What is the elevation of Salt Lake City, Utah and did that impact the performance of UFC 278 fighters?

Vivint Arena (left), UFC 278 poster (right) [Image via @vivintarena and @ufc on Instagram]
Vivint Arena (left), UFC 278 poster (right) [Image via @vivintarena and @ufc on Instagram]

UFC 278 was headlined by the welterweight clash between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, and the promotion chose the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah as the venue.

However, Salt Lake City, which sits at an elevation of almost 1290 meters above sea level, might present endurance problems for the athletes. The high altitude and low pressure it presents means the fighters will have less oxygen to breathe.

As far as the fighters' performances are concerned, the co-main event of the evening saw both Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold visibly gassed out by the final round.

Many MMA fans on Twitter also attributed Alexander Romanov's loss to Marcin Tybura due to endurance issues because of the high elevation.

People acclimatize to new conditions differently, and some athletes will cope with the altitude better than others.

UFC president Dana White, however, shrugged off elevation concerns by stating that weather conditions are always a factor when it comes to fighting events.

According to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune, Edwards even shifted to Utah two weeks before the fight to acclimatize to the high altitude. However, 'Rocky' told the SLT that he didn't experience any fatigue issues because of the elevation:

“Everyone’s told me about the elevation!” Edwards added. “Back home, I’m sleeping at sea level, you know? But when I came out, I couldn’t tell no difference. It felt the same.”

What went down at the UFC 278 main and co-main events?

It's fair to say UFC 278 was an adrenaline-filled blast. Leon Edwards shocked the world in the main event of the evening by knocking out pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman in the fifth round of their title clash.

It was a picture-perfect left high kick that flatlined 'The Nigerian Nightmare'. Edwards also became the first fighter to take down the former welterweight champion in his UFC career.

Image via ufc.com
Image via ufc.com

UFC 278 marks Usman's first loss of his UFC career and second in his pro MMA journey. The former champion's first loss came in his second pro fight against Jose Caceres at CFA 11.

In the co-main event, former title challenger Paulo Costa clinched a hard-fought unanimous decision win against former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

The event saw the fighters engage in both stand-up battles and ground scrambles. The duo was visibly gassed by the last round, probably owing to the high altitude of the arena. Following the loss, Rockhold announced his retirement from the sport.

Watch Luke Rockhold announce his retirement below:

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In the other fights on the main card of UFC 278, Merab Dvalishvili overcame former featherweight champion Jose Aldo via unanimous decision.

In the women's bantamweight division, Lucie Pudilova knocked out Yanan Wu in the second round of their three-round clash. Light heavyweight prospect Tyson Pedro secured a first-round knockout over Harry Hunsucker.

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Edited by Avinash Tewari
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