More MMA action comes your way on Saturday, 24 hours after Cage Warriors holds Cage Warriors 150 and the Cage Warriors 150 main event. Here’s hoping the fight fans in London get a good night’s sleep on St. Patrick’s Day because chances are the ride that the UFC’s going to take them on will get bumpy before the UFC 286 main event ends.
For the second time in three weekends, the promotion returns to ESPN+ pay-per-view (inside the United States, preorder today) as the O2 Arena’s main room plays host to UFC 286. All told, Saturday’s card is packed with 15 fights.
Live coverage begins at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT with the undercard on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass, with preliminary action continuing at 3 pm ET/ noon PT on ESPN+ and ESPNEWS. The pay-per-view main card kicks off at 5 pm ET/ 2 pm PT.
Trilogy Fight For UFC Welterweight Championship in UFC 286 Main Event Saturday
Highlighting the night’s activities in the United Kingdom is a battle for supremacy at 170 lbs. in the UFC 286 main event of the evening. Incumbent UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 NC MMA, 12-2, 1 NC UFC) squares off against No. 1 contender Kamaru Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC).
As with all championship fights in the promotion, this one will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show. This is the third time that these two men have fought one another inside an MMA cage.
The Series So Far…
To date, the head-to-head series between Edwards and Usman stands level at a win apiece. Back in December 2015, just six days before Christmas, Usman took the first contest against Edwards.
Over six and a half years passed between the first encounter and the rematch, and the second fight’s stakes were much higher. Last August, the UFC Welterweight Championship was up for the taking during UFC 278’s main event in Salt Lake City.
Edwards leveled up the all-time series with a fourth-round knockout due to a head kick. On Saturday night, the score will be settled.
UFC 286 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the trilogy bout in the UFC 286 main event on Saturday, both Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman stand level in height at six feet even. Usman owns a two-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 74 inches) over Edwards, who has a two-inch leg reach advantage (43 inches to 41 inches.)
As of late Wednesday night, the oddsmakers have challenger Kamaru Usman installed as a -250 favorite, with Leon Edwards countering as a +210 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Leon Edwards Aiming to Begin Kamaru Usman’s Retirement Tour in UFC 286 Main Event
Leon Edwards comes into the UFC 286 main event this weekend having posted a record of 4-0 with one no-contest in his last five fights. He’s undefeated in his last 11 fights (10-0, 1 NC,)
Before the head kick knockout last summer, Edwards scored a unanimous decision victory on June 12, 2021, against Nate Diaz (21-13 MMA, 16-11 UFC) during UFC 263. On Wednesday, Leon Edwards used his time at the pre-fight media availability to compare himself and Kamaru Usman to two ships passing in the night.
“Our mentalities are in two different places,” Edwards began. “I feel like he’s on his way out, and I was going to open the door for him, give him another path to follow his fashion dreams, and follow wherever he wants to go. I think he’s already got one, something’s out the door and I was going to add to that. Whether he retires after or not, it’s up to him.”
Edwards is a man eager to defend his 170-lb. strap, but will he be able to defend the title? Watch to find out.
Usman Wants Revenge
In the other corner, Kamaru Usman has gone 4-1 over the last five contests, including a unanimous decision win versus Colby Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) in November of 2021 during UFC 268’s main event.
Revenge is written in Usman’s game plan, and it’s written in boldface type. He was recently a guest on The Pivot podcast, where he outlined exactly what he wants to do on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a little more different this time,” the challenger said. “In his head, he forgot what happened four rounds before that. He’s like, ‘I landed the kick. I’m the champ! I’m good.’ But he forgot what happened. You forgot that I was taking your soul. So I have to remind him who he is: A guy that let someone take your soul, twice. And I’m going to take it in London.”
Will we see the sequel to the motion picture Soultaker with Kamaru Usman in the lead role on Saturday? If so, showtime is the UFC 286 main event.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC 286 main event looks to favor Kamaru Usman. While both Usman and Leon Edwards own black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the former has a college wrestling background, having won the NCAA Division II National Championship 13 years ago while a member of The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s wrestling team.
Look For Leon Edwards to Use the Kicking Game to His Advantage
Leon Edwards can kick his way to a victory as he did against Usman the last time they faced each other. During the fifth and final round, Edwards threw several feints to keep Usman honest.
The two fighters were in the clinch for a while, but Herb Dean broke it up due to inactivity. Dean would also call time for a kick that he believed was below the belt. Telecast replays proved otherwise, however.
After, Edwards and Usman bided their time as both men looked to connect with the big shot. Edwards landed the final blow, connecting on a kick to Usman’s head right to knock Usman out cold.
If Leon Edwards throws copious kicks, he will retain the championship after the UFC 286 main event.
Watch Usman’s Jab
In the other corner, Kamaru Usman’s jab could tell the story in London on Saturday night. Gilbert Burns found out firsthand just how powerful Usman’s jab is during their fight at the UFC Apex two years ago.
At the start of the third round, Usman stalked Burns, with the latter landing a leg kick. Usman returned fire with a jab, and this spelled the beginning of the end.
A flurry of ground and pound shots finished Burns off. If Kamaru Usman lands one jab right on the money, he can take the championship back.
There isn’t too much more we can say about the UFC 286 main event except this: If you don’t watch the fight on Saturday, you won’t have anything to talk about on Sunday.
Prediction: Kamaru Usman by Unanimous Decision.
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