Who doesn’t love a good old fashion grudge match as the main event at UFC 272 features a bitter rivalry between two former friends, turned enemies.
Both fighters have established themselves among the best welterweights in the world but have suffered two losses to the division’s champion. Now, the winner likely stays on the path to another title shot down the road, while the loser will fall further down the charts, and out of title contention.
Covington has lost just 3 times, and two of those losses were welterweight champion, Kamara Usman. His fights were competitive and is a big reason why Covington is favoured at -320. Covington is 16-3, including 8-2 over his last 10 fights. He’s had impressive victories over some big names including Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley, and Rafael dos Anjos. The 34-year old loves pushing the pace and is a high-volume striker who rarely runs out of gas. Covington has superb control skills on the mat, and against the cage and averages just over 4 takedowns her 15 minutes, ranking hi 10th all- time in the Octagon.
Despite being an underdog, Jorge Masvidal still has a puncher’s chance with the power he possesses. 16 of his 35 wins have come by knockout and if he can find that one punch Saturday, he could make it 17. The 37-year old is one of the cleanest strikers in the division and also is dangerous with his knees and elbow in a clinch. Masvidal has been able to avoid 65% of strikes thrown his way, so if he can keep this fight upright, Covington could be in trouble. But Masvidal has lost 4 of his last 7 and the matchup isn’t favourable. He’s generally good with takedown defense but he’s struggled with high-end wrestlers, including in his losses to Usman.
With all the bad blood, you can be sure we see a rapid start to the fight. Covington will likely look for early takedowns to gain control while Masvidal would rather keep this fight standing, and use his striking. He has high fighting IQ in the cage and could pay out if he can land that one devastating blow. Backing Masvidal to win by TKO is listed at an intriguing +375 as many pundits feel it’s the only way he’d get the victory.
Covington should have success on the ground and will bring that early pace. His plan will be to grind Masvidal down. Covington has the control skills which leads to winning rounds and the longer this fight goes, the more likely Covington will wear down Masvidal. While he is a huge moneyline favourite, there is value on a Covington win by decision which is listed at -110.