Boardroom opens the Multiverse of Madness to explore EVERYTHING that could happen in the Usman vs. Edwards 2 main event at UFC 278 on Aug. 20.
UFC 278’s 170-pound main event title fight, a rematch between champ Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, has all the ingredients to change the course of discussion regarding the greatest welterweights of all time. Nonetheless, MMA purists aren’t ready to knock Georges St. Pierre off of that throne, even if UFC President Dana White has declared Usman the greatest welterweight in the promotion’s history.
For long-tenured fans to get on board with White’s statement, Usman will have to display a level of mastery comparable to his demolition of Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, noted as one of the most dazzling knockout punches in MMA title fight history. However, Edwards’ skillset, movement, and fight IQ come only second to Usman in the division and are levels above Masvidal at this stage of their careers.
Finishing Edwards will be no easy task, as it’s never been done before.
Our friends at FanDuel Sportsbook set the lines for the fight with Usman at -400 to win and Edwards coming back at +285. Usman has +270 odds to knock out Edwards — a number that’s shockingly better than Edwards’ overall chances of winning.
Once again, we transcend the gates of Boardroom’s Multiverse of Madness to explore the many possible outcomes from the heavily anticipated bout — from the most likely to the downright impossible — and the consequences and fallout of each moving forward.
Most Likely Usman Victory Scenario: Decision
FanDuel Odds: -110
The consensus is that Usman’s wrestling is just too much for any welterweight on the planet to survive. Even an elite athlete like Edwards has shown the ability to neutralize high-level grappling efforts from Rafael dos Anjos and Gunnar Nelson in the past.
Usman separates himself from the pack with incredible technique, an endless motor that outperformed Colby Covington twice, and a newfound belief in the potent power of his fists that can end bouts in a single shot. If he performs to the best of his abilities, he’ll be able to outwork Edwards like in their previous fight in 2015, except this time, he’ll have many attacking options besides a double leg takedown.
Should Usman vs. Edwards 2 feature the former dominating the latter in all aspects of the fight game, expect his name to leap into the stratosphere of the all-time elite. Of course, there will be naysayers who shun the notion of Usman transcending the decorated career of St. Pierre. Regardless, one by one, Usman is humbly battering each top opponent in the division. Dominating Edwards allows Usman to beat three separate top contenders twice in seven years.
Most Likely Edwards Victory Scenario: KO/TKO
FanDuel Odds: +550
Leon has a better chance of finishing Usman than getting his hand raised after a hard-fought 25 minutes. Six of his 19 career victories have come by knockout, clocking in at a 31.5% knockout rate. While the margins are slim, Edwards has progressively shown new wrinkles in his footwork and punch placement. Today, he is a more well-rounded threat than in the past.
Because he’s primarily known as a striker, fans would expect Leon to win by knockout if he is to be victorious, particularly after he out-boxed and outworked Nate Diaz to an easy decision victory at UFC 263. He’s become synonymous with comfortably fighting on the feet and controlling the pace and exchanges no matter the competition.
If Edwards knocks out Usman, it legitimizes his grueling run to the division’s top. After being ranked highly since 2019, the UK-born showman has seen championship opportunities slip to Covington, Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns. Respect comes alongside dethroning the champion, creating an exciting dynamic in seeing hold Edwards handles the pressures of being a UFC champion.
Shocking-but-possible Outcome: Edwards by Points
FanDuel Odds: +700
Regarding the precision of Edwards’ fists — it would be a long shot, but he’s capable of shocking Usman on the feet and putting him to sleep.
No matter the progression of his boxing, Usman is a pressing wrestler at his core. Even at the top, his MMA striking came along with on-the-job training. Edwards, on the other hand, has pure striking roots dating back to 2009. Such a vast experience gap could bode well for Edwards. After all, he specializes in footwork, utilizing angles, and placing precision punches in volume.
Many have criticized the striking techniques of Usman in the past. MMA pundits acknowledged his progression but yearned to see a less linear approach from the champion and more creativity.
While it’s not probable, Edwards has all the necessary tools to knock out Usman if the opportunity presents itself.
MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS Mind-blowing Scenario:
Usman by Submission
FanDuel Odds: +2100
Throughout 21 professional MMA bouts, Usman has one submission to his name. To find it, fight fans must traverse deep into the 2015 MMA archives. You’d find Usman’s seventh career fight, where he caught Hayder Hassan in a rear-naked choke during The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians finale. Ironically, the fight started Usman’s UFC tenure and was the precursor to his first win over Edwards.
Usman attempts 0.1 submissions per 15 minutes, or a standard three-round fight. Nonetheless, their rematch presents an opportunity to flex his BJJ black belt awarded to him by his longtime coach Jorge Santiago after he became the champion by defeating Tyron Woodley at UFC 235.
Concerning dangerous mat threats, Usman is at the top of the list. He owns a flawless 100% stat of stuffing opponents’ takedown attempts. While landing three takedowns per fight, it’s safe to say that anything is possible with such a dominant force on the ground.
If Usman adds the dimension of submission threats to his already dangerous arsenal, prepare for GOAT talk.