to the card yet but I wanted to get the thread up with the card fast approaching. Kind of like 277, it’s not a mega stacked card for a PPV and the prelims look very slim. But I love the top 3 fights there and Romanov is always a welcome addition to any card. It’ll do.



Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards 2 headlines this bad boy. Happy with this. For a while it kind of looked like the UFC were gonna go in a different direction for Usman’s next title defence. There was speculation that they might just do Usman vs Khamzat Chimaev after Khamzat beat Gilbert Burns. And of course, there’s always the dopey Conor McGregor talk. Usman vs McGregor was actually being rumoured at one point. Thankfully, common sense prevailed. This is the right fight to make for now. Chimaev will get there eventually. McGregor can fuck off. I like this fight a lot. Edwards is a different kind of style of opponent to Usman’s last few and of course it’s a rematch.


They met all the way back in December 2015 on FOX. Usman won via unanimous decision. I’ll be honest, I have zero recollection of that fight. And looking the card up now, I see it was actually on the Fight Pass prelims that night! They’ve both come a long way. I probably never even saw the fight at all. I don’t think I signed up to Fight Pass until a couple of years later. So I’ll be looking forward to finally sitting down and doing my usual thing of watching and reviewing that one before the rematch here. Not that I expect there’ll be a lot to take from it. They’ve both improved a lot in the 7 years since they first met. But it’ll be interesting to watch all the same.


What more can even be said about Usman at this point? One of the pound-for-pound best fighters on the planet right now. I think only Volkanovski is ahead of him for me but I wouldn’t argue if you had Usman at #1. He’s that good. He’s 20-1, on a 19 fight winning streak, has defended the title 5 times already and at 35 years old, is showing no signs of slowing down yet. Of course he will. At 35 he’s already outlived your average Welterweight’s prime. But based on how he’s looked recently, there’s no indication that his decline is coming anytime soon. He’s beat Colby Covington twice, Jorge Masvidal twice, Gilbert Burns, Tyron Woodley, Rafael Dos Anjos, Demian Maia, Sean Strickland and, of course, Leon Edwards. An insane run. The only one that was really close was the first Covington fight and, even then, Usman rendered the judges redundant by ending Colby’s jaw in the 5th round. He got dropped by Burns but immediately came back to put a beating on him and stop him. The Masvidal knockout in their second fight was absolutely devastating.


It’s been a hell of a reign so far. And like I say, still going strong. But looking at the landscape at 170 now, as great as Usman is, there are some very interesting hurdles on the horizon for him. Obviously he’s got to get past Edwards first. I know most people are seeing it as a foregone conclusion but I honestly wouldn’t count Edwards out. After that, Khamzat could be a problem. You’ve also got Shavkat Rakhmonov circling the top contenders now and he’s looking like a real issue. Very, very interesting times ahead. I’m not sure how much longer Usman is planning on sticking around but if he manages to successfully defend his belt against those 3, man, his resume at 170 is gonna seriously rival GSP’s. It’s already close. Those wins added to what he’s already done might just push him into Welterweight GOAT status.


This man stands in his way. The next obstacle in Usman’s path. For me, Edwards is one of the more under-appreciated guys on the roster. And I’m not just saying it because he’s a fellow Brummie. He gets pretty much no love but he’s really fucking good. I think a lot of it is probably just down to his lack of charisma out of the cage, he’s not a great talker. And he doesn’t do anything particularly flashy inside the cage either. But he does the basics very well and there really aren’t any weaknesses in his MMA skillset. Nothing is spectacular but everything is solid. He’s got excellent technical striking. Not the most powerful but everything’s sharp and he mixes it up beautifully with his punches, kicks, knees and elbows. The standup is definitely his strongest area but his ground game is pretty underrated as well if you watch his fights. Guys like Nate Diaz, RDA and Gunnar Nelson could get nothing going against him. And even his submission over Albert Tumenov is a really overlooked win on his record. He’s 19-3-0-1 now, and aside from the eye poke No Contest against Belal Muhammad, Leon’s on a 10 fight unbeaten streak. Wins over Nate, RDA, Gunnar, Cerrone, Barberena and Luque in there. The last time he lost? The first fight with Usman 7 years ago. It’s a great fight this. I know Leon’s gonna get shat on in the build up. The next few weeks are gonna be insufferable on social media. There are still fans who actually seem to believe that Nate should’ve won the decision over Edwards for that one big punch he rocked Edwards with, never mind the other 24 minutes where Nate got utterly schooled and embarrassed. It’s considered cool to shit on Edwards, I guess.



Part of me would love to see Leon pull this off. Not only would it be great to see another British fighter win UFC gold but to beat a great like Usman would be the stuff of legend. As much as I loved Bisping dethroning Rockhold to become the first British UFC champ, it was a magical moment, Edwards doing it against someone like Usman would be an even bigger accomplishment. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t see it actually happening, Usman is most likely winning again and I won’t hate that either. Like I say, Usman winning here opens up mouth watering possibilities for fascinating fights with Chimaev and Rakhmonov down the line. As an Usman fan, I’d love to see him continue to add to his legacy. But if Edwards somehow pulls this off it’d be such a great story for him. When you know his backstory and some of the shite he’s been through, it’s hard not to root for him. Plus I can’t deny I’d love to see the fallout from all the haters. Regardless, I’m really looking forward to this.



Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold is the co-main event apparently. Not the strongest but it’ll do. This feels like such a weird fight but I’m oddly intrigued. Not a fan of either, they both seem like bellends, so this is pure heel vs heel for me. One of those matchups where you’re almost praying for a double knockout. I think we know who’s most likely getting knocked out here though.


That’s how we’ve become accustomed to seeing Rockhold in more recent years. It’s became quite a familiar sight. Hard to believe that at one time he was thought to be the future of the Middleweight division. Seriously, when he fought and beat Chris Weidman in December 2015, the general opinion was that those two would rule the division for years to come. The Anderson Silva reign had ended and Weidman and Rockhold were the new breed. And when Rockhold beat the shite out of Weidman, he was the main man at 185. Well, for 6 months anyway until Bisping ruined his life. “Conceive, believe, achieve…shut the fuck up!” After that, Rockhold fought very sporadically, got brutally knocked out by Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz and hasn’t been seen since 2019. He was briefly linked to a fight with Sean Strickland last year but he pulled out with a back injury. We’ll see if he makes it to the cage this time but if he does, I don’t see it ending well for him. Costa’s not without his flaws and he’s a right weird cunt but one thing he does well is throw heavy hands. 11 of his 13 career wins have came by KO and if he lands flush, whatever’s left of Rockhold’s chin isn’t holding up to that trauma. Costa’s tough as well. Him and Vettori knocked lumps out of each other for 25 minutes in October and, while Costa lost the decision, he was still there at the end. This is ending in tears for Rockhold, isn’t it? I’d actually say skills-wise, he’s the superior fighter, but he’s outgunned in power and durability and that just sounds like a recipe for him getting scraped off the canvas again.



Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvili then. Personally I’d have had this as co-main event over 5 rounds. Just because, depending on how other upcoming key fights at 135 play out, there’s a decent chance this could turn out to be a title eliminator and we’ve never seen Merab go 5 before. Either way it’s a good fight, although not the one I’d have chosen for Aldo myself.


For me, Aldo should’ve been getting the next title shot against Aljamain Sterling. It’s gone to TJ Dillashaw and everyone seems to have just happily accepted that but, while Sterling vs Dillashaw should be a great fight, that’s Aldo’s title shot in my opinion. TJ’s coming off one razor close decision win against Cory Sandhagen, over a year ago now, which many had him losing. Before that he’d been gone 2 years on a USADA suspension. Before that he’d been stopped by Cejudo in 32 seconds. Meanwhile, Aldo’s been there the whole time grafting. In his last 3 fights he’s soundly beaten Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. On top of that, he hasn’t got mixed up in USADA controversy or made the sport look bad. He’s been a class act and has more than earned another crack at the gold. Aljo vs Aldo was the one. But TJ gets it for some reason. Whatever. Aldo now faces a close friend and teammate of the champ Sterling.


This is a huge opportunity for Merab Dvalishvili. He’s 31 years old from Georgia, but like I said, he’s a training partner of Sterling’s at Team Serra-Longo in New York. He has a record of 14-4 and is currently riding a 7 fight winning streak. He’s got some notable wins on his record. Solid decision wins over John Dodson and Cody Stamann. He knocked out Marlon Moraes back in September in a wild back and forth scrap. And one a lot of people probably don’t realise even happened, he scored a 15 second spinning backfist KO against Raufeon Stots on a Ring Of Combat show back in 2017…


Sorry about the dodgy quality there but it’s the only footage I could find of the fight. Obviously Stots has gone on to do big things in Bellator and, as I type this, he’s their current interim Bantamweight champ. It’s a win that would’ve meant little in 2017 but it’s interesting to look back on now they’ve both carved out successful careers in the sport. Ray Longo can’t speak highly enough of Merab.

“There’s a saying ‘hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard’. And that’s really what it is. I believe Merab isn’t the most technical guy, but he’s the hardest worker in the room and he’s gonna do fine just with that alone. I think when you come from where he’s come from, first off he’s grateful for everything he gets, he’s not entitled. I don’t worry about Merab one iota. If he stopped fighting tomorrow, he’ll be fine. He’ll find a job, he’ll work his ass off, he’s gonna get what he wants.” - Ray Longo

That’s just one quote of many. Longo always seems to have a really tight bond with his fighters and you can tell by the way he talks about him, Merab must be a great guy outside the cage. I was indifferent to Merab for a long time but seeing him come back from being hurt to stop Moraes, and especially from watching Longo’s interviews talking about him, it makes me want to see him do well. But I hate to say it, I hope his doing well starts after this fight. I can’t root for him over Aldo. The man’s a legend, one of my favourite fighters to watch ever in MMA and I’d love nothing more than to see him get one last crack at UFC gold before it’s all said and done. It’s unlikely at this point but if he somehow won another title, becoming a two-division champ, it’d rank among my favourite title wins in MMA history.



Lucie Pudilova vs Wu Yanan. Not a fight I’m counting the days to. Czech Republic’s Pudilova is back in the UFC after being released in 2020. She got let go after a disastrous 4 fight losing skid. Since then she’s gone away and won 5 of her last 6 fights, taking her to 13-7 overall now. Still not a good record but she was 8-6 when she got her UFC walking papers. Her recent wins have all been over names I’ve never heard of though, and all decisions. Hardly fills me with optimism that she’s gonna go on a better run this time around but we’ll see. Yanan’s not much cop either, to be honest. She’s 12-5 and has lost 4 of her last 5 fights. Genuinely nothing else even to say about her. Every time she’s faced anyone even semi decent, she’s lost. If Pudilova loses this one, they might as well just send them both packing. There’s no hope.



Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker. Kind of into it just to see Pedro again but you can tell this is supposed to be another warm up fight for the Aussie. I don’t even have a problem with that, Pedro was gone so long with the knee injury, you don’t wanna see them rush him. But purely as a fan, it’s not the best of matchups. Hopefully it’s another win for Pedro anyway. He looked really good in his return fight against Ike Villanueva.


There was a lot of talk about his future after that. I get that people wanna see him do well. He’s a likeable chap and with him still being only 30 years old, he’s got time. But I don’t see him doing too much in the Light Heavyweight division sadly. People forget but he’d already hit a rough patch before the injury and subsequent layoff. He had some nice wins over Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig but then he got finished by OSP and last legs Shogun in back-to-back fights. After all this time away plus the bad wheel, I just can’t see him making a significant splash at 205. I’d love to be wrong about that though. Hunsucker’s a guy Pedro really needs to be beating if he’s gonna make some kind of successful run. He’s 7-5 and coming off first round knockout losses to Tai Tuivasa (Pedro’s brother in law) and Justin Tafa. He’s dropping to 205 for this in a desperate attempt to make something happen but Pedro really should be winning this.



Marcin Tybura vs Alexandr Romanov is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Very rare I choose a Heavyweight fight to highlight because, let’s be honest, a lot of them are pure arse outside the top few ranked names. This is an exception though. Tybura is a decent fighter, nothing outstanding but he’s alright. He’s 36 years old with a record of 22-7 and 15 finishes. Notable wins include Andrei Arlovski, Walt Harris, Sergey Spivak, Ben Rothwell, Stefan Struve and…Greg Hardy. Yes. He gave the wifebeater a hiding back in 2020. He comes into this one off a points loss to Alexander Volkov. If you’ve been reading these threads over the last year or so though, you’ll know where my interest lies here.


Alexandr Romanov might just be my favourite addition to the Heavyweight division since Derrick Lewis first graced us with his presence. Love the big bastard. He’s Moldovan, 31 years old and undefeated at 16-0 with 15 of his wins coming inside the distance. Currently 5-0 in the UFC. Hasn’t beat anyone particularly good yet but he’s squashed the subpar opposition the way those ham and eggers are supposed to be dealt with.


Bloody loves a suplex he does. That’s him ragging poor Chase Sherman about and dropping him on his bonce in his last fight in April. He busts out at least one big scary looking suplex pretty much every fight and I’m all for it. As someone who pretty much got into pro wrestling through watching the Steiner Brothers murder jobbers on ITV in the early 90s, I was always gonna love this guy. He’s the closest thing the UFC has to a Steiner. We mentioned it last time he fought but he’s clearly been taking it seriously and putting the graft in to get in better shape as well. He’s noticeably dropped some body fat and gained muscle since he first came into the UFC as a bit of a porker 2 years ago. Not sure what his ceiling is and I don’t expect him to stay unbeaten for too much longer but in a division where most of the newcomers are complete shite, he really stands out as someone worth watching. This is his first proper step up as well so I’m curious to see how he does here. Like I say, Tybura’s no world beater but he’s also no pushover. We should be able to get a better gauge on Romanov’s skills in this one.



Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon might be alright but it really isn’t grabbing me. Santos is a guy I was kind of fascinated by for a while. He’s been a pro since 2002, actually made his MMA debut losing a decision to Takanori Gomi of all people! Talk about jumping straight in the deep end. And he was a world class BJJ competitor, ended up as a multi-time BJJ world champion and, probably of most significance to MMA fans, he submitted Georges St Pierre in a 2005 grappling match…


Add to that, in MMA he TKO’d Kevin Lee in 2015, beat Thiago Santos on TUF Brazil and went unbeaten over a 13 fight stretch, he was considered a bit of a darkhorse. But he had so many spells of inactivity. He was out 3 years from 2016-19, finally came back and sparked Stevie Ray which was pretty impressive. But now he’s 42 and coming off back-to-back losses to Grant Dawson and Clay Guida. And he got finished in both. Dawson knocked him out with vicious ground and pound. And he had Guida in deep shit before Guida rallied and got the shock comeback submission. At this point it really feels like he left it too late and squandered some of his best years with those layoffs. He’s got undeniable skills and even now I wouldn’t count him out of catching someone on a good night. But at 42, those good nights are gonna get less and less frequent. Gordon is a guy I’m completely indifferent to. He’s been in the UFC since 2017 now and pretty much all I remember is him getting knocked out by Charles Oliveira a few years back. He’s coming into this one off a submission loss against Santos’ old buddy Grant Dawson.



Sean Woodson vs Luis Saldana. More filler but this might be worth tuning in early for. I really like watching Woodson. Oddly shaped sod that he is. He’s 9-1 with the only loss being to Julian Erosa in 2020 in a cracking fight that was unfortunate to land on the same card as barnburners like Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker and Brendan Allen vs Kyle Daukaus. Other than that, Woodson’s been perfect. Even has a flying knee KO over Terrance McKinney from DWCS in 2019. Can’t say I really recall Saldana though. He’s 16-7 and took a decision off Bruno Souza in March. Nothing really stands out on his record. I’ll give it a look for Woodson.



AJ Fletcher vs Ange Loosa. Vague on both of these two, only seen their UFC debuts. Fletcher is 9-1 with 8 finishes and lost on points to Matthew Semelsberger in March. Loosa’s from Switzerland, has an 8-3 record with 6 finishes and lost a decision to Mounir Lazzez in his debut in April. He also lost to Jack Della Maddalena on DWCS last year but did beat John Howard. Not familiar enough with either to properly either big this up or shit on it but it doesn’t sound like a bad matchup. Sounds like Fletcher goes for the kill and Loosa must be tough if he’s gone the distance with Lazzez and Maddalena.



Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo. Decent fight. Albazi is a guy I’ve liked the look of so far but he’s been out of action well over a year now due to injuries. He’s Iraqi/Swedish, 28 years old and 14-1 with 12 finishes. He’s gone 2-0 in the UFC so far, beating Malcolm Gordon and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. I remember him looking a handful in both fights, in the grappling especially. Looking forward to finally seeing him back in there. He’s up against Figgy #2. Like any sibling combination in combat sports, it’s not always the case but there’s often a weaker link. Valentina to Antonina Shevchenko is quite a drop off. Of course, you have Tyson and Tommy Fury. Even way back you had Matt and Mark Hughes. From what I’ve seen of Francisco so far, he’s a far cry from the awesomeness of his older brother, the Flyweight champ Deiveson. He’s 13-4-1-1 and has done very little of note in MMA so far. He did pull off a sweet kneebar finish in his last fight in April. But I don’t see him going too far. Could be a fun ground battle here though, if that’s how the fight plays out.



Aori Qileng vs Jay Perrin might be worth checking out. I mention it every chance I get and I’ll keep mentioning it, Aori Qileng’s fight with Jeff Molina last year was fucking awesome. It was my first time seeing both and I instantly became a fan of both. Molina got the decision that night but they both fought their arses off and rightly got FOTN. Qileng also lost a decision to Cody Durden in his next fight but finally got his first UFC win in April, folding Cameron Else with a sweet body shot in the first round. Perrin’s 10-5 and lost his UFC debut to Mario Bautista in February. Don’t even remember if I saw that but I’ll take a look for Aori Qileng regardless.



Victor Altamirano vs Daniel Da Silva is just there really. Making up the numbers but could be decent enough for prelim filler. Altamirano is 10-2 and coming off a split decision loss against Carlos Hernandez in his UFC debut in February. Da Silva is 11-3 with all his wins being finishes but he’s gone 0-2 so far in the UFC, suffering a TKO loss against Jeff Molina in his debut, then he got subbed by Francisco Figgy in April. Don’t know enough about either really.




Usman’s a bastard for that 🤣

Edited by wandshogun09
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10 minutes ago, neil said:

I just have a feeling something stupid is going to happen and the Edwards/Usman fight will be called off. Won't be an injury or nothing like that, more like he discovers his passport is expired.


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Haven’t seen the full card order yet but this is the main card as it stands currently…


Costa vs Rockhold as co-headliner above Aldo vs Merab looks a bit weird to me but whatever. We’ve had worse cards. Harry Hunsucker on a PPV main card is the dregs though 😂 I know it’s probably supposed to be there as a showcase first round KO win for Pedro but it’s like they’ve lifted a guy directly from a 2002 card and just plonked him on this 20 years later. 

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Hunsucker off down to 205lb here mind, he'll be Champion by the end of the year.

Fair play to Hunsucker. Stopped in the first round of his Contender Series fight. Stopped in the first round of both his UFC fights, and landed on a PPV, fair play.

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I have zero faith that Costa Vs Rockhold makes it to the cage. That's got late notice cancellation written all over it. If, by some miracle, they do fight? Handsome Luke may need a new passport photo following the recovery. What a pair of bellends in one fight though. 

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I really like that main card, but the undercard here is lacking for a PPV isn't it? Looks like an Apex show.

How does everyone see Rockhold/Costa going? Considering Costa's apparent mental breakdown and general weirdness post-Adesanya, and Rockhold not having fought in 3 years, I just don't know what to expect. Rockhold saying he expects a title shot off a win gives me second UFC run-Frank Trigg vibes, where Trigg returned after time away and talked about it how it was one last title run, he ended up getting smashed as it appeared the level in the UFC had passed him by. That's a random old school reference but that's what it made me think of. 

Costa by KO?

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Costa to ask for the weight to be changed on fight week. Rockhold to get an injury in the sauna during the weight cut. Costa to complain, while drinking a bottle of wine, that he was ready to fight, he was only a teeny-tiny bit off, by twenty pounds or so. Costa blames Luke for banging his head and twisting his ankle falling over the flip flops. Luke sulks, says he hates this shit and goes back to modelling. Costa spouts some mad conspiracy shite on twitter about random governments, then proceeds to call out Usman and Francis Ngannou, saying he's being held down and can make any weight of he shaves his new hair off. 

Think that's about it. 

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