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UFC 286 Main Card Picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 3

Tim Finnegan gives his pick for the UFC 286 main event on DraftKings Sportsbook.

MMA: AUG 20 UFC 278 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UFC 286 is taking place on Saturday from London, England, and the event is headlined by a trilogy fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title. In their previous fight, Edwards knocked out Usman in one of the most shocking KOs in UFC history. Since the event is being held in London, the card has an earlier start time than normal, with the main card set to get underway at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday evening.

During the last UFC PPV at UFC 285, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor had a legendary win, turning just $1 into nearly $400,000. The bettor placed a $1 Parlay Bet on DraftKings Sportsbook featuring the following six picks at +39947171 odds:

  • Dricus Du Plessis to Win by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 2
  • Cody Garbrandt To Win By Decision
  • Bo Nickal to Win by Submission in Round 1
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov to Win by Submission in Round 3
  • Alexa Grasso to Win by Submission in Round 4
  • Jon Jones To Win By Submission

As a result of all of these outcomes hitting in the Parlay Bet, the bettor took home $399,472.71 in one of the greatest wins in sports betting history.

DraftKings is hosting a big fantasy UFC 286 tournament that pays out $700,000 in total prizes, including $150,000 to first place. Enter the contest for only $25 here.

Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 3

Usman and Edwards have fought twice previously, with each fighter winning once. Usman won the first matchup in Dec. 2015 via decision on the back of heavy offensive grappling. Usman recorded six total takedowns and controlled Edwards for 10:50 in the 15-minute fight. The majority of Usman’s significant strikes in that fight were landed on the ground. Edwards barely got off any offense in large part due to Usman’s offensive grappling, landing just 26 significant strikes in the fight.

The rematch in August 2022 featured one of the most shocking knockouts in UFC history, and considering the timing and circumstances, it may have been the most shocking KO ever. With just one minute left in the fight, Edwards landed a devastating head kick, knocking Usman out cold and claiming the title.

The knockout was among the most shocking ever for a variety of reasons. Usman entered the fight on a massive hot streak and had recently entered the conversation for greatest welterweight of all time. Usman had gone 15-0 in the UFC—including 6-0 in title fights—and was just one win shy of tying Anderson Silva for the longest win streak in UFC history with 16 straight wins. Usman had dramatically improved his stand-up striking leading up to the rematch, which was highlighted in KO/TKO wins over Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns. Usman’s strong jab was on display in the Burns fight, and Usman landed a crushing right hand to finish off Masvidal in one of the most devastating knockouts of 2021.

Usman had dominated the 170-pound division so badly that there was talk of him moving up to light heavyweight (205 pounds) to challenge for the title in that weight class. There was also talk of Usman crossing over to boxing to fight superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez in order to give him a new challenge.

As a result, Usman entered his rematch with Edwards as a substantial favorite, carrying a moneyline of about -350 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Usman was also widely popular among the public, receiving 77% of the handle and 86% of the bets on DraftKings Sportsbook. Edwards by KO/TKO/DQ got just 6% of the handle and 4% of bets.

Edwards had a strong opening round and won Round 1 on all three of the judges’ scorecards, but Usman began to take over as the fight went on. Usman won Rounds 2, 3, and 4 on all three of the judges’ scorecards and appeared set to win Round 5 as well. Usman was just one minute away from cruising to another win in a weight class he had dominated, which amplified how shocking the knockout was.

The knockout was set up brilliantly by Edwards. Edwards, who was standing southpaw, had noticed that Usman was exiting his head towards Edwards’ left after parrying when Edwards threw his left straight. In an orthodox stance, an orthodox fighter must be positioned outside the lead leg of a southpaw when in striking range, otherwise, the orthodox fighter risks sitting in the southpaw’s power range. Usman, who was standing orthodox, got caught inside of Edwards’ lead leg, which put him at risk to take the full force of a shot that Edwards threw from his left side.

To gain clearance to land the kick, Edwards threw a left hand down the middle, and as Usman reached to parry with his hands, Edwards followed up with a left head kick that Usman ducked his head directly into:

The combination of Usman’s head movement into the kick along with the force of Edwards’ kick amplified the effect.

The head kick was not a fluke, because it was set up beautifully by Edwards. However, Edwards’ success may be difficult to replicate again in the third fight. In about eight rounds head-to-head, Usman has won the majority of them, and being more aggressive with his smothering offensive grappling rather than staying at distance can give him a safer way to fight this time around. Usman can be more aggressive with clinching and fighting inside, which is one of his biggest strengths. Fighting in a close-range fight from the clinch diminishes a lot of knockout risk and essentially eliminates head kicks.

Edwards has never been finished before in his MMA career and has survived several scares, including getting wobbled by Nate Diaz. Edwards’ toughness combined with a potentially safer game plan from Usman could make this fight a good candidate to go the distance with Usman ahead on the scorecards.

Pick: Kamaru Usman To Win By Decision (+100)

Same Game Parlay (SGP) is available on DraftKings Sportsbook for the UFC! To place a SGP:

  1. Find a fight that has the SGP icon in the top-left corner.
  2. Toggle “Same Game Parlay” on. Once it’s on, all available bets will appear.
  3. Build your Same Game Parlay. Combine multiple bets together from one fight. The more bets you combine, the more you can win.
  4. Place your parlay. Add your Same Game Parlay to your bet slip, enter your wager amount, and submit your bet.

Read more about SGP at the DraftKings Sportsbook SGP page!

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.