The UFC heads to the VivintArena in Salt Lake City, Utah, for its PPV this weekend. UFC 278 will take place on Saturday, August 20, and the action will start at 6 p.m. ET with the early preliminary card on ESPN and ESPN+. The main event of the evening will see #2 Leon Edwards getting the first UFC title opportunity of his career as he takes on Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title.
Edwards joined the UFC in November of 2014 and lost by split decision to Claudio Silva. He has gone 11-1 in his last 13 fights, with his bout against Belal Muhammad in March 2021 ruled a no contest. Edwards has won nine fights in a row, not counting the match against Muhammad, and has climbed the division to become the second-ranked welterweight fighter.
Edwards is coming off a unanimous decision against Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in June 2021. Neither fighter secured a knockdown, and Edwards converted four of his five takedown attempts. He had nearly five minutes of control to Diaz’s sub-two minutes. Diaz landed more strikes than Edwards, but the latter landed more significant strikes. Edwards does a great job controlling the pacing of his fights and should enter this weekend’s bout well rested with over a year away from the octagon.
When Edwards faced Muhammad in 2021, their fight was ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke from Edwards. Muhammad got struck in the eye only 18 seconds into the second round and could not continue, so the fight was called off. Ahead of that, Edwards took on Rafael Dos Anjos in July 2019. As per usual, Edwards dominated time of control in this match. Dos Anjos was credited with 2:22 of control, but Edwards finished with over seven minutes of control. He attempted 10 takedowns and converted three of them. He didn’t outstrike Dos Anjos, but did land more significant strikes. After this fight, Edwards had a nearly two-year hiatus from fighting.