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UFC 245: Usman vs Covington Fight Info:
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight wrestlers Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will clash TONIGHT (Dec. 14, 2019) at UFC 245 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There are really three reasons to tune into tonight’s main event. The one UFC pushes most heavily is the “grudge match” angle, and there does seem to be some genuine animosity (at least from Usman) between the two. More important, it’s one of those awesome title fights between the clear-cut top two fighters in the division. Usman and Covington ride a combined 17-fight UFC win streak, a ridiculous total in a very deep division. The final reason is more of a prediction, but it’s one I’ll stand by: this is going to be a great fight. Two wrestlers with incredible cardio may not sound like a dream match up for action-first fans, but it’s really a recipe for a blood-and-guts war of attrition.
Key Wins: Tyron Woodley (UFC 235), Demian Maia (UFC Fight Night 129), Rafael dos Anjos (TUF 28 Finale), Leon Edwards (UFC on FOX 17), Sean Strickland (UFC 210), Warlley Alves (UFC Fight Night 100)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: It’s impossible to discuss Usman’s technical talents without first recognizing his physical gifts. Usman is monstrously strong yet maintains an absurdly deep gas tank. When those traits are added to excellent technical wrestling and dangerous kickboxing, it’s not hard to see why Usman has earned his status as champion.
These fighters are so similar that it makes it a bit more difficult to give strategic advice. Nevertheless, there seems one area where Usman holds a real advantage over Covington: the clinch. Both men are quite capable from that position, but Usman’s unbelievable strength should of significant important in the clinch, and he’s the more offensive striker from that position as well.
Other than pursuing the clinch, I’d like to see reactive takedowns from Usman. Covington is likely to try to apply his usual wild pressure, but there are times when Covington throws himself out of position in his haste. If Usman ducks into a double in such moments, he may have a difficult time keeping Covington pinned on the mat, but any top time is valuable in what’s likely to be a close fight.
Key Wins: Robbie Lawler (UFC on ESPN 5), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 225), Demian Maia (UFC Fight Night 119), Dong Hyun Kim (UFC Fight Night 111), Bryan Barberena (UFC on FOX 22)
Key Losses: Warlley Alves (UFC 194)
Keys to Victory: “Chaos” is really a perfect moniker for Covington in many ways. In the cage, Covington will happily dominate from top position if he’s able, but when faced with resistance, Covington will get wild in his attempts to exhaust his foe. Covington blends masterful technique with in-fight instinct quite well, which is how he was able to successfully trade with Robbie Lawler so frequently.
This is likely to be a fight that hits all areas. The two are going to exchange in the open, battle it out in the clinch, and likely both will end up on top at least briefly. That’s the nature of the contest, simply because both fighters are so skilled and willing to fight from any position.
Whereas I would advise Usman to work for the clinch, I’d like to see Covington strike from inside the pocket and at range as often as possible. For all of his technical advances, Usman has yet to show relaxed, snappy kickboxing; he’s still a bit stiff. Covington, meanwhile, was loose and flowing in the pocket against Lawler, a puncher more proven than Usman himself.
This is a 25 minute bout, and though the two may both be workhorses, there will be fatigue. The more Covington is able to relax and work smarter with his kickboxing, the better off he’ll likely be in the latter half of the fight.