UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 – Early prelims predictions

The UFC heads to Utah for a huge welterweight showdown as Kamaru Usman defenders his 170-pound crown against Leon Edwards in the main event.

The two fight for a second time, with neither fighter suffering defeat since the first showing back in 2015 and are supported by an undercard including Paulo Costa, Luke Rockhold, Jose Aldo, Merab Dvalishvili, Alexandr Romanov, Miranda Maverick and more.

Last time out at UFC San Diego we went 8/13 with three perfect picks to move to 698/1082 (64.51%) with 295 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that now, starting with the early prelims.


Daniel Da Silva (11-3) vs Victor Altamirano (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweight never die and the 125-pound division opens up the card. Da Silva has lost his last two in a row, getting KO’d by Jeff Molina and then submitted by Francisco Figueiredo via first-round kneebar in his most recent bout. Altamirano suffered a split decision defeat in his UFC debut against Carlos Hernandez most recently.

Da Silva is a lovely striker with especially powerful kicks and lightning fast combinations, while Altamirano is a submission specialist with great ability on the mat and some bog standard striking. Da Silva however really struggles in the grappling department and if he is unable to keep this fight standing then he could be in for trouble. Altamirano however has a tendency to fight with his hands low and with the kicks of Da Silva, that could mean an early night for him.

Ultimately, Altamirano’s path to victory seems more likely. Da Silva is someone who has been know to empty the gas tank far too early chasing finishes that aren’t there, while sometimes his output can suffer because of the fear of a takedown. Expect to see “El Magnifico” ride out the early pressure before getting the fight down to the mat and controlling the action for a scorecard win.
PICK – Victor Altamirano via Decision

Aoriqileng (19-9) vs Jay Perrin (10-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very fun bantamweight scrap up next. Aoriqileng got his first UFC win with a big KO against Cameron Else in his last fight, while Perrin lost his debut to Mario Bautista via unanimous decision back in February.

Aoriqileng is a powerful striker with great speed and some really good technique, while Perrin is a wrestler who will look to burst forward with strikes to try and set up a takedown to control the fight from top position. Aoriqileng has struggled in the past with strong wrestlers, notably Cody Durden, and that gives Perrin a big avenue for a victory.

If Perrin is able to get takedowns early and hold him down then he will win this fight easily, but Aoriqileng is likely to have improved his wrestling and certainly has the power to end the night early. It will be tough for him, because Perrin is a good wrestler, but I think Aoriqileng is able to catch him coming in early and end the fight.
PICK – Aoriqileng via Knockout, Round 1



Amir Albazi (14-1) vs Francisco Figueiredo (13-4-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Another fun flyweight scrap in this one. Albazi has won his last three in a row, including a submission win in his UFC debut against Malcolm Gordon (UFC Fight Island 2) and a decision win over Zhalgas Zhumagulov at UFC 257 last time out. Figueiredo is 2-1 in the UFC with a decision win over Jerome Rivera at UFC Fight Island 8, before defeat to Malcolm Gordon and then a kneebar win over Daniel Da Silva most recently.

Albazi is a terrific grappler with terrific wrestling and some excellent submission skills, scoring eight wins via tap out in his career, while also being a decent striker and able to hold his own on the feet. Figueiredo on the other hand is an odd fighter with some okay striking and grappling, but he really lacks output and urgency in his fights and his cardio has let him down in every fight that has gone past the second round before.

Considering Albazi was able to compete as a striker against Zhumagulov, he should be able to do the same with Figueiredo. Add that to the fact he has a great advantage in the grappling and wrestling, plus Figueiredo’s lack of one-punch power to go with his lack of volume, and this should be a one-sided performance in Albazi’s favour.
PICK – Amir Albazi via Decision

AJ Fletcher (9-1) vs Ange Loosa (8-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A banger at welterweight up next between two fun prospects. Fletcher suffered defeat to Matthew Semelsberger in a short-notice bout on his debut last time out, while Loosa is 2-3 in his last five including defeats on Dana White’s Contender Series to Jack Della Maddalena and his debut against Mounir Lazzez last time out.

Fletcher is an absolute powerhouse who is happy to scrap, but he’s also a very good wrestler and likely the best Loosa has ever faced. Loosa is a striker with great power too, who uses excellent low kicks and a super strong right hand to turn his opponents’ lights out. This is a great match-up with the potential for real fireworks.

Loosa has a big seven-inch reach advantage which will help him in the striking department, but he has a tendency to throw naked kicks and that will allow Fletcher the opportunity to catch and wrestle him. If that happens, expect Fletcher to be able to keep him down and earn the victory in a really fun fight.
PICK – AJ Fletcher via Decision

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