UFC & MMA Betting

Edwards vs Usman 3 Prediction: Analysis, Betting Odds and Picks



Leon Edwards will face Kamaru Usman in his first title defense in the Welterweight Division this Saturday. After one of the most shocking title bouts in August 2022, this will be the main event of UFC 286: Edwards vs Usman 3, and here are our predictions.

UFC 286: Edwards vs Usman 3 Predictions: Main Event Fight, Odds, Analysis

Kamaru Usman Preview

Kamaru is a 35-year-old American fighter. In 2015, he took part in the 21st season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he successfully performed, defeating Haider Hassan in the final, and signed a contract with the strongest league in the world.

Usman's debut in the UFC took place in December of the same year in a duel against Leon Edwards, whom he defeated by unanimous decision. After winning his debut, Kamaru went on a streak of 8 wins in a row and became the main contender for the title.

In March 2019, Kamaru defeated welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to become the new title holder. After that, he made 5 successful defenses: he beat Colby Covington twice, defended the title twice from Jorge Masvidal, and knocked out Gilbert Burns once.

Kamaru Usman's Fighting Style & Skills

Kamaru is a versatile fighter. Until the first title defense, Kamaru was considered an extremely boring fighter. Рelying on impressive grappling skills, хе won primarily through control. After he moved to coach Trevor Whitman in the summer of 2020, his striking quality improved instantly.

Usman's combinations, like those of the current Justin Gaethje, are simple but very effective. In total, he has no more than 3-4 blanks for the fight, but they were more than enough to deal with Gilbert Burns and knock out Jorge Masvidal.

The main disadvantage of Kamaru is his weak defense. He allows himself to miss too much. In all title defenses, he had moments when his opponents shook him well. Closest to the finish line was Gilbert Burns, who almost knocked down the champion in the very first attack. And finally, when he met Edwards' kick, he was knocked out immediately.

Leon Edwards Preview

Leon is a 30-year-old British fighter. He made his UFC debut in November 2014 against Claudio Silva, whom he lost to via split decision. He closed this defeat with two victories, but his streak was cut off by Kamaru Usman in December 2015.

After losing to Usman, Leon had 10 fights: 9 wins, and 1 fight was declared invalid. Of the 9 wins in the series, only 2 times Edwards won ahead of schedule: He strangled Albert Tumenov at the end of the 3rd round and beat Peter Sobotta with ground and pound a second before the end of the fight.

Edwards last fought in June 2021. His opponent was Nate Diaz. Leon won by unanimous decision.

Leon Edwards' Fighting Style & Skills

Leon is a versatile fighter. His game plan is based on the opponent's weaknesses. If the opponent is bad in striking technique, then Edwards skillfully works with him in the standing position, relying on calculation and a clean game plan in battles. Leon does not seek to finish the opponent and relies on the judges. In the octagon, he does exactly as much as it takes to win. He is able to confidently outscore almost any welterweight fighter in the standing position.

If the opponent struggles badly, then Leon resorts to BJJ. I will note the athlete’s good cardio. Leon can work effectively throughout the fight.

Edwards has lost twice in the UFC. This happened because of the pragmatic game plan of the British. The habit of working for the judges led to the fact that both times Edwards was rated worse than the opponent, as he underperformed in some rounds.

Leon Edwards vs Kumaru Usman 3 Preview: What can we expect from both fighters?

Why did Kamaru Usman fail last time?

Kamaru's main problem in the second fight was his instant attempts to go to the legs after only two or three punches in the stance. Often, he broke through Edwards' defense and even made him stagger, but then abruptly stopped striking and rested his shoulders on the opponent's waist in an attempt to throw him to the ground.

Of course, no one expected that after a weak fight against Diaz, Edwards would show such physical preparation and protection against takedowns. Usman did not expect this either, but, unfortunately, instead of changing the game plan, he continued to stubbornly transfer the opponent to the ground and spent a lot of energy on these transfers.

He was used to winning fights in a single style without any attempt to change tactics and finish the fight ahead of schedule. It was this approach that let him down in the second fight.

Image Credit: UFC

How can Leon Edwards defend his title?

Leon figured out that the only way to defeat Kamaru is with intelligence and timing. So this time, his plan must be even more sophisticated. Of course, he can copy the former Usman and try to conduct a defensive battle. But last time he lost three out of four rounds, and if he hadn’t scored a knockout, he definitely wouldn’t have won via decision.

Edwards will build most of the fight on low and front kicks. His main task is to take speed from Usman and do it as quickly as possible. This time, swinging 3-4 rounds will not work. Usman will be aggressive and will have to respond in kind.

Leon has gotten a lot smarter in the last couple of years, so he still has a chance to make a successful defense.

UFC 286: Edwards vs Usman 3 Odds

Bookmakers clearly believe that only his lucky punch saved Leon from defeat in the second fight. Apparently, they believe that Kamaru drew conclusions after an unfortunate mistake and this time he will be much more aggressive and assertive. You can bet on Kamaru Usman to win @ 2/5 (1.40) right now.

The Briton shocked us all with this high kick, but let's be honest – before this blow, he made a lot of mistakes and almost lost the fight ahead of schedule. Leon Edwards to win is now available for betting @ 2/1 (3.00)

Overall, the Edwards vs Usman betting odds are not in out favor unlike some of the other fights like Fiziev vs Gaethje, for example, the co-main event.

Usman vs Edwards Predictions

I doubt this fight will end fast. Leon Edwards is heading into the biggest fight of his career and it's unlikely that such a pragmatic fighter would take any extra risks by getting involved in trades or trying to force heavy exchanges on Kamaru Usman. Leon will work unabashedly for points, trying to poke his opponent in the standing position and earn the favor of the judges through control in the clinch.

At the same time, I do not think that Usman will aggressively try to win this match after his big mistake last time that cost him the belt. He finishes only those rivals who go to war with him in the octagon. So it was in the duel against Colby Covington when both athletes went head to head.

So it was in the fight against Gilbert Burns, who started the fight aggressively and knocked down the champion with the very first attack. So it was in the 2nd fight with Masvidal, who tried to catch Kamaru with an accurate one-punch knockout.

But Leon Edwards won't go to war. This is a different kind of fighter. He doesn't have the guts to fight Usman. He will try to mix styles and wait for an opportunity like last time, when he landed that destructive kick to the head.

In all the interviews since the loss, the Nigerian has talked about how motivated and charged he is to correct all his mistakes and get back into the octagon.

In the last fight, Usman believed too early that his control on the ground and short-hitting combinations secured his victory on the scorecards. He only thought about how to bring the fight to a decision and again retain his belt without too much risk.

And after all, over the years, only the lazy did not criticize Kamaru for the “defensive style” of protecting his belts. And, perhaps, the Nigerian Nightmare has a great opportunity to finally shut up his haters. Now he does not have a belt, which means there is no serious aggravating weight, without which he can show us a unique fight. We think that Usman will get his belt back in the 4th or 5th round, or with a decision.

Vlad is a former amateur MMA fighter. After a series of injuries, he found a different way to connect with the sport and its fanbase - through writing. He's been covering everything-UFC for over 5 years on various platforms and has been part of the team at NYFights since early 2022.