The wait is finally over. Colby Covington fights the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, on December 14th to determine who the best welterweight on the planet is. Going into the fight both Usman and Covington are said to very similar fighters. Both rely on their wrestling, pace, and high output to break their opponents down. Their pace is overwhelming. Their cardio is off the charts. So who gets the job done at UFC 245. Let’s break down Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman in detail and try to predict this spectacular match-up.
Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman Prediction
Colby Covington Stats
- MMA Record: 15 wins 1 loss
- Height: 5’11”
- Reach: 72 inches
- Highest Takedown Rate in Welterweight History(5.69/15mins)
- Most significant strikes thrown in a WW fight( against Robbie Lawler, 515)
- Robbie Lawler
- Demian Maia
- Rafael Dos Anjos
Kamaru Usman Stats
- MMA Record: 15 wins 1 loss
- Height: 6’0″
- Reach: 76 inches
- 100 % takedown defense in the welterweight division
- Tyron Woodley
- Rafael Dos Anjos
- Demian Maia
- Leon Edwards
Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman- Wrestling & Grappling
Agreed both fighters are very similar when you consider their approach in a fight. But they are very different when you look at many aspects.
Both Covington and Usman depends on the wrestling a lot to win their fights. Both of them are phenomenal wrestlers too. However, after the takedown, the gameplans change for Usman and Covington.
Covington does not try to secure a position after a takedown or look for a submission. He does not even get into grappling exchanges with his opponents. Covington would make his opponents carry his entire weight, wear them down, or else put them against the cage and do some damage with his strikes. He is not a powerful puncher but his output is shockingly high.
On the other hand, Usman is a power wrestler. He would shoot a power double, and he would even slam his opponents on the ground and keep the fight there. He would look for submission, but he is not going to force it. However, his body shots and elbows during the grappling exchanges and in the clinches while he is up against the cage with his opponent is lethal. Hence both fighters approach differently once they take down the opponent. But it’s safe to say that Usman will be the one looking for a finish on the ground. Covington will be looking for a 5 round brawl since that is his forte. His cardio and pace are suitable for a 5 round marathon.
It’s difficult to determine who the better wrestler is. If you look at the resume of both the fighters, Covington was a D1 wrestler and Usman was a D2. However, Usman just dominated a D1 wrestler in his last fight. So both of them come a long way since the college days and it would be intriguing to see who overpowers the other in the wrestling exchanges. But Usman is likely to dominate Covington in the grappling exchanges.
Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman- Striking
High pace and high output. This is the way both Usman and Covington fight. Usman has a power advantage in striking. But it’s very unlikely that we are going to see a knockout. Saying that Covington does not has the power in his striking will be an absolute understatement.
Covington’s striking is somewhat similar to Nick Diaz’s style of boxing. Covington is not as technically sound as Nick Diaz when it comes to striking, but he follows the same principle. He aims for high volume instead of a one-punch knockout. He completely shut down on the most vicious strikers in the welterweight division, Robbie Lawler. Hence his striking combined with his pace is no joke.
On the other hand, Usman’s striking is very rudimentary yet effective. He can trade with Covington on the feet. But Covington is likely to get the best of him in a pure boxing fight. Usman does the most damage in the clinches and on the ground with his vicious body shots and that is where he is likely to overpower Covington.
Hence nobody dominates the other in the striking department. But Covington will land more strikes if they decide to forget about wrestling and grappling and just trade strikes in the middle of the octagon, which is a possibility if the wrestling factor gets nullified.
So who gets his hands raised on December 14th? Is it the Nigerian Nightmare and the Chaos.
It’s a hard one to predict. But it will all come down to the Pace and Cardio fo the two fighters. Both can’t go at the same pace for 5 straight rounds. Eventually, one will take over the other in the later rounds.
The first round is going to be the round to download all the data about the opponent. Both fighters will be cautious. However, Covington will land a few strikes on Usman. And Usman is likely to be the one to take the fight to the ground since that is where he can get the better of Covington. If Covington can defend Usman’s takedowns in the early rounds that’s not good news for Usman. For sure the champion can trade strikes with Covington but he will be the receiving end more often during the striking exchange.
Usman might overpower Covington and back him up against the cage and work his way through a takedown. But who knows? It will all come down who is the better wrestler in the early rounds.
In the championship rounds, Covington is likely to be the one who will get the better of the champion. Though Usman’s pace is scary, Covington’s pace is on another level. It’s worth mentioning that Covington gassed out during his fight against Rafael Dos Anjos in the 4th round and RDA secured two huge takedowns against Covington. However, there is a ton of difference between the Covington who fought RDA and the one who fought Lawler. His cardio looked much better against Lawler. Though Usman did an equally impressive job against Tyron Woodley, I believe Covington will edge Usman when it comes to cardio and pace in the fight.
This match-up is a 50-50. If Usman gets the takedown and controls the fight on the ground, then it will hard for Covington to come back from that. Cause it’s not just the battle between skillsets. The amount of mental warfare that has gone into the fight might play a crucial role during the fight.
However, Covington is likely to defend the takedowns from Usman in the early rounds, pick him apart in the striking exchanges. And in the championship rounds, Covington is likely to edge Usman on the scorecard. With that said, both fighters are two of the best welterweights in UFC at the moment and the fans should expect nothing but a 5 round war on December 14th.