UFC 286 predictions — Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3: Fight card, odds, prelims, preview, expert picks

On Saturday night, Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards will meet in a rubber match for the welterweight championship in the main event of UFC 286. In their previous meeting, Usman dominated the fight before Edwards was knocked out with a blow to the head in the last minute of the 5th round. , ending Usman’s long reign as champion.

Usman has been the best fighter in the previous two bouts, winning almost every moment in both fights, but Edwards’ head kick is the moment that really stands out in their rivalry.

“It’s strange because on the way to the hospital that night, I already experienced it,” Usman told Morning Fight about this this week.. “I survived it. When you feel relieved of all expectations, you just hear everything subside. All the people who had jumped on the ship, making it heavy and in need of care, now sort of jumped off. .

“It makes the sport fun for me, and it wasn’t that much fun with all the noise. I love the position I have risen to and I appreciate it because I know I put in all the work I have done over the years. But it wasn’t as fun as traveling. I love that I can truly enjoy sports again. I enjoyed the time when my daughter and I drove to and from the gym every day.”

In the co-main event of the evening, Justin Gaethje looks to maintain his status as one of the UFC’s elite lightweights by taking on rising star Rafael Fiziev. The fight promises to be an exciting fight between two powerful fighters with the ability to end the fight at any moment.

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The undercard fills up with some fun fights that can make fireworks. Submission specialist Gunnar Nelson is back in business when he takes on the fighting brute Brian Barberena. And the main card opens with an important middleweight bout as former title contender Marvin Vettori takes on rising contender Roman Dolidze.

With so much going on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get into our staff’s predictions and picks for the PPV celebration part.

UFC 286 fight card, odds

Odds via bookmaker Caesars

  • Kamaru Usman -240 vs. Leon Edwards (c) +200 Welterweight Championship
  • Rafael Fiziev -230 vs. Justin Gaethje +190, lightweight
  • Gunnar Nelson -370 vs Brian Barberena +290 Welterweight
  • Casey O’Neal -175 vs. Jennifer Maya +150 Women’s Flyweight
  • Marvin Vettori -280 vs. Roman Dolidze +230 Middleweight
  • Jack Shore -500 vs Makwan Amirkhani +380 Featherweight
  • Omar Morales -110 vs. Chris Duncan -110 Middleweight
  • Sam Patterson -280 vs Yanal Ashmoz +230 Lightweight
  • Muhammad Mokaev -900 vs. Jafel Filho +600 Flyweight
  • Leron Murphy -175 vs Gabriel Santos +150 Featherweight
  • Christian Leroy Duncan -210 vs. Dusko Todorovic +175 Middleweight
  • Jake Hadley -400 vs. Malcolm Gordon +310 flyweight
  • Joanne Wood -170 vs. Luana Carolina +145 Women’s Flyweight
  • Ludovit Klein -190 vs. Jai Herbert +160 Lightweight
  • Julianne Miller -440 vs. Veronica Macedo +350, Women’s Flyweight

With such a massive main event in mind, the CBS Sports team made their predictions and chose the main card. Here are your picks: Brent Brookhouse (combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (combat sports writer, Morning Kombat co-host), Shaquille Mahjuri (screenwriter), Michael Mormail (producer), and Brandon Wise (senior editor).

UFC 286 Election Predictions

Campbell Brookhouse Mahjuri To Morm Wise
Edwards (c) vs. Usman Usman Usman Usman Edwards Usman
Gaethje vs. Fiziev Fiziev Fiziev Fiziev Fiziev Gaethje
Nelson vs. barberin Salon Nelson Nelson Nelson Salon
O’Neal vs Maya O’Neill O’Neill O’Neill O’Neill O’Neill
Carriers vs. Dolidze Dolidze Vectors Vectors Vectors Vectors
Records to date (2023)
12-3 10-5 11-4 12-3 10-5

Edwards vs Usman

Campbell: It took Edwards a 10-fight unbeaten streak and a dramatic fifth-round knockout of Usman in their Rocky rematch last summer to finally earn the title of legitimate welterweight contender (and now champion). However, in a moment as inspirational as his stunning headbutt turned out to be, Edwards once again enters the trilogy as a betting underdog. And there’s good reason to believe Usman when he said the loss had more to do with his lack of focus than anything else after dominating the previous three rounds before Edwards ended the fight. Usman, even approaching the age of 36, remains a more dominant wrestler and better mixed martial artist than his British rival and pretty much proved it with the eight rounds in between. With newfound motivation to reclaim the title, expect Usman to do his business as deliberately as possible, supporting Edwards and using the threat of a takedown to open his punch.

Brookhouse: I think that there is a very real chance that Usman will be broken by one blow. We’ve seen a lot of elite fighters get knocked out once and never be the same again, especially later in their careers. However, I just can’t pick Edwards. Prior to this strike by Edwards, Usman had dominated the fight. Edwards looked completely beaten in the corner round after round. What is more likely here? Usman falls victim to a massive one-punch knockout, or does this fight end the same as all of their previous two encounters, except for one second?

Mahjuri: Reducing Edwards’ victory over Usman to a hit is disrespectful. Usman felt too comfortable in the last minutes of the fight and fell into Edwards’ beautifully set trap. It’s also worth noting that Edwards struggled with the rise during their second meeting. However, Usman was the best fighter for most of this fight. It’s unfair to discount Usman, who was 56 seconds away from setting Anderson Silva’s winning streak record. He should still have an edge in the fight and can deal damage with his punches. Usman’s clearest path to victory is to win by decision, as he did in his first fight with Jorge Masvidal. The London public won’t like it, but Usman’s job is to make them happy. Expect a competitive fight, but one that should go to the former champion.

Fiziev vs. Gaethje

Campbell: Armed with a six-fight win streak, including three brutal knockouts, Fiziev may be catching the dangerous Gaethje at just the right time after Zyuminka has lost undisputed title bids twice over the past three years. At 34 years old, given the incredible experience gained over recent years as one of the most exciting and barbaric fighters in UFC history, Gaethje’s inevitable demise is likely to come quickly once it begins. Provided that Fiziev can keep his distance from the calculating brawler and shoot from the outside, Gaethje’s lack of commitment to his own wrestling attack leaves him very vulnerable on the stand.

Mahjuri: Fiziev is a force on your feet. A decorated Muay Thai striker, Fiziev has knocked out eight of his 12 MMA fights. Gaethje should never be discounted and has the ferocious spirit to knock out anyone at lightweight. In addition, Gaethje tells CBS Sports that he will rely on his student wrestling experience more than ever. The problem is that Gaethje has never attempted a takedown in the UFC, and Fiziev has a brilliant 92% takedown defense. Gaethje will not be easy, but Fiziev has every chance to split Gaethje’s weathered chin in 15 minutes.

Wise: While it’s true that Gaethje’s damage should catch up to him, getting a fighting brute as an underdog here just seems too juicy to pass up. Fiziev is a versatile fighter, able to strike from a distance. But Gaethje tends to cause a fight in everyone he comes across with sheer will. Just ask Charles Oliveira, who was widely expected to put him on the mat early, but instead opted to get up and trade with the former interim title holder before ultimately making the change. Gaethje has a way of getting fighters to fight his style, and until he’s really finished off by some of the elite still in action, I’ll be on the Punchline’s side to produce again.

Nelson vs. barberin

Campbell: An amazing three-fight winning streak, culminating in his loss to Rafael dos Anjos last December, has given Barberen the confidence (and job security) to put off early retirement at 33. a famous brawler who honed his punches to the point of surprising veteran fighters like Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown. While Nelson is technically a step ahead of Barberena’s recent victories, his own repeated layoffs, including just one fight in the last three years, have tarnished his reputation. Barberena will need to pick up the pace and lure Nelson into the carnage, but he has a gas tank and the will to win the fight thanks to his high volume and stamina.

Brookhouse: Barberena’s fight just isn’t on the level that should be against someone with Nelson’s skills. Nelson is a leg pest with his karate-based punches and this will make Barberena try to attack with big blitzes. Such a leap forward simply opens up opportunities for Nelson to take the fight to the ground, where it becomes a complete inconsistency. Barberena, who came on short notice with the disadvantages he has in wrestling and wrestling, is simply not going to come out of it with a win.

Mahjuri: Nelson didn’t make much of an impression on MMA fans, but it’s more…


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