Kuhn: Two big favorites I'm backing in UFC 278

By Reed Kuhn  (VSiN.com) 

August 20, 2022 07:34 AM
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The UFC is squeezing in one last pay-per-view event before college football kicks off and gives sports fans another viewing option on Saturday nights. 

The main event has been a long-time coming, with Leon Edwards finally getting a shot against Kamaru Usman. Edwards put together a nine-fight undefeated streak without a single title shot, which is almost unheard of.

Before we get to the title fight, let’s take a look at one of several matchups on the main card with dominant grapplers.

Alexander Romanov (-350) vs. Marcin Tybura (+ 290)

Heavyweights

This will likely turn into a heavyweight wrestling match, and the younger, more effective grappler makes for a solid parlay anchor. 

Romanov has landed 16 takedowns in his five UFC appearances — all five were wins and none went the distance. While Tybura has better than average takedown defense, he’s unlikely to withstand the onslaught from Romanov. 

Even if the fight spends some time in open water, the striking metrics aren’t all that different between the two. Both have used a reserved pace, picking accurate strikes but not displaying overt knockout power. That means Romanov will have the luxury of time on his feet, picking the best chances to put the fight on the ground, where he has a huge submission advantage. 

Play: Romanov to win, and use him in parlays. 

Kamaru Usman (-340) vs. Leon Edwards (+ 280)

Welterweight title

Edwards is on an impressive winning streak, with his last loss coming in 2015, but that defeat came against none other than Usman. 

Usman took that fight in a unanimous victory, although he did lose one round in the eyes of two judges. Edwards winning a round last time might mean he has a shot this time at steep odds, but that thinking doesn’t account for a decidedly different strength of schedule in the years since their last fight. 

Usman has rolled through the division’s best and has proven himself in five-round wars. While Edwards also has some big wins, several of his former opponents were either natural lightweights or washed out of the UFC.

This fight could be another war, but Usman has clear advantages with his power on the feet and his dominant wrestling on the mat. 

Play: Usman to win, but value is low on a straight bet. Over 2.5 rounds for parlays.

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