Kamaru Usman admits his long reign as welterweight champion led to some lethargy, and ultimately cost him his belt against Leon Edwards. The former champion is more determined than ever to reclaim the title Saturday in the main event of UFC 286 in an anticipated trilogy against Edwards. Their clash highlights the main UFC 286 fight card (5 p.m. ET) from O2 Arena in London. Usman told the media this week that although he tried to avoid it, some level of apathy kicked in ahead of his second meeting last August with Edwards, who he had previously defeated by decision. Edwards won the belt in stunning fashion with a fifth-round knockout and vows he will keep the title, but Usman insists he will reclaim the belt.
Usman is a -260 favorite (risk $260 to win $100), while Edwards comes back at +210 in the latest UFC 286 odds for Edwards vs. Usman 3. The co-main event features a showdown between explosive lightweight contenders with Rafael Fiziev (-235) taking on Justin Gaethje (+195). Before making any UFC 286: Edwards vs. Usman 3 picks, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Daniel Vithlani.
Vithlani is a highly analytical UFC bettor who profited more than $6,200 for $100 bettors in 2022. This includes a documented 24-14 record on his well-respected, two-leg parlays. Every pick was documented on his public Instagram account.
From breaking down film and following fighters and their camps closely, to tracking sharp action and betting market signals, Vithlani covers the breadth of the MMA betting landscape top to bottom. He also trains amateur boxers and speaks regularly with MMA fighters to understand the sport’s nuances.
In his SportsLine debut at UFC 283 in January, Vithlani swept the main card and his 5-0 record included advising SportsLine members to back Jamahal Hill (-125) against Glover Teixeira (+105) for the vacant light heavyweight title in the main event. Anyone who has followed him has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC 286: Edwards vs. Usman 3 in sight, Vithlani has scoured the fight card top to bottom for value and released his top MMA picks. You can only see who to back at SportsLine.
UFC 286: Edwards vs. Usman 3 preview
Edwards (20-3-1) gets his first title defense in his home country before adoring fans in a venue that is known to host some of the most enthusiastic crowds in UFC history. The new champion is finally seeing some of the respect he believes is long overdue, but his persistence has finally paid off.
Edwards has gone 12-2-1 in 15 UFC appearances, but his rise came to little fanfare in large part because his highly technical style led mostly to decision victories as opposed to the highlight-reel knockouts most fans prefer. In fact, his knockout of Usman was just the second stoppage of his UFC career.
The 31-year-old British fighter was regularly overlooked for high-profile opportunities that went to arguably less-qualified contenders. For instance, challengers such as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal got two title shots against Usman before Edwards finally landed his first.
Edwards lost a decision to Usman in their first meeting and their title bout appeared headed in the same direction. The former champion looked stronger and was the clear aggressor, leading most observers to believe he had handily won the first four rounds.
The fifth round involved more of the same, and Usman (20-2) was essentially coasting toward another dominant title defense. But he appeared to lose focus for a split second and Edwards unleashed a kick that caught Usman square in the temple and knocked him out cold.
Now, Usman is determined to recapture the welterweight crown, while Edwards is motivated to show his victory wasn’t a fluke. You can see who Vithlani is backing at SportsLine.
Top UFC 286 picks
We’ll share one of Vithlani’s UFC 286 selections here: He is backing Gunnar Nelson (-380) to get his hand raised against Bryan Barberena (+300) in a battle of welterweight veterans on the main card.
Nelson (18-5-1) has spent the majority of his 11-year UFC career in the top-15 rankings. But losses to a couple top contenders and a nearly three-year break from competition have caused him to drop from the rankings and fade from view. Even so, the 34-year-old Iceland native remains one of the top grapplers in the game and has 12 career submissions on his record.
Barberena (18-9) is a nine-year UFC veteran who is popular with fans because of straight-ahead brawling style and nonstop pace. The 33-year-old California native saw a three-fight win streak come to a halt in December when he fell by submission to former champion Rafael dos Anjos.
“Once Barbarena gets taken down, I think he will struggle to get back up. If it’s a clean grappling game on the ground, Nelson should have his way,” Vithlani told SportsLine. You can see more picks at SportsLine.
How to make UFC 286 picks
Vithlani has strong picks for Edwards vs. USman and other bouts on the UFC 286 card. He’s also backing a fighter who “is one of the most dangerous strikers in UFC” to emerge with a dominant victory. Those picks are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Edwards vs. Usman at UFC 286? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 286, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022, and find out.
UFC 286 odds, fight card
See full UFC 286 picks, predictions, best bets here.
Kamaru Usman (-260) vs. Leon Edwards (+210)
Rafael Fiziev (-235) vs. Justin Gaethje (+195)
Gunnar Nelson (-380) vs. Bryan Barberena (+300)
Casey O’Neill (-180) vs. Jennifer Maia (+155)
Marvin Vettori (-285) vs. Roman Dolidze (+230)
Jack Shore (-500) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (+375)
Omar Morales (–110) vs. Chris Duncan (-110)
Sam Patterson (-285) vs. Yanal Ashmoz (+230)
Muhammad Mokaev (-900) vs. Jafel Filho (+600)
Lerone Murphy (-180) vs. Gabriel Santos (+160)
Joanne Wood (-180) vs. Luana Carolina (+160)
Ludovit Klein (-195) vs. Jai Herbert (+165)