Kamaru Usman suffered one of the most surprising defeats in the UFC in 2022. Usman was a -375 favorite to beat Leon Edwards per the UFC betting odds at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City back in August. At the time, Usman was the pound-for-pound champion in the UFC, so he was expected to make quick work of Edwards. However, the challenger had something else in mind. Edwards stunned Usman with a head kick in the fifth round that earned him the UFC Welterweight Championship. Usman is looking to reclaim the title, and he is a significant favorite per the MMA betting line in the rematch between these two fighters.
UFC 286 is taking place just two weeks after UFC 285. This PPV promotion will be held across the pond at The O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday, March 18, 2023. The prelims will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN, while the main event will get underway at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN PPV.
UFC 286 Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Kamaru Usman -250
Leon Edwards +195
Before being upset by Leon Edwards last year, Kamaru Usman had won 19 straight fights. Usman laid claim to the UFC Welterweight Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019, and he successfully defended his title five times before suffering a defeat. The former champion earned three bonuses in those title defenses, as he knocked out Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Jorge Masvidal. Usman defeated Covington and Masvidal twice in the last three years, and the promotion threw Edwards at him again because he had so thoroughly dominated the division. However, Edwards now has the upper hand after his surprising win.
Edwards has not lost a fight since Usman defeated him by unanimous decision in December 2015. He is 10-0-1 following that defeat, and the only blemish on his record was a no contest against Belal Muhammad due to an accidental eye poke. His knockout of Usman was only his third KO since joining the UFC in late 2014, so it’s very unlikely it happens again.
While Edwards was able to get the upper hand on Usman in their last fight, Usman will be the better performer this time around. That defeat likely humbled Usman a little bit and sent him back to the drawing board, and I expect him to return the favor and score a knockout of Edwards on Saturday night in London.
Rafael Fiziev -245
Justin Gaethje is ranked the No. 3 contender in the lightweight division, but he is an underdog by the MMA betting odds against Rafael Fiziev in the co-main event. Gaethje’s star was on the rise after ending Tony Ferguson’s winning streak in order to claim the interim UFC Lightweight Championship three years ago, but he has lost both of his title fights since that point. He was submitted early on by both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira, but the good news is that his opponent this time around isn’t a submission specialist.
Instead, Rafael Fiziev has a background in Muay Thai, and he looks to punish his foes. Fiziev has scored a knockout in three of his last four fights, and he has scored five straight bonuses because of his exciting style. We saw Fiziev knockout Rafael dos Anjos last July, but that was his toughest test to date. At this price, Gaethje is probably the play.
Marvin Vettori -275
Roman Dolidze +210
The first fight of the PPV is a good one as Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze are both ranked in the top ten fighters in the middleweight division. Vettori has seen his star fade a little bit after losing a title shot against Israel Adesanya, as he also lost to Robert Whittaker in September. His last five fights have all been decided by the judges.
Meanwhile, Roman Dolidze is a former grappling world champion. Dolidze has turned heads by knocking out three straight opponents, and those victories all earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. He doesn’t have near the same resume as Vettori, but that knockout power makes him an interesting wager at this number.