UFC Fight Night: Edwards v Muhammad Tips, Preview & Prediction

Leon Edwards v Khamzat Chimaev Odds - UFC Fight Night

UFC Fight Night Preview

After originally planning on fighting the up-and-coming welterweight Khamzat Chimaev on three separate occasions, the Russain born wrestler has had to withdraw once again from this bout with Leon Edwards.

Instead, the British MMA star will go toe-to-toe with Belal Muhammad on Saturday night in Las Vegas and although this fight has been put together in the last couple of weeks, it is still a monumental one for the welterweight division.

A win for Edwards would throw him into contention for a rematch with UFC welterweight king, Kamaru Usman, whilst a win for opponent Muhammad would boost him up the rankings, especially as he beat Dhiego Lima just last month.

How does Edwards win the fight?

After almost two years since he last stepped into the octagon, Leon “Rocky” Edwards is set to make his return to the UFC on Saturday night. Although he has been inactive, Edwards has not lost since 2015, where he was defeated by the current welterweight champion, Usman, and as a result, the Brit is on an eight-fight win streak since that defeat.

Edwards' most recent fight was against the former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, with “Rocky” impressively winning every round on one of the judges’ scorecards, with brilliant elbows and fabulous grappling offence and defence.

Fighting out of Birmingham, Edwards possesses a lethal elbow which we saw him use to knock down Gunnar Nelson back in 2019, and this could be a serious weapon in the fight as Muhammad often walks forwards with his head down whilst looking for a takedown.

Assuming the Englishman brushes off any ring rust and is able to time his signature elbow properly, we could see the move used effectively and hurt Muhammad, who will almost certainly be looking to take the fight to the ground. However, evem then he is up against a talented grappler in Edwards.

The key to victory for the number three ranked welterweight will be to keep the fight on the feet against an opponent who is yet to score a knockdown in his UFC career. However, this doesn’t mean we should expect a knockout from the British-Jamaican, who has seen nine of his 12 UFC fights go the distance. “Rocky” has excellent takedown defence and stopped all five of Dos Anjos’s takedown attempts in his last fight, but even if the fight does go to the ground, the Birmingham man will be more than comfortable working on the canvas, with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Edwards will look to take the fight over the course of the 25 minutes as he often does. However, Muhammad hasn't long come off the back of a win over Lima, and as a result, will be in top condition himself, so don't be surprised if we don't see a complete masterclass from the Brit, in what is his first fight just short of two years.

How does Muhammad win the fight?

This will be the first time that Muhammad has been inolved in a five-round UFC fight, as it is the first time he takes the main event spot. It will be interesting to see if he has the gas tank to go the distance or if he starts slow and targets the later rounds, but having just come out of a bout with Lima, no doubt he will have better cardio than most people who take a fight on such short notice.

In contrast to “Rocky”, this will be Muhammad’s second fight in 29 days and his clear game plan will be to take the fight to the ground and smother Edwards, in a similar fashion to what he did in his most recent fight with Lima.

“Remember the Name” favours the double leg takedown and loves to slam opponents into the floor, in order to take strong ground position, and he will take confidence from the fact that Edwards’ two UFC defeats have been to opponents who favour the ground game (Usman and Claudio Silva).

We could well see a bout that is decided by stamina, but Muhammad’s style is so different from his original opponent in Chimaev. The man fighting out of Sweden is quick out of the blocks and looks for early knockouts, which could mean Edwards hasn’t been putting emphasis on endurance training despite his two-year lay-off. This is without a doubt the highest calibre opponent that the Palestinian has faced, we could see a new contender in the division if he steps up and claims the win.

Our prediction

We predict the fight to go the distance, with either Edwards favouring the stand-up and Muhammad looking to take the fight to the ground. With both fighters having questions over how much energy each of them will have going into the later rounds of the fight, we expect a slow start as both “Rocky” and Muhammad try and preserve their stamina for the later rounds.

We think that Edwards’ stand-up game will be far superior to his opponents and coupled with strong takedown defence, and we are expecting Edwards win by decision, as he stuffs the majority of the American's takedown attempts and restricts him from closing the distance with the use of that signature elbow.

Edwards is priced at EVENS to win on the judges' scorecards.

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