Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad UFC Fight Night Odds, Pick & Prediction: How To Bet Welterweight Main Event (Saturday, March 13)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighter Leon Edwards.
- After 19 months of inactivity, contender Leon Edwards looks to make a statement against Belal Muhammad.
- The Englishman is favored and could vault himself into a title fight with an impressive performance.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down where the betting value lies in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad Odds
Leon Edwards last made a walk to the Octagon 19 months ago, but the No. 3-ranked Welterweight contender will make his return after a long layoff against No. 13-ranked Belal Muhammad in the main event of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card.
The action kicks off at 5 p.m. ET with 13 bouts scheduled: seven preliminary fights and six matchups on the main card. Edwards enters the matchup riding an eight-fight win streak while Muhammad has won his past four fights and eight of his past nine.
Below I preview the matchup and odds for tonight’s fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||15:16||13:33|
|Weight (pounds)||170 lbs.||170 lbs.|
|Date of birth||8/25/91||7/9/88|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||2.53||4.86|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.05||4.03|
|Take Down Avg||1.39||2.03|
Muhammad is stepping in as a late replacement for Khamzat Chimaev, who is currently recovering from COVID-19 and may not continue his MMA career.
He competed one month ago at UFC 258, scoring a decision win over Dhiego Lima despite absorbing 26-of-28 leg strikes, which were beginning to take a major toll late in the fight.
Muhammad abandoned his own kicking game in that bout, but racked up a personal best 129 significant strikes (on 264 attempts) over three rounds, 109 of which were head strikes. I expect him to fire his kicks more often against Edwards to slow down his movement and close their respective athleticism gap.
Belal might be the more effective fighter in the opening round if Edwards needs to shake off some ring rust. “Rocky” is returning from a long layoff following multiple canceled fights and is making his first trip to the octagon since July of 2019.
The Englishman is looking to extend his eight-fight winning streak, and per Dana White, will secure the next title shot and a rematch against Kamaru Usman with “an impressive win.”
On paper, Belal seemingly has the edge in terms of volume (4.86 to 2.53 strikes landed per minute), but Edwards’ uses a grinding style mostly involving the clinch and cage control to slow down and tire out his opponents. He won’t allow Belal to stand in front of him and apply forward pressure without eventually grabbing on and forcing his opponent’s back up against the cage.
While Edwards’ style is effective, it can also lead to narrow decisions since he’s vulnerable to getting outpointed by Muhammad and other high-output pressure strikers if he cannot effectively slow down the pace of his fights.
Edwards vs. Muhammad Pick
Both of these fighters are well-rounded, but neither possesses a single exceptional tool.
Unless the cumulative damage to Belal’s legs, which started a month ago, impacts his wear and tear early in this fight, I do expect to watch the clock ticking down and for these men to force another main event decision.
I project this bout to go all 25 minutes 71% of the time, and I would bet the distance prop up to -212. There’s not enough value for me to bet either fighter to win by decision (projected +105 and +360; listed +115 and +325), however.
The Pick: Fight Goes the Distance (-185, 0.5u)