UFC 278 isn’t a great card, but there are a couple of spots I like for betting. Here are my main card picks.

Tyson Pedro vs. Harry Hunsucker

I have respect for everyone that enters the octagon. Harry Hunsucker would whoop most grown men in a fist fight, but he is a regional level athlete in the world’s top promotion.

The Kentucky native comes forward, throws in combination and has power in his hands. That is enough to catch someone and put their lights out, but his rudimentary style shouldn’t be a difficult for a high level mixed martial artist to deal with.

Hunsucker is making the right move by dropping to the light heavyweight division, but I’m still sceptical whether he can compete.

Tyson Pedro isn’t a world beater, but I think he has the advantage in every facet of the game.

With distance control, counters and especially low kicks, Pedro should be able to get the job done early. All the grappling upside is with the Australian as well.

Tyson Pedro probably wins this fight, but I wouldn’t touch him at -800.

Alexander Romanov vs. Marcin Tybura

Hailing from Moldova, Alexander Romanov is a hulking heavyweight with a background in freestyle wrestling. He has an impressive blast double in open space as well as explosive throws from the clinch.

Physicality and wrestling can carry you a long way at heavyweight, but his overall MMA game is still pretty raw at 31-years-of-age.

His striking is sloppy and despite being a potent finisher on the mat, his BJJ skills are not as good as his wrestling.

The Moldovan finished Roque Martinez, Rogerio de Lima, Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman (all of whom are terrible grapplers), but looked bad when he faced the infinitely more competent Juan Espino.

Romanov is dangerous when he postures up and lands ground strikes, but he also leaves room for opponents to scramble up to their feet. Furthermore, he is one of the least energy efficient fighters I’ve seen and tends to slow down after the first round.

Marcin Tybura will never compete for the title, but he’s a solid gatekeeper with a well-rounded skill set.

The Polish fighter has good cardio, competent striking and has a black belt in BJJ. We’ve seen him survive underneath Fabricio Werdum and get back to his feet, so I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that he gets tossed around and dominated like Romanov’s former opponents.

If Tybura can play it safe, limit the amount of damage he receives early and force Romanov to expend plenty of energy, I think he has a good chance of winning this fight.

I see value on Marcin Tybura at +320.

Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili

At first glance, I thought this was a favorable fight for Jose Aldo.

The Brazilian is renowned for his Muay Thai acumen and his hands have looked sharper than ever in his last few bouts.

Body shots, low kicks and counters should be available for Aldo whenever the fight is in open space.

His takedown defense is also legendary and he has performed well against wrestlers throughout his career.

Aldo is getting up there in age and has a lot of mileage on his body. He also has a significant cut to bantamweight and is a bit of a front runner.

His opponent, Merab Dvalishvili, has a contrasting style.

The Georgian is wild and chaotic on the feet, leaving plenty of defensive holes for opponents to exploit. He primarily strikes in order to set up his wrestling and is excellent at muscling opponents to the floor from the clinch position.

Dvalishvilis’ top control isn’t the best, but he has a fantastic gas tank and will hit mat returns for as long as he needs to.

I suspect he will come out using plenty of feints, attempting to draw out the power shots from Aldo so that he can grab hold of him. If he can get chest to chest with the Brazilian, expect him to fire knees in the clinch and grind his adversary against the fence.

We saw Aldo get controlled against the fence versus Alexander Volkanovski, so it’s not a certainty that Dvalishvili needs takedowns in order to win rounds. With plenty of cardio-draining clinch exchanges, the Georgian has a good chance of taking over in the second half of the fight.

I slightly favor Merab Dvalishvili outright, but I’ll be waiting for a live bet entry at a better price.

Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold

Where has Luke Rockhold been for the past few years? The former champion is coming off a long layoff at 37-years-of-age and for some unbeknownst reason, is choosing to fight at middleweight.

He wasn’t undersized against Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight and the cut to middleweight can’t be easy as he’s getting older.

In his prime, Rockhold was a superb fighter. Primarily fighting from the southpaw stance, he would fire devastating inside low kicks, body kicks and head kicks to shred opponents at range.

He will switch orthodox at times in order to land outside low kicks, and that wouldn’t be a bad idea here.

Rockhold is also one of the best ground and pound specialists in middleweight history, although I’m unsure whether he’ll be able to hit takedowns against a tank of an opponent this weekend.

The biggest problem for Rockhold is his boxing defense. He will move backwards in straight lines with his chin high and he’s there to be whalloped if you can crash the distance on him.

On paper, a front foot power puncher like Paulo Costa should be difficult for him to deal with.

Costa does a good job of cutting off the octagon, ripping huge body kicks against southpaw opponents as well as heavy punches on the inside. If he can corner Rockhold against the fence, he can certainly find the finish by flurrying to the body and head.

The thing is, I’m not sure where Costa’s head is at either. He was unable to make the middleweight limit for his last fight and had a disastrous performance against Israel Adesanya in his previous bout.

Costa is a proven front runner, with a susceptibility to low kicks and is also fighting at the wrong weight class – I just can’t get behind him here!

Paulo Costa should win this fight, but there is no way I’d consider betting him at -350.

Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards

Since their first meeting in 2015, Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards have both worked on their weaknesses in order to become better mixed martial artists.

Under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman, Usman’s hands have become much sharper. He throws a stiff jab, rips the body well and has a beautiful pull counter.

He is still a bit stiff and hittable (particularly in prolonged exchanges), but he will hold a good account of himself on the feet against most opponents.

It will be interesting to see what game plan Usman comes with. He will probably try and strike initially, but I expect him to resort to his tenacious chain wrestling sooner rather than later.

Edwards has improved as a wrestler/grappler. He has a fast sprawl, is difficult to hold down and will land punishing elbows off the clinch break.

Of course, Usman is a different level of wrestler to anyone else he has faced, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the kid from Birmingham was able to keep the fight vertical and disengage from the clinch.

In open space, Edwards’ workrate isn’t great, but he picks his shots excellently. I think the uppercut, right hook and left body kick will all be there for Edwards and I could see him winning rounds with big moments even if he is on the wrong side of the volume equation.

I understand why Leon Edwards is the underdog, but I believe his chances of winning are better than his +300 price tag indicates.

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