Saturday night at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the main event of August in the world of mixed martial arts: UFC 278. The welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and one of the strongest contenders, Leon Edwards, awaits us. UFC 278 will feature legends Aldo and Rockhold, in the review we will talk about other, equally interesting fights of the promotion
Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards
Between the two of them, this pair has gone 25 fights without a loss, a very strong showing in the competitive welterweight division. Champion Kamaru Usman (20-1) suffered his first and only loss in 2013 at the start of his career. The powerful 35-year-old Nigerian has never lost in the promotion, and he’s not about to break that streak. The fact that Usman made his UFC debut in 2015 in a fight against the 30-year-old Englishman adds interest to the fight against No. 2 ranked Leon Edwards (19-3). Usman won that fight by unanimous decision.
The “Nigerian nightmare” has 15 fights and 15 wins to his credit, beating Covington twice, Masvidal, Woodley once and Burns once.
Ousmane Kamaru goes for his sixth title defense and a record 16th win in a row in the promotion. He’s on the brink of a historic achievement, but “Rocky” has other plans. Edwards last lost in 2015. Who? It’s not hard to guess.
Edwards has won nine straight since then, but his opponents haven’t included fighters on the level of Covington or Masvidal. With all due respect to Luka, Junior Diaz, Cerrone and dos Anjos. The Englishman missed all of 2020, upon his return his fight with Belal Muhammad did not happen because of an unintentional poke to the eye. But afterward, he confidently took on Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in June.
The rematch has been brewing for the last few years. Usman has been confidently taking down top fighters, Edwards has been confidently taking down former top fighters. Each has something to prove, both have a fine arsenal of skills. The only advantage Edwards has is his age and greater variety of moves. But Usman has shown solid boxing in his last three fights and is poised for a record in UFC history.
Can Usman hold on to the record of the great “Spider” Anderson Silva for consecutive wins, or will Edwards be able to take the welterweight throne for years to come? We’ll find out in the main fight of the evening.
Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold
The co-main event at UFC 278 will pit former champion Luke Rockhold (16-5) against former title challenger Paulo Costa (13-2).
The 31-year-old Brazilian has been unimpressive of late, although he started his career with 13 straight wins, including five in the UFC. After wins over Hendricks, Hall followed with a key win of his life over Romero. But the key fight of his life for the middleweight title against Adesanya he lost, not “living up” to the end of the third round. In October 2021 he also lost to Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision.
When the Brazilian is in shape, the holder of the black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a huge threat with his power and power of punches. But today it is unknown what condition he is in.
On Sunday night, the unranked veteran great Rockhold will make his first appearance in the octagon in three years. The former middleweight champion went downhill sharply after his legendary win over Bisping in 2015, losing in rematch to Bisping, then to Romero and Blachowicz almost without a chance.
He’s only had three fights since UFC 199, hasn’t fought since 2019, but the 34-year-old fighter apparently has a plan to get back on the winning track and please his fans again. The former UFC and Strikeforce champion should return. Time will tell what the outcome will be.
Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Brazilian martial arts legend and former two-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (31-7) returns to action after nearly a year and a half. Aldo, 35, after heavy losses to McGregor, Volkanovski and Yang, did not get any more big fights, unless you count his fight with Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night.
Aldo lost his first two fights at flyweight: to Marlon Moraes by split decision and to Jan in the title fight for the vacant belt at UFC 251. Since then, “Scarface” has managed three straight wins over Vera, Pedro Munoz and Rob Font. The fight against Georgian Dvalishvili will show the real state of the UFC number three and former champion of the promotion.
Georgian Merab Dvalishvili (14-4), 31, is on a seven-fight winning streak, last defeating Moraes in the second round at UFC 266 in September 2021. Other than the Brazilian, he hasn’t had any truly serious opponents. The Georgian, nicknamed “The Machine” is known for his touchdowns, in his last seven fights he has scored 46! Dvalishvili started in the promotion with two straight losses to Frankie Saenz and Ricky Simon, but no more losses.
Aldo’s fight is undoubtedly of great interest. The future Hall of Fame inductee will test a powerful newcomer at the top of the light heavyweight rankings. The winner of one of the best take-down defenses in modern lightweight history will face one of the best take-down performers in the world. It’s going to be interesting!