SALT LAKE CITY — Kamaru Usman is already being requested about Khamzat Chimaev as a future contender. He has bandied concerning the thought of transferring up two divisions to mild heavyweight and difficult for that title. UFC president Dana White desires to place Usman within the best of all time dialog.
However earlier than all of those probably historic issues can come to fruition, Usman has work to do. On Saturday, MMA’s pound-for-pound king will defend his UFC welterweight title towards Leon Edwards in the primary occasion of UFC 278 at Vivint Enviornment.
ESPN has Usman ranked No. 1 on the planet at welterweight. Edwards is No. 4. The 2 have met earlier than — and it was the final time Edwards has misplaced: December 2015, by way of unanimous determination.
Usman (20-1) is on a 15-fight UFC profitable streak, one victory in need of tying Anderson Silva’s report of 16. The Nigerian-born fighter, who trains out of Colorado, has been UFC welterweight champion since beating Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019. Usman, 35, has 5 profitable welterweight title defenses.
Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in 10 straight fights over almost seven years. The Jamaica-born resident of England has not fought since a unanimous determination win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in Might 2021. Edwards, 30, has an 11-2, 1 NC report within the UFC.
Comply with alongside as Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim recap the motion because it occurs or watch the fights on ESPN+ PPV.
Subsequent struggle: Welterweight championship: Kamaru Usman (c) (20-1, 15-0 UFC, -400) vs. Leon Edwards (19-3 1 NC, 11-2 1 NC UFC, +310)
Middleweight: Paulo Costa (14-2, 6-2 UFC) def. Luke Rockhold (16-6, 6-5 UFC) by unanimous determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Recap to return.
This struggle is insanity #UFC278
— Arnold billy allen (@Arnoldbfa) August 21, 2022
Males’s bantamweight: Merab Dvalishvili (15-4, 8-2 UFC) def. Jose Aldo (31-8, 13-7 UFC) by unanimous determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Dvalishvili had landed 5 or extra takedowns in all however two of his earlier 9 UFC fights. He had hit double figures in three of these bouts. His nickname is “The Machine,” and it was apparent why that’s.
Then he stepped in with Aldo and went 0 for 16 on takedown makes an attempt. Was it Dvalishvili’s undoing? No, it was not. The 31-year-old from the Republic of Georgia could not get the Brazilian legend to the canvas, however his relentless makes an attempt towards the cage, although foiled one after one other, produced a nonstop assault of knees to the leg that, mixed with the hassle wanted to cease takedowns, drained Aldo and led to Dvalishvili’s seventh straight victory (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
The win streak ties Dvalishvili for the perfect within the bantamweight division with the champion, however no title showdown is imminent. The champ, Aljamain Sterling, is Dvalishvili’s coaching associate on Lengthy Island, New York, and Dvalishvili has no intention of preventing him. “He is my brother,” Dvalishvili stated.
He additionally paid homage to Aldo, the 35-year-old former featherweight champ from Brazil. Aldo acquired a standing ovation throughout his walkout and the night time’s loudest applause throughout his introduction. He noticed a three-fight profitable streak come to an finish. However alongside the way in which, he earned Dvalishvili’s respect.
“He was very technical against the cage,” Dvalishvili stated. “Usually, I take down everybody.”
Girls’s bantamweight: Lucie Pudilová (14-7, 3-5 UFC) def. Wu Yanan (12-6, 1-5 UFC) by second-round TKO (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Pudilova was a brawler in her first go-around with the UFC. This time, it is clear she has improved and is much extra versatile.
Utilizing wrestling and violent floor and pound, Pudilova picked up a TKO victory at 4:04 of the second spherical over Wu Yanan. Pudilova, who’s now coaching at SBG Eire below coach John Kavanagh, took Wu down, acquired her again, moved to mount and alongside the way in which was hammering down with massive punches and elbows. Referee Herb Dean had no selection however to step in and cease the struggle.
“I can’t believe I’m back in the UFC,” Pudilova stated.
Pudilova additionally acquired a takedown within the first spherical and had numerous success on the bottom. Wu had some first rate leg kicks on the toes, however Pudilova acquired an arm-and-head throw within the second spherical, acquired Wu’s again and began firing off violent elbows from prime place, resulting in the end. Wu had no solutions.
Aye now that is some violence
— Jamahal Hill (@JamahalH) August 21, 2022
Pudilova, 28, went 5-1 with the Oktagon promotion after being launched by the UFC in 2020. The Czech Republic native misplaced 4 straight earlier than being reduce, however two of these have been $50,000 Battle of the Night time performances.
Wu, a 26-year-old from China preventing out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has dropped 4 straight.
Mild heavyweight: Tyson Pedro (9-3, 5-3 UFC) def. Harry Hunsucker (7-6, 0-3 UFC) by first-round TKO (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
It wasn’t all that way back, Pedro was thought-about a really promising prospect at 205 kilos. That sentiment has now returned.
Pedro, 30, misplaced numerous momentum between 2017 and 2022, when accidents restricted him to simply six complete appearances, through which he held a middling 3-3 report. Since returning to well being this yr, the Australian has recorded back-to-back finishes towards Ike Villanueva and now Hunsucker.
The end on Saturday got here simply 65 seconds into the struggle. He caught Hunsucker with a clear, counter left jab. Instantly after touchdown the shot, Pedro smiled, pointed at Hunsucker and moved aggressively ahead. He dropped him moments later with a entrance kick to the midsection and completed the struggle with punches on the bottom.
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) August 21, 2022
“I trained so hard, it was a very hard camp,” Pedro stated. “To get it done that quick, that’s what it’s all about. I haven’t fought in front of fans for four years, so do me just one favor. Let me hear some noise.”
A step up in competitors will seemingly be subsequent for Pedro, as he was an 8-to-1 betting favourite over Hunsucker. He improves to 5-3 total within the UFC. His losses got here towards skilled opposition in Ilir Latifi, Ovince St-Preux and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
Heavyweight: Marcin Tybura (23-7, 10-6 UFC) def. Alexandr Romanov (16-1, 5-1 UFC) by majority determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
For those who watched simply the primary spherical of this struggle, you’d discover it inconceivable that Romanov would exit the Octagon not undefeated. He took down Tybura lower than a minute in and mauled him on the canvas for the whole lot of the primary 5 minutes, constructing a 28-0 benefit in strikes.
However Tybura survived to the horn, and when he got here out for Spherical 2, he took over towards a Romanov who appeared to haven’t any power left. In consequence, Tybura gained the second and third rounds and was rewarded with a majority determination, with two judges scoring the bout 29-28 in his favor and the third scorecard studying 28-28 due to a 10-8 first spherical for the 16-1 Romanov.
Tybura, a 36-year-old from Poland, has gained six of his final seven fights after persevering by means of a tough first spherical, placing his opponent in bother with a takedown within the second, then peppering him with punches in a slow-motion third spherical. His expertise towards higher-level opposition — he is been in with former UFC champs Fabricio Werdum and Andrei Arlovski, amongst different prime heavyweights — enabled Tybura to tempo himself and stay recent within the 4,300-foot altitude of Salt Lake Metropolis.
Romanov, who’s 31 and from Moldova, was a drive within the first spherical however sagged after that. He’d been previous the midpoint of Spherical 3 solely 3 times in his profession and had scored finishes in 15 of his 16 wins. This time he had nothing in reserve as soon as his gasoline tank emptied.
Light-weight: Jared Gordon (19-5, 7-4 UFC) def. Leonardo Santos (18-7-1, 7-3-1 UFC) by unanimous determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Salt Lake Metropolis’s elevation is 4,226 toes, making cardio a serious storyline at UFC 278. Gordon, clearly realizing that, invested in working the physique — and thereby the gasoline tank — with unimaginable success.
Gordon utterly dominated Santos in a unanimous determination (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) victory, one of the crucial one-sided of Gordon’s profession. Gordon’s cardio held the entire approach and he was capable of pepper Santos with mixtures in each spherical, together with clear and constant consideration paid to physique photographs.
Santos was bleeding from his nostril within the first spherical and had a reduce below his eye by the top of the primary. Gordon had a number of surges of massive flurries that did injury. In the meantime, Santos, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, was by no means capable of get Gordon to the bottom in a dominant place. By the third spherical, Santos was clearly drained with Gordon nonetheless pushing ahead and getting in his face.
Gordon, 33, has gained 4 of his final 5 fights. The New York native, who trains out of Kill Cliff FC in Florida, is now 7-4 within the UFC. Santos, a 42-year-old preventing out of Brazil’s Nova Uniao camp, has dropped three straight.
Males’s featherweight: Sean Woodson (9-1-1, 3-1-1 UFC) and Luis Saldaña (16-7-1, 2-1-1 UFC) leads to a cut up draw (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Luis Saldana celebrates after he thinks he is gained the struggle, however referee Mike Beltran deducts some extent from him within the first spherical.
There is no different method to say it: Saldaña blew a number of probabilities to money in an upset victory over Woodson.
Saldaña, who fights out of Phoenix, dropped Woodson with a clear left hook halfway by means of the opening spherical. Fairly than comply with him to the ground and search for a end, Saldaña nonchalantly walked away and allowed Woodson to stand up, and did not aggressively pursue him despite the fact that Woodson appeared very unstable.
The actual mistake got here moments later, nonetheless, when Saldaña dropped him once more with a straight left. Once more, Saldaña elected to not comply with him to the ground. As Woodson sat up, Saldaña rocked him with a blatantly unlawful knee to the pinnacle, which led to a pause within the motion and referee Mike Beltran docking Saldaña some extent.
The remainder of the bout was comparatively inactive, with Woodson doing just a bit extra. He threatened Saldaña with a modified triangle choke within the second spherical, and labored a gradual jab within the third. The consequence, due largely to the purpose deduction, was a cut up draw. The judges’ scorecards learn 29-27 Woodson, 29-27 Saldaña and 28-28.
Attracts are rubbish it means neither fighter will get their win cash and it does not transfer their profession ahead so it is an enormous waste of time and expense
— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) August 21, 2022
Woodson, who fights out of St. Louis, is now 3-1-1 within the UFC, whereas Saldaña is 2-1-1.
Welterweight: Ange Loosa (9-3, 1-1 UFC) def. AJ Fletcher (9-2, 0-2 UFC) by unanimous determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Spherical 3 performed out in gradual movement, with Fletcher mendacity on his again and exhibiting no important effort to stand up, and Loosa sustaining prime place however doing little to attempt to finish the struggle. However the followers did not begin booing till there was barely a minute left. How might they’ve after what these two fighters had delivered within the spherical proper earlier than?
Loosa had spent a lot of that center spherical touchdown proper hand after proper hand to the face of Fletcher, who was bloodied and wobbly by the center of the 5 minutes. However the excessive output appeared to tire Loosa, and Fletcher took benefit of that late within the spherical with a barrage of punches that had his opponent stumbling across the cage, with referee Mike Beltran looming shut by in case he wanted to leap in.
Because the followers roared the horn sounded, each fighters had little to provide from that time on. However merely by getting the struggle again to the canvas initially of the third spherical and protecting it there, Loosa did sufficient to safe the win (29-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Yooooo this struggle is insane !!! #UFC278
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) August 21, 2022
Loosa is 28 and from Switzerland, however trains in South Florida. He gained for the primary time within the Octagon after dropping his UFC debut in April.
Fletcher, a 25-year-old from Lafayette, Louisiana, has misplaced each of his UFC fights after coming to the promotion earlier this yr undefeated.
Males’s flyweight: Amir Albazi (15-1, 3-0 UFC) def. Francisco Figueiredo (13-5-1, 2-2 UFC) by first-round submission (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Albazi is likely one of the prime prospects to look at at 125 kilos and he did nothing Saturday to alter that notion.
Utilizing his wrestling and grappling, Albazi dominated Figueiredo en path to a submission (rear-naked choke) win at 4:34 of the primary spherical. Albazi landed two takedowns and on the second he labored to Figueiredo’s again slickly and locked within the choke.
“There’s a bunch of killers at flyweight and I’m the best of them,” Albazi stated. Albazi, 28, had not fought since January 2021, a unanimous determination victory over Zhalgas Zhumagulov. The Iraq-born England resident has gained 4 straight, together with his first three within the UFC.
Amir is a prrrroblem @AmirAlbazi
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) August 20, 2022
Figueiredo, the 32-year-old brother of flyweight champion Deiveson preventing out of Brazil, is 2-2 within the UFC.
“The king is back,” Albazi stated.
Males’s bantamweight: Aoriqileng (20-9, 2-2 UFC) def. Jay Perrin (10-6, 0-2 UFC) by unanimous determination (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
‘The Mongolian Assassin’ held off a late rally by Perrin en path to unanimous 29-28 judges’ scorecards. The struggle was very aggressive and the Salt Lake Metropolis crowd booed the choice, however Perrin himself appeared to simply accept it and applauded Aoriqileng.
Aoriqileng’s counter placing stood out early within the struggle, as he wobbled Perrin with a left hook and frequently caught him with photographs as he appeared to shut distance. Perrin’s wrestling turned an element within the second and third rounds, nonetheless.
Among the finest motion of the bout occurred within the closing 10 seconds, when Perrin walked Aoriqileng again to the fence and unloaded mixtures. Afterwards, Aoriqileng stated he wasn’t harm by the photographs, nevertheless it was in all probability Perrin’s finest second.
Aoriqileng is now 2-2 within the UFC, though he’s 2-0 since transferring up from flyweight. Perrin, Massachusetts, falls to 0-2.
Males’s flyweight: Victor Altamirano (11-2, 1-1 UFC) def. Daniel Da Silva (11-4, 0-3 UFC) by first-round TKO (Watch this struggle on ESPN+)
Two fighters chasing their first UFC victory wasted no time in getting after it. Each got here out swinging, and Da Silva landed the primary impactful blow, a proper hand that dropped Altamirano and had him in bother within the opening minute. However Altamirano acquired up and saved coming ahead, and after a knee to the physique put Da Silva on the canvas, the Mexican swarmed with a barrage of elbows that completed the job at 3:39 of the primary spherical.
Altamirano, a 31-year-old from Mexico Metropolis who trains in Fort Value, Texas, needed to stand up to the early assault, however as soon as he had the struggle going his approach, he was relentless in profitable for the fifth time in his final six bouts. He misplaced his UFC debut in February.
Da Silva, who’s 26 and from Brazil, appeared just like the sharper fighter initially, pulling down his opponent and almost connecting with spinning assaults. However as soon as he was on his again, he made the error of attempting for submissions somewhat than defending towards the elbows that opened up a reduce on his face and ended the struggle. He has misplaced all three of his UFC bouts.