It is rare to see a non-title fight headline a UFC Pay-Per-View. But former best friends turned bitter rivals Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal are must-see TV. These former title challengers have been “beefing” for several years and it finally comes to a head at UFC 272. The UFC odds, however, don’t have this as a close fight.
- Date: Saturday, March 5, 10 p.m. ET
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV, United States
- Watch on: Pay-Per-View
Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal
- Weight Class: Welterweight (170)
- Rounds: Five (Main Event)
- Moneyline: Jorge Masvidal +250, Colby Covington -350
- Totals: Over 4½ (-155o), Under 4½ (+125u)
Covington enters this grudge match as a sizable online gambling favorite, which can be deceiving as the fight may be closer than this indicates. Masvidal has often struggled against fighters like Covington (16-3-0). But Masvidal (35-15-0) is familiar with his former training partner as is Covington…
Is Masvidal More Than a Glorified Journeyman?
In a way, Covington was right in describing Masvidal’s career: “He’s a journeyman that caught lightning in a bottle.” The Cuban-American is venerated by hardcore MMA fans but he was a middling fighter for most of his career.
Masvidal is one of the sport’s most experienced and skilled fighters. He can strike and can grapple. Wherever the fight goes, Masvidal is a threat although he does his best work on the stand-up. His weakness has generally been wrestling – prolific wrestling and grappling.
Even with Masvidal’s 75% takedown defense, he has struggled against fighters who can consistently threaten him with wrestling. Benson Henderson and Demian Maia are two fighters who beat him by neutralizing him with their grappling. If Masvidal is worth betting online, it’s when he can eliminate his opponent before they can wear him down with their wrestling.
Covington’s Fists Move as Much as His Lips
It’s not all just talk for Covington. Aptly nicknamed “Chaos,” Covington blitzes his opponents as relentlessly as he berates them on the mic. There are few fighters in the division, if any at all, who can match Covington’s pace.
The former All-American Division I wrestler averages 4.14 strikes landed per minute and 4.1 takedowns per 15 minutes. Covington has taken down all but two of his opponents: Maia and Kamaru Usman. Against Bryan Barbarena, he landed a whopping 12 takedowns, and against a Judoka in Dong Hyun Kim, he landed eight.
Most notably, Covington’s striking continues to evolve. He showed improved defense against Usman and paired with his sturdy chin, Covington is built to wear down his opponents as much he wears down fans with his cringe-worthy remarks.
Hats off to both Covington and Masvidal. The pair have done a tremendous job building up this feud. Namely, Masvidal has most fans convinced he has a decent shot at beating Covington. Other than a knockout punch, Masvidal is going to get outworked by the more versatile Covington.
Covington should be able to evade most of Masvidal’s strikes as he is familiar with him. Despite his trash talk, he won’t get reckless and spam takedowns against Masvidal. He can attack him from different angles and keep him guessing. With his hands low, Masvidal will be more prone to eating big shots, which is to Covington’s favor.
Pick: Colby Covington -350
But the best UFC bet in this fight is the over 4½ rounds. Both Covington and Masvidal are made of stone. Only Usman has been able to knock either fighter out in the UFC and we don’t see any submissions here as it is not their preferred way to fight.