MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at one of three championship fights set for UFC 245, a five-round UFC welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Colby Covington. The event takes place on Saturday, December 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kamaru Usman (-190)
Usman (15-1) is the UFC welterweight champion. The 32-year-old Nigerian is the former Ultimate Fighter winner and has gone on to achieve great things inside the Octagon. Usman is a perfect 10-0 overall in the UFC and hasn’t lost since his second pro fight back in 2013. Some of his notable victories include Tyron Woodley, Rafael dos Anjos, Leon Edwards, and Demian Maia. Usman is primarily a grappler and he’s known for his dominant wrestling game and an endless gas tank. He’s been able to take down nearly all of his opponents inside the Octagon and impose his will on them once on the mat. On the feet, he has shown flashes of KO power at times, but primarily he uses his striking to set up his grappling. In this particular matchup against a fellow wrestler in Covington, we may see more of Usman’s striking. It’s a very intriguing fight and a very interesting style matchup for Usman’s first title defense.
Colby Covington (+165)
Covington (15-1) is the former UFC interim welterweight champion. The 31-year-old American is 10-1 overall in the UFC with his lone loss coming to Warlley Alves in 2015. Some of his notable victories include Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, and Rafael dos Anjos. Like Usman, Covington is primarily a grappler and the majority of his fights have been won by him using his wrestling advantage. But in recent fights, he has shown that his striking has really improved as well as in his last outing he absolutely battered Lawler on the feet and put on a clinic. His pace is one of his biggest attributes and very few fighters can match his gas tank. He will need to mix things up and show off a well-rounded game if he’s going to beat Usman. It’s a grudge match in the truest sense of the word and it will be very interesting to see how it unfolds.
Fight Breakdown: This is such an interesting matchup because both fighters are pretty similar in how they fight, but only one can get their hand raised. Both men have endless gas tanks and are able to dominate their opponents with their wrestling and push them to the limit. Often times when we see two grapplers go at it, the wrestling cancels each other out and the fight stays on the feet. I think there’s a good chance that’s what could happen here, and if that’s the case, the fight may come down to who is the more effective striker. I would argue Usman has more pure power, but I believe Covington’s volume could be a big edge for him if the fight does indeed stay on the feet. It’s a close fight and I see it going the full five rounds, but I lean towards Covington to slightly outpoint Usman on the feet and win a decision.
Prediction: Colby Covington wins via decision