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UFC 286 picks and predictions: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman in London

UFC 286 is live from The O2 Arena in London, England, and boy, do we have a treat.

It is a huge card from top to bottom but does have an early start time.

The early prelims will begin at 12:30 p.m. on UFC Fight Pass, while the regular prelims begin at 2 p.m. ET. on ESPN News.

The main card is live on PPV beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

Overall, we have about an eight-hour event. Let’s dive into the fights…

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Kamaru Usman prepares to fight Leon Edwards in their Welterweight title bout during the UFC 278
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UFC 286 picks and predictions

Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman prediction

“Pound for pound headshot; dead!”

Leon “Rocky” Edwards deserves every bit of the love and affection he gets for that unbelievable knockout in the fifth round against Kamaru Usman in his last fight.

But make no mistake, Usman was going to win that fight.

He was -3000 live in the fifth round before that knockout and the coaches believed that Edwards was defeated in his own head leading up to that.

The story is amazing to see unfold.

Usman is a takedown maestro, one of the best grapplers in the game.

Perhaps Usman’s body is beginning to fail him, he probably wishes he had retired before the Edwards fight.

But he didn’t and now has to regain his glory.

The “Nigerian Nightmare” hasn’t been able to run for years due to bad knees, and there is the worry that his hands are beginning to fade after multiple surgeries.

Years ago, I did a study on trilogy fights in mixed martial arts.

Here are a few data points that I did a data study on.

Leon Edwards kicks Kamaru Usman in their Welterweight title bout during the UFC 278
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • Underdogs win the third fight trilogy fights 19 percent of the time (as of July 2021).
  • Fighters who won the second fight, go on to win the third fight 76.19 percent of the time (16-5).
  • The third fight of trilogies ends in a finish 61.2 percent of the time.

Nothing is everything, but everything is something.

We could look at this fight afterward and say, “Wow Usman’s body broke down,” similar to McGregor’s leg break in July of 2021.

We could easily say the reverse; though so there is no bet on the fighter itself.

Instead, let’s target this one to go to decision.

The first fight went to decision, the second fight was two minutes away from going to decision, and each fighter holds above a 61 percent decision rate in the UFC.

The best line for this one is on FanDuel at -146 grab this one all the way up to -160.

Rafael Fiziev vs. Justin Gaethje prediction

This one will be violent.

Fiziev is one the cleanest technical strikers in the UFC and is matched up with the most chaotic fighter in the organization.

Gaethje is the fighter that will eat one shot to deliver one of his own.

And he believes you won’t be able to take his shot, but that hasn’t exactly worked for him much recently.

Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Gatehje has lost two of his last three, albeit against the top-tier competition of the division.

I have targeted Fiziev for months as one of the very best prospects in the division with future champion potential.

That train doesn’t get stopped here.

In fact, this could be a showcase fight for him as Gaethje doesn’t offer enough volume to hurt Fiziev consistently and doesn’t have the most power.

Back Fizeiev to win by KO/TKO at +160 on BetRivers.

Muhammad Mokaev vs. Jafel Filho prediction

A budding star in the UFC flyweight division, Muhammad Mokaev faces off against Jafel Filho.

Filho is not a bad fighter by any means but going against a submission ace like Mokaev is never going to make you look good.

Filho is coming off Dana White’s Contender Series with a shaky win that did land him a contract.

Muhammad Mokaev of Russia secures an arm bar submission against Malcolm Gordon of Canada in a flyweight fight during the UFC 280
Zuffa LLC

My issue is Filho is a good grappler himself, but there are levels to this game.

He’ll probably learn that Mokaev is the far better grappler early and often.

Look for Mokaev to run through his opponent in a “get right” matchup on Saturday night.

Muhammad Mokaev wins in round 1 or 2 +110 on BetMGM is the official play but feel free to grab an under 2.5 round prop for Mokaev as well.

UFC 286 parlay and picks

Let’s close out the UFC 286 betting card.

  • Usman/Edwards goes to decision -146 (FanDuel)
  • Fiziev wins by KO/TKO +160 (BetRivers)
  • Mokaev wins in round 1 or 2 +110 (BetMGM)

Todorvic wins by KO/TKO in rounds 2 or 3 + Amirkhani wins by submission in round 1 +1600 + Vettori by decision -125

This extremely long shot parlay comes at 366/1 if the stars align.

Good luck and bet responsibly at UFC 286!