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Morning Report: Michael Bisping predicts Leon Edwards to defeat Kamaru Usman in ‘tough fight for both men’

UFC 278 Press Conference Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Leon Edwards can make a little bit of history this weekend at UFC 278.

England has seen plenty of great fighters come and go throughout the years with several leaving lasting impressions with their entertaining fight styles and personalities. Arguably the most popular amongst the bunch was Michael “The Count” Bisping who since retiring in Nov. 2017 has been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Winning the middleweight championship in June 2016, Bisping became the first from his country to hold UFC gold. Edwards will have the opportunity at UFC 278 not only to get redemption against the current welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman, handing him his first UFC loss, but he can also become just the second British champion in promotional history.

While Usman has lived up to his “Nigerian Nightmare” nickname with five straight title defenses and 15 consecutive UFC wins, Edwards is believed by many to have the ability to be the great equalizer at 170 pounds.

“It’s a tough fight for both men and I truly am torn,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “I’m friends with Kamaru Usman, I respect his body of work greatly, but if you think I’m gonna sit here on my YouTube channel, being a proud Brit, and pick against Leon Edwards, you’re out of your god damn mind. I gotta do it. I gotta go with team U.K. just to send that positivity into the atmosphere.

“I’ve got Leon Edwards winning via decision. So, there you go. If Leon wins, it’s because he’s going to outpoint him for five rounds. If Kamaru wins, it’s probably because he’s gonna rock him with a right hand, take him down and try and ragdoll him on the floor.”

Like Usman, Edwards has also been flawless as of late with his last loss coming to the current champion in their initial Dec. 2015 encounter. Edwards has gone 9-0 (1 no-contest) since then and made huge improvements in his own right.

Throughout his reign, Usman has already had two rematches with the likes of rivals Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. The former has undeniably been Usman’s stiffest test to date in each encounter, having seen Covington win multiple rounds on the judges’ scorecards.

For Bisping, seeing Covington — a relentless wrestler at his core — have the type of striking success he had against Usman, he feels it gives a much more refined puncher like Edwards the chance he needs to become “and new.”

“I think this is a tough fight for both men,” Bisping said. “I don’t think this is gonna be easy. We saw Colby Covington have success with the hands against Kamaru. If Colby has success with his hands against Kamaru then you can bet your bottom dollar that Leon Edwards will have success with his hands or striking against Kamaru.

“He’s gonna have to watch the wrestling. It’s gonna be a dog fight and at some point, as it starts getting later in the rounds, people start to get a little more fatigued, they start making mistakes, people start getting desperate, things start going wrong.”


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Prediction. Douglas Lima: Michael Page will ‘hurt’ Mike Perry in bare-knuckle boxing match


VIDEO STEW

Between the Links featuring Evan Elder.

MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck previews UFC 278 with Jon Anik.

Pre-fight presser highlights.

Pre-fight presser staredowns.

Full pre-fight presser.

Embedded 4.

Soul stealers.

Rory highlights.

Chael and Cejudo predict Usman vs. Edwards 2.

Game recognizing game.

Fancy Costa-Rockhold preview.

Funky Costa-Rockhold preview.

The bros check-in.


LISTEN UP

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck reacts to Luke Rockhold’s explosive UFC 278 media day.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Quality.

Spoiler alert.

Birthday day.

Captain Shevchenko.

What is happening.

I like.

The conversation continues.

Support.

Alan about to unretire.

Storytime with T-Wood.

Champ.

Classic.

Teasing.

Oh nothin’.

Art.

Bows.

Squad.

Mulan + The Highlight.

So, this is a thing.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Joaquim Silva (11-4) vs. Jesse Ronson (21-11, 1 NC); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 1

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-4) vs. Chris Daukaus (12-5); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 1

Silvana Gomez Juarez (11-4) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (13-7); UFC 281, Nov. 12

Carla Esparza (20-6) vs. Zhang Weili (22-3); UFC 281, Nov. 12

Brad Riddell (10-3) vs. Renato “Moicano” Carneiro (16-5-1); UFC 281, Nov. 12

Francis Marshall (6-0) vs. Marcelo Rojo (16-8); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 3


FINAL THOUGHTS

My entire hang-up regarding Edwards’ chances against Usman center around the end of that Nate Diaz fight. Because if Diaz can hurt you on the feet, that’s serious trouble against someone like Usman. Especially over the course of 25 minutes when Edwards hasn’t exactly been much of a finisher on his current stretch of success. It’s still a super intriguing fight nonetheless. Just glad “Rocky’s” getting the chance at all, really.

Happy Friday, gang! Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend.


EXIT POLL

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TUNE FOR THE WEEKEND


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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