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UFC 278

Main Event

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards


A rematch 7yrs in the making. Usman won via decision in 2015. Both fighters are MUCH much different since, Edwards has gone 9-0 since that time, and Usman has defended his title 5 times (2 against Colby, 1 against Burns, and 2 against Masvidal), Covington being his toughest test of the 3. Among Edwards’ recent wins, he’s beaten Diaz (floated with near disaster after coasting entire fight), Muhammad (no contest due to inadvertent eye poke), RDA, & Gunnar Nelson. His best win recently is arguably RDA, and that’s nothing to glance over, but plainly put, this is both fighters toughest test recently, more so for Edwards. Edwards is solid anywhere the fight is, he doesn’t generally offer great volume on the feet, but has  really nice technical boxing. He moves well on his feet, and as a result doesn’t take a ton of damage in the pocket. He lands 2.62 SS/m (only absorbs 2.15 SS/m). He also averages nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.48). On the other side, Usman is much more active on the feet, landing 4.66 SS/m (only absorbs 2.59 SS/m), and doubles Edwards in terms of TDs per 15mins (3). The biggest difference between these two is the TDEF, Usman boast an 100% TDEF rate, while Edwards is at 70%. This feels like Edwards’ best chance at an upset would be through effective wrestling/grappling, and it just doesn’t seem likely. Usman just control the pace of this one from the start, it’ll be up to Edwards’ technical counter striking to try and hurt Usman, which I don’t foresee. Usman should once again show why he’s considered the PFP best MMA fighter in the world right now, and I think he takes a clear decision. Edwards historically has a great chin, but Usman’s power is no joke so he’ll need to be careful. Usman is almost an automatic play on DK, less intrigued on FD with them pricing him as highest fighter despite odds elsewhere. AND STILLLLLLLLL

PICK: Kamaru Usman $23 FD ($9100 DK)

Leon Edwards $15 FD ($7100 DK)

Co Main Event

Paulo Costa vs Luke Rockhold


Both fighters here are on a 2 fight skid, while Rockhold has lost 3 of his last 4, and hasn’t been inside the octagon since 2019 when he fought at LHW vs Blachowicz. It was basically understood that Rockhold would probably call it quits after the Blachowicz bout, and prior to that, he got knocked out by Romero. It’s one of those unfortunate scenarios where a legend is just a shell of his former self. Rockhold was solid anywhere a fight took place, he could submit you on the mat, or get a KO on the feet. It was his world at one point. Nowadays he doesn’t have as much volume, and his chin is suspect. It’ll really be interesting to see if he can have any type of effective game plan in this one. In what should largely be a standup affair, Costa will clearly be the aggressor and have more volume. His chin will also hold up better. His striking defense is awful however, he lands 6.85 SS/m (but absorbs an absurd 7.02 SS/m in return), he’s basically taking one to give one. Rockhold’s numbers were adequate, landing 4.18 SS/m (absorbs 2.43 SS/m), but again, those numbers don’t tell the story of his last few fights. In what should mainly play out as a kickboxing match, the pressure/power of Costa should eventually get to Rockhold, just a matter of how quickly, and if his score will matter in terms of DFS. I think it will, I see a RD 2 KO/TKO incoming, if it happens sooner, even better.

PICK: Paulo Costa $19 FD ($8700 DK)

Luke Rockhold $11 FD ($7500 DK)

Merab Dvalishvilli vs José Aldo


It was a bit discouraging to see what Petr Yan did to Aldo in 2020, at which point Aldo was on a 3 fight skid after the loss. Retirement seemed near, but not so fast, since then, he’s gone on to win 3 straight, looking for a 4th here. Aldo is an excellent all around fighter with great striking, TDEF, and offensive wrestling of his own. He mixes up his kickboxing well and targets all parts of the body. Merab has won 7 straight, on the back of a smothering wrestling/grappling gm. He averages an insane 7.3 TDs per 15mins. On the feet, he’s landing 4.26 SS/m (absorbs on 2.28 SS/m due to the wrestling control). In his bout with Marlon Moraes, he got caught with something and nearly finished, but showed insane toughness, and when Moraes gassed he was able to smother him until he broke. Aldo’s TDEF is elite, so if Merab isn’t able to successfully get any TDs/ground time, he’s going to be in a tough spot. Aldo has an extremely high fight IQ, and he’ll outpoint him on the feet as long as it’s standing. With a win here, Aldo may be one more win away from getting a title shot, at the least an interim title shot. And at some point over the next 12 months could see a rematch vs Yan. I love the value of Aldo here, would be surprised if he closed as a dog by the end of it. Winner here should find themselves in optimal I’d think. But give me José to get it done.

PICK: José Aldo $14 FD ($8000 DK)

Merab Dvalishvilli $17 FD ($8200 DK)

Lucie Pudilova vs Wu Yanan

Women’s Bantamweight

Talk about low level bout, have no idea why they moved this fight to the main card and bumped Romanov down to prelims. Yanan has lost 3 in a row, and 4 of her last 5. While Pudilova has lost 4 straight, and it’s very likely the loser gets their walking papers. Wu pressures well, but isn’t very accurate in terms of her striking. She absorbs more strikes than what she lands, she lands 4.42 SS/m (absorbs 5.05 SS/m). She’ll occasionally look to clinch to utilize her wrestling, but averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (.7), so wouldn’t really expect her to go there. Pudilova will be the slightly more technical striker of the two, but striking accuracy is also a concern with her as well. She’ll be relegated to being a counter striker for most of this one in all likelihood. I would recommend avoiding this one for DFS purposes, the upside seems minimal for either winner, and the downside seems even worse. I favor Pudilova slightly just due to better striking. But unless doing mass number of LUs, would avoid this one. I’ll take Pudilova via decision.

PICK: Lucie Pudilova $16 FD ($8300 DK)

Wu Yanan $16 FD ($7900 DK)

Tyson Pedro vs Harry Hunsucker

Light Heavyweight

Pedro returned from a near 4yr hiatus earlier this year when he took on Ike Villanueva, and found a late 1st RD stoppage. It seemed like he was being fed an easy return fight, and that’s exactly what it was. It’s the same here too with Hunsucker. Hunsucker is 0-3 to start his UFC tenure, and this is likely his last fight in the UFC. He’s just not on the same level as most anyone in the LHW division. Pedro is solid anywhere the ruby goes, he’s got solid kickboxing, and usually sets up his hands by chipping away at the legs, that’s what caused Villanueva so much trouble. He’s also a good grappler, and can find submissions on the mat. Hunsucker relies on loading up on power shots looking for the KO, but often times it’s him who actually gets KO’ed. He lands only 3.83 SS/m (absorbs 6.7 SS/m in return), that tells you what you need to know. His striking defense is awful, and if he’s in wrestling situations off of his back, he’ll be in trouble of getting ground and pounded or submitted. The concern for Pedro is his steep price tag, especially on DK. He needs to get a 60 second bonus to probably even begin to be relevant, and I’m not so sure he gets it with how patient he is on the feet. He’s still a great cash option, but slightly better play on FD. I think he does find another 1st RD finish however.

PICK: Tyson Pedro $22 FD ($9500 DK)

Harry Hunsucker $8 FD ($6700 DK)

Alexandr Romanov vs Marcin Tybura


Prior to the Volkov matchup, Tybura was on a 4 fight win streak. He just couldn’t get past the length of Volkov, and was unsuccessful in bringing him to the mat. However, Tybura has a solid all around gm, and he mixes it up well. On the feet, he lands 3.65 SS/m (absorbs 3.44 SS/m). He’s also averaging nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.54). For Romanov, most of the action that goes on on the feet is a means to get it to the mat. At HW, he’s averaging and insane 6.46 TDs per 15mins. From there, he looks to dominate you with control, searching for submissions or heavy ground and pound. However, this fight reminds me a lot of the Espino fight, which Romanov arguably lost IMO. Tybura is a solid wrestler, with great TDEF (82%), and against solid wrestlers, it’s been shown that Romanov’s TDEF isn’t that great, Espino successfully got 4 TDs on 5 attempts, and while he does have solid cardio, it’s natural for anyone to start to gas after grueling wrestling for 15mins. I think we’ll see a similar fight play out here. I do give Romanov the edge just due to pure strength, but this’ll be closer than the odds suggest, and if Tybura somehow sneaks by, he’ll certainly be in optimal on both sites, with such few reliable underdogs this weekend. But give me Romanov via decision. He’s a better DK play than FD, need a dominate 1st RD performance for him to matter on FD.

PICK: Alexandr Romanov $20 FD ($9000 DK)

Marcin Tybura $10 FD ($7200 DK)

Jared Gordon vs Leonardo Santos


This’ll be another interesting affair for Santos. At 42yrs old, it’s apparent the weight cuts are becoming increasingly difficult, but for the most part he’s still performing at a high enough level. His frame/length will always be an issue in the division. His biggest detriment now will always be his cardio. After 5 mins there’s an obvious decrease in his stamina. Gordon will definitely look to pressure here, as he’s the much more active fighter between them. He lands 5.24 SS/m (absorbs just 3.2 SS/m in return), and averages over 2 TDS per 15mins (2.2). However, Santos’ TDEF is elite (86%). Dawson was only able to successfully get 1 TD on 13 attempts, and if not for the literal last second KO, he likely loses a split. Gordon’s best chance is just continually grinding away each round. He’ll be in danger of getting KO’ed if Santos is able to keep distance. Santos won’t throw a ton of volume, but what he throws he makes count. The longer this goes though, the more it likely favors Gordon. He’ll probably only get 2-3 TDs the entire fight, but he’ll make them count when he does with solid control, which should be enough to steal 2 RDs. Santos is another dog I’m willing to take more chances on than others, but won’t have a ton of him. Gordon is solid play for DK. Feel like he’ll be finish reliant if playing on FD.

PICK: Jared Gordon $19 FD ($8900 DK)

Leonardo Santos $12 FD ($7300 DK)

Sean Woodson vs Luis Saldana


Amazes me to this day that Woodson can manage this weight class. Would probably serve him better going up to LW, but probably won’t happen. Woodson is 6’2, and no matter who he’s fighting, they’re likely at a size disadvantage. That’s no different here, he’ll have 3” height, and 5” reach advantage over Saldana in this one. He’s won 4 of his last 5. He’s a volume striker that wants to put it together and try and find the finish. He’s landing 5.75 SS/m (absorbs 3.76 SS/m), and has really solid TDEF (86%). Saldana also offers solid output, he’s landing 4.92 SS/m (absorbs 3.32 SS/m), and is much more active in terms of utilizing any wrestling, he averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (.54), but will certainly try to lean on it here being at such a size disadvantage. Woodson should be the one in position to pressure consistently, so Saldana will need to find early success getting TDs if he’s going to have a chance. Again, I think the length will be too much to overcome, and over the course of 15mins, the pressure/output will be too much to handle. Think we see a 3rd RD KO/TKO for Woodson. Saldana is tough, so a decision is also very likely, and as a result, playing Saldana as a dog isn’t a bad idea.

PICK: Sean Woodson $20 FD ($8800 DK)

Luis Saldana $10 FD ($7400 DK)

AJ Fletcher vs Ange Loosa


This should be an interesting scrap. 2 guys coming off debut L’s on short notice, but both products of DWCS. The name of the gm for Fletcher is clear, and that’s dominate opponents through wrestling. He had success vs Semelsberger early on, just couldn’t maintain it as dominantly throughout. Loosa debuted against Mounir Lazzez, and held his own in what was predominantly a kickboxing match, he was just behind the 8-ball the entire time. But he’s a solid prospect who should have a future in the UFC. Fletcher will once again be at a significant reach disadvantage, but it didn’t bother him much at all vs Semelsberger. Loosa will sport a 7” reach advantage in this one, despite being about the same height. In terms of striking, the advantage goes to Loosa, he’ll be the better kickboxer, and will have more power. For Fletcher, he’ll have the edge on the mat, and will look to get there early and often, he averages 4.3 TDs per 15mins. Loosa’s TDEF is solid though, so something will give. If Loosa is able to stuff the majority of Fletcher’s TDs to turn it into a kickboxing affair, then I think he’s in the drive seat to get the dub, however, he’ll likely be needing to win RDs 2 & 3 to make that happen, as I imagine Fletcher comes out strong once again in the 1st. This is extremely close, but I favor Fletcher slightly more. Will definitely have exposure to both, though.

PICK: AJ Fletcher $18 FD ($8400 DK)

Ange Loosa $13 FD ($7800 DK)

Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figuieredo


Albazi has started off 2-0 in the UFC. A quick submission win over Malcolm Gordon, and then a decision win over Zhumagulov. He’s best as a wrestler/grappler, looking for control time. But is also a very sound technical striker. If he continues improving in his striking, he’ll for sure be an absolute problem in this division. Fig showed in his last bout that if you give him an opportunity, he’ll take it and capitalize, and that was the case vs Da Silva. It was more so to do with Da Silva being careless than anything Fig did. This is another case of nepotism where the brother/sister just isn’t nearly as good as the other sibling. Look at the Burns brothers, the Shevchenko sisters as other more relevant comparisons. Fig does well to try and pressure his opponents, and essentially looks to wrestle, he’s very low volume on the feet, lands just 1.9 SS/m (absorbs 2.59 SS/m). He averages nearly 3 TDs per 15mins though (2.88). On the flip, Albazi is much more active on the feet, landing 4.06 SS/m (absorbs 3.15 SS/m). He’s also very engaged in terms of looking for TDs, he averages 2.2 per 15mins. Figs TDEF statistically is better, 66% vs 82%. But the fight IQ lies heavily in favor of Albazi, and I think that’s ultimately what keeps this fight in favor of Albazi for the near entirety of this fight. This matchup is much more desirable on DK as opposed to FD, because I don’t think Albazi finds a finish, but i do think he’ll dominate ground control when it takes place there, making him a solid play. And with other bigger names around his price, he’ll go lower owned. Good leverage.

PICK: Amir Albazi $18 FD ($9200 DK)

Francisco Figuieredo $9 FD ($7000 DK)

Aoriqileng vs Jay Perrin


The move up to bantamweight looks good for Aori so far. He absolutely dominated Cameron Else his last time out. Aori is an all around good fighter, with solid striking on the feet with nice volume. He’s also a really solid wrestler, and won’t mind looking to change levels to get it there. He averages 2.29 TDs per 15mins. On the feet, his output is desirable, he lands 6.65 SS/m (but absorbs a massive 7.7 SS/m), his toughness is what allows for him to sustain that at such a high pace. On the other side, Perrin is much more evened out in terms of his output. He relies more on his wrestling than Aori does. Perrin averages 3 TDs per 15mins at 60% accuracy. On the feet, he’ll need to be more active to have a chance, he only lands 2.8 SS/m (absorbs 3.8 SS/m in return). As active a fighter as Aori is, Perrin seems to have that style that could limit what we’re used to seeing, and as a result I’m not as high on Aori as I was at the beginning of the week. I think Aori should be able to control pace here, and won’t be in too much of danger at all. Perrin’s best chance to stun him is to get a KO, and I don’t see that happening. I think Aori coast to a decision win here, but will be less in love with the DFS outlook.

PICK: Aori Qileng $17 FD ($8500 DK)

Jay Perrin $13 FD ($7700 DK)

Victor Altamirano vs Daniel Da Silva


Da Silva hasn’t had a good go of it to start things in his UFC career, he’s 0-2, after being KO’ed in 1 and submitted in the other most recently. He’s got an 100% finish rate, and hasn’t seen a 3rd RD in his professional career yet. Needless to say, this should be a good bout to target. Da Silva seems to have gotten in his own way his first couple times out. If he’s able to settle in, I think he’ll be able to use his striking/kickboxing to his advantage. He’ll have better technique I feel. Altamirano is high paced, he’ll constantly be pressuring, which again could be an issue for Da Silva, but in terms of power, Altamirano doesn’t offer much threat. His best is pace, and if Da Silva does gas again, it could be trouble for him in the latter RDs. Da Silva is one of my fav dogs to target on the slate, but I think Altamirano will escape trouble in RD 1, and from there he’ll wear down on Da Silva. I would definitely have both sides here though.

PICK: Victor Altamirano $18 FD ($8600 DK)

Daniel Da Silva $12 FD ($7600 DK)

by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)

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