The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with a massive pay-per-view event and a fight card that includes some of the biggest stars in the organization right now. UFC 278: Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards has an incredible main event but the full card includes multiple promising bouts and we are here to analyze them. Here are our predictions for the entire event.
UFC 278 Predictions: Early Prelims, Prelims, Main Card
Amir Albazi vs Francisco Figueiredo (Flyweight Bout)
Amir Albazi Preview
Amir is a versatile fighter. His style is distinguished by high speed and accuracy of strikes. On the ground, he is strong not with grappling skills in the form of control and damage, but with a wide arsenal of BJJ techniques: the Swede is able to perform submissions from any position. The main disadvantage of Albazi is endurance. He sags on cardio by the 3rd round and can give the initiative to the opponent.
Francisco Figueiredo Preview
Francisco is a BJJ specialist. He controls his opponent well on the ground and in the clinch, constantly trying to finish his fights with a submission. 7 out of 12 victories Francisco got by submission. The Brazilian has power in his fists and can knock out an opponent with 1 accurate hit.
Francisco is a raw fighter. In the standing position, he demonstrates nothing but a powerful strike. In fights with physically powerful strikers who have good transfer defense, Figueiredo will be in serious trouble.
Albazi vs Figueiredo Prediction
A meeting of fighters with BJJ backgrounds is likely to come to a decision. Albazi and Figueiredo will not create anything interesting in the standing position and will fight for control in the clinch. Therefore, I do not think that there will be a knockout in this fight.
If the fight goes to the ground, then there will most likely be parity, since both fighters are too good grapplers to make a mistake and give up position.
AJ Fletcher vs Ange Loosa (Welterweight Bout)
AJ Fletcher Preview
AJ is a versatile fighter who relies on wrestling. He performs a lot of effective takedowns, and once on the ground, he actively develops his position in order to quickly get the opportunity to enter the субмиссион. In the stand, Fletcher demonstrates good kickboxing technique. His punches are fast and accurate, and there is knockout power in his fists.
Ange Loosa Preview
Ange is an aggressive fighter. He tries to crush opponents with hard pressure and a lot of punches. I note that Lооsa has knockout power: 5 out of 8 victories he won by knockouts.
Ange's main problem is his cardio. He gets seriously tired towards the middle of the fight and becomes extremely passive. At this moment, he gives the initiative to his opponents.
Fletcher vs Loosa Prediction
Loosa is a one-sided striker and his versatility will help Fletcher win. AJ will be able to slow down his pace by going into the clinch or by taking the fight to the ground. This will not only allow Fletcher to avoid dangerous exchanges with Loosa but also allow him to wear out faster due to the viscous struggle. After Ange gets tired and gives up the initiative, Fletcher will do whatever he wants with him: beat him on the stand, control him in the clinch or on the ground, break him with hard ground and pound on the canvas.
Sean Woodson vs Luis Saldana (Featherweight Bout)
Sean Woodson Preview
Sean prefers to work on his feet. This is a high-speed tempo that crushes opponents with aggressive standing pressure, shooting them with attacks on different floors.
But, Julian Erosa, who entered the fight against Woodson on short notice, showed that Sean had gaps on the ground. Trying to improve the position from making mistakes and can give back, arm or neck to the submission.
Luis Saldana Preview
Luis is a versatile fighter. In the stand, he is used to working at long and medium distances. On his feet, Luis tries to outshoot his opponent on points and rarely escalates the situation to get a knockout. On the ground, the fighter uses a wide arsenal of BJJ to submit his opponent. 8 out of 16 victories he won by submission.
Luis is a mediocre fighter. He has a wide arsenal of techniques, but at the same time, he is bad in all aspects of combat. In the stance, the fighter is too slow. Because of this, he misses a lot of punches from fighters who are not inferior to him in size. In fights against good wrestlers, Saldana regularly makes mistakes.
Woodson vs Saldana Prediction
Style clashes often end early and this fight will be no exception. If Luis fails to transfer the fight to the ground, then he will be interrupted and knocked out. Woodson is 8 cm taller than him and has a 16 cm longer arm span. He will confidently attack from a comfortable distance and will not let his opponent at a distance sufficient to carry out an effective attack.
Leonardo Santos vs Jared Gordon (Lightweight Bout)
Leonardo Santos Preview
Santos has been practicing BJJ since the age of 5 and has a 4th dan black belt in this martial art. Even prominent representatives of this martial art, like Demian Maia or the Nogueira brothers, have not reached such a high level of skill.
Thanks to the impressive background in BJJ, Leonardo feels great on the ground. He can quickly take the right position and perform a submission. In addition, Leonardo has a high takedown defense rate. The fighter blocks 86% of the opponent's attempts to get to his feet.
Jared Gordon Preview
Jared is a versatile fighter who prefers to work on his feet. Thanks to a good boxing base, the American does a huge amount of work on his feet. On average, he throws 7.48 punches per minute with an accuracy of 53%. He has pretty quick hands and moves pretty well in the octagon.
Gordon uses his wrestling and BJJ skills primarily for defense. He blocks 75% of takedown attempts, he knits opponents well from the back. Against medium grappling fighters, he shows good positional fighting and control.
Santos vs Gordon Prediction
The fight will be short. Leonardo Santos has a good chance of beating Gordon in the first half of the fight. Until the Brazilian gets tired, he will be dangerous due to his good boxing technique and knockout power. Jared doesn't hold a punch at all, and 42-year-old Leonardo has enough power left to knock Gordon down at the very least. If the referee does not stop the fight again while Gordon survives, the Brazilian will again run out, get tired, and will not be able to compete with his opponent any longer.
Marcin Tybura vs Alexandr Romanov (Heavyweight Bout)
Marcin Tybura Preview
Tybura is a basic wrestler. His trump card is the control of the opponent in the clinch near the net, the good implementation of takedowns, and positional fighting on the ground. Occupying a dominant position, Tybura seeks to finish the opponent with ground and pound or hold a painful hold.
In the standing position, Marchin relies on knockout power. Despite the fact that the Pole can work with good series, he prefers to throw single tight punches.
Alexandr Romanov Preview
Alexander's base is freestyle wrestling. Like Tybura, his trump cards are powerful takedowns and tenacious control on the ground and in the clinch. Romanov tries to quickly take a favorable position in order to finish the opponent. Only 1 fight with his participation came to a decision. And then, it was technical.
Tybura vs Romanov Prediction
3 out of 5 fights of Alexandr Romanov were close to entering the 3rd round. Only Chase Sherman and Marcus Rogerio de Lima, who have no ground skills at all, finished in the 1st round.
Secondly, even in a fight with a basic wrestler who does not have filigree striking technique, Alexandr looked very bad in the standing position.
But the most interesting thing is that Alexandr did not manage to work comfortably with a weak wrestler like Juan Espino. He could not effectively transfer a larger opponent to the ground and the fight took place mainly in the battle for the clinch position.
Tybura surpasses Romanov in size as well as Espino. Also, the Pole fights well and works well in the clinch. So I expect this fight to be a long one. Alexandr will try to implement the usual game plan, and we will have a wrestling showdown, which will mainly take place in the clinch. During the first 2 rounds, there will be a struggle for the position and the fighter who will be less tired by the final five minutes will win.
Jose Aldo vs Merab Dvalishvili (Bantamweight Bout)
Jose Aldo is another huge name that will fight in the Main Card of UFC 278: Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards this week and the fans are almost as excited for his fight as they are for the main event.
Jose Aldo Preview
Aldo is a versatile fighter. On the stand, he relies on elite kickboxing skills. The Brazilian has good technique, high explosive power, and effective attacks. He throws very hard punches and throws low kicks so snappy they can disable an opponent's leg.
I note Aldo's good defense against takedowns. He blocks 82% of attempts to take him to the ground. In addition, he emphasizes BJJ in training. Aldo uses jiu-jitsu defensively to get back on his feet after being transferred to the canvas.
The form of Jose directly depends on his weight race. So, before the fight with Marlon Moraes, it was clear that Aldo was experiencing serious problems on the scales because the fight turned out to be extremely controversial.
Merab Dvalishvili Preview
The whole gameplay of Merab is based on the control of opponents on the ground and in the clinch. Thanks to his impressive physical strength, he is able to carry out spectacular amplitude throws.
The Georgian has a rudimentary stance. He has an awkward punching technique, he hits inaccurately, and his punches do not deal damage. The only one he was able to shake was Marlon Moraes, known for falling from stronger jabs. Trying to quickly close the distance, Merab forgets about defense, which is why he misses a lot of punches. In the fight with Moraes, this movement technique led to the fact that Dvalishvili flew into a knockdown and miraculously survived under a hail of blows from the Brazilian.
Aldo vs Dvalishvili Prediction
Don't be fooled by Merab's impressive win streak. Of the 7 opponents he has defeated since 2018, only 2 are good fighters – Casey Kenney and Cody Stamann. The rest of the fighters either haven’t competed in the UFC for a long time, have suspended their careers, or were at the peak of their career decline, like Marlon Moraes.
Dvalishvili is too straightforward and simple. Jose Aldo will be able to get rid of his primitive pressure with an emphasis on takedowns and impose a duel in the rack. In addition to a good defense against takedowns and a well-built defense on the ground, Aldo is slightly larger than the opponent in size and Merab will have a hard time executing takedowns.