- Date & Location: Saturday, August 20 @ Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET), Prelims (8 p.m. ET), Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ABC, ESPN). Main Card (ESPN + pay-per-view)
A rematch between UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards headlines the UFC 278 fight card. In the co-main event, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold faces ex-UFC 185-pound title challenger Paulo Costa. Before those two bouts, we have a potential UFC bantamweight title eliminator. In that fight, ex-UFC featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo meets the rising Merab Dvalishvili. Here is some background on that scrap before we discuss, in detail, the UFC 278 betting breakdown.
Aldo made his UFC bantamweight debut in December 2019. He lost to Marlon Moraes, but he impressed the UFC enough that it booked him opposite Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight crown. Yan won that scrap via TKO in the fifth round. Since that loss, Aldo is 3-0. He is currently the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC 135-pound rankings.
Dvalishvili made his UFC debut in 2017. He lost a decision in his first fight with the promotion and Ricky Simon submitted him in his next outing. Since that 2018 loss to Simon, Dvalishvili has gone 7-0. His first six UFC victories were all via decision. In September 2021, Dvalishvili picked up his first UFC stoppage, beating Marlon Moraes via second-round TKO. He is ranked No. 6 in the weight class.
Before we look at the bout between Jose Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili on the UFC 278 PPV card, which streams on ESPN+, check out the best UFC betting sites and where you can find the best odds on all the UFC fights.
UFC 278 Picks: Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili breakdown and analysis
The early UFC 278 betting odds in the Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili matchup flipped quickly. Aldo opened as the -170 favorite over Dvalishvili, who was the +145 underdog. I suspect an avalanche of money came in on Dvalishvili in the early betting and that was the reason Aldo move to +100 and Dvalishvili hit -120 on the first day of betting.
Some of the concern in this fight might be age and mileage. Aldo is 35, but he has been battling the best fighters in MMA since he won the WEC featherweight crown in 2009. Dvalishvili didn’t turn pro until 2014 and his first big tests in the UFC didn’t come until the second half of 2020. Aldo might only be four years older than his opponent in this matchup, but he has a lot more mileage on him.
What Aldo also has is a lot more high-level experience. He has been battling the best of the best and outside his 3-6 run between 2015 and July 2020, his record has been nearly perfect. You take that run out of the equation, and Aldo is a 28-1 fighter. I know that’s impossible to do, but at least look at the fighters who defeated Aldo during that span: Conor McGregor, Max Holloway (2x), Alexander Volkanovski, Marlon Moraes and b. All of those men, except for Moraes, have held UFC titles.
Aldo is going to get old at some point and he is going to begin a downward spiral, but that will not happen at UFC 278.
Pick: Jose Aldo to defeat Merab Dvalishvili.
Who has the edge
Aldo is one inch taller than Dvalishvili and he has a two-inch reach advantage over his opponent. As mentioned before, Aldo also has a massive high-level experience advantage and that comes with an ability to not panic if things turn sideways at any point in the fight. The ex-champ has seen it all inside the UFC octagon and he will not get rattled.
The one area where Dvalishvili has an advantage is takedown success. However, Aldo’s takedown defense is No. 3 all-time in the UFC featherweight division (91 percent) and he’s only been taken down three times as a UFC bantamweight.
With this being a three-round fight, I also think Aldo has an advantage in cardio, in that he won’t need to worry about his gas tank failing.
I think this fight will be a valuable lesson for Dvalishvili and that it will serve him well in his career, but I believe Aldo gets his hand raised in victory.
Prediction: Jose Aldo to defeat Merab Dvalishvili via decision.
Best UFC 278 Bets
If you’re a person who believes that Jose Aldo’s time has passed, I won’t try to dissuade you from betting on Merab Dvalishvili in this contest. There is some value there if you think his time is now.
I also think there could be some value in a bet on Aldo winning this fight via knockout. Dvalishvili can take the fight to the mat, but I don’t think he can keep Aldo there. With that, Aldo could fight off a takedown and land a knockout on the break. Something he has done before.
However, I think the best UFC 278 picks for this fight are the bout to go the distance and decision win for Aldo.
Pick: Jose Aldo to beat Merab Dvalishvili via decision.
What’s at Stake
I think a win for Aldo earns him a UFC bantamweight title shot with the victor of the UFC 280 matchup between current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw. As for Dvalishvili, a win in Utah puts him in the mix, but likely at least one fight away from a UFC bantamweight title fight.
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.