UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington (TV: ESPN +, ESPN2, ESPN + PPV)
Saturday, December 14th, Prelims 8: 00 PM ET ESPN2, Main Card 10:00 PM ET ESPN + PPV, T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Bantamweight Fight: Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) vs. Jose Aldo (28-5)
Fight odds: Marlon Moraes -185 Jose Aldo +155
Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight: Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs. Germaine De Randamie (9-3)
Fight odds: Amanda Nunes -380 Germaine De Randamie +300
Featherweight Title Fight: Max Holloway (21-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (20-1)
Fight odds: Max Holloway -195 Alexander Volkanovski +165
Welterweight Title Fight: Kamaru Usman (15-1) vs. Colby Covington (15-1)
Fight odds: Kamaru Usman -185 Colby Covington +155
In Las Vegas three huge Title fights take place and two Brazilians battle to establish relevancy. In one of the strongest fight cards of the year this lineup of fights is a fight fan’s dream and a sporting event that is not to be missed. In the 4th fight, Marlon Moraes will face Jose Aldo in an All-Brazilian matchup. Moraes is 31, 5’6 and 135.5 lbs with a 67 inch reach. Aldo is 33, 5’7 and 136 lbs with a 70 inch reach. Both fighters are looking to regain some momentum in their careers after some tough losses. Moraes is coming off a 3rd Round TKO loss against Henry Cejudo in June of 2019. Aldo is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski in May of 2019.
This is a very tough fight for Aldo since he is moving down in weight from 145 to 135 lbs. Before Aldo’s 4 losses to Conor McGregor, Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, Aldo was widely considered the greatest featherweight of all time. After some recent struggles in the weight class he used to dominate, Aldo has decided to move down to 135 lbs and take on the number one bantamweight contender, Marlon Moraes. Moraes is coming into this fight following a loss to division champion Henry Cejudo and will not want to lose to Aldo and fall out of the title picture.
Moraes has the speed, age and athleticism advantage. He is more used to fighting at 135 lbs than Aldo is and will be able to push the pace to show Aldo that the fight game has passed him by. Aldo has the experience and strength advantage. Aldo’s leg kicks are always dangerous and Moraes will need to be smart defensively and explode offensively to defeat Aldo. Take Moraes to win this fight in empathic fashion to set up a rematch with Henry Cejudo and possibly retire the great Jose Aldo.
The third fight on the card is between Amanda Nunes and Germaine De Randamie at 135 lbs for Nunes’ Bantamweight Title. Nunes is the double UFC champion at 135 and 145 lbs. Nunes is 31, 5’8 and 134.5 lbs with a 69 inch reach. De Randamie is 35, 5’9 and 134.5 lbs with a 71 inch reach. Nunes is widely considered the greatest female fighter of all time and considering her resume, with wins over Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Germaine de Randamie its hard to argue that any other female fighter is better than Nunes. Beating Shevchenko and Rousey was huge for Nunes, but knocking out Cris Cyborg in the 1st Round showed that Nunes is not scared of any opponent and can end the fight at any time with punches or kicks.
With excellent strength, boxing and wrestling skills, Nunes win the fight. De Randamie is an excellent kick-boxer with a 37-0, having last fought in 2011. Since then, De Randamie has moved onto a promising MMA career, with a record of 9-3 and hasn’t lost since 2013. De Randamie is coming off a 1st Round TKO win over Aspen Ladd in July of 2019. Nunes is coming off a 1st Round TKO win over Holly Holm in July of 2019. De Randamie can hold her own in the striking department and will need to be aware of Nunes’ wrestling and knockout power throughout the fight. Nunes has fought superior opponents to De Randamie and shouldn’t have too much trouble retaining her Title because of her skill and experience advantages.
In the Co-Main Event, Max Holloway will defend his 145 lb. featherweight title against Alexander Volkanovski. Holloway will be making his 4th title defense and Volkanovski will be challenging for his first title. Holloway is 28, 5’11 and 145 lbs with a 69 inch reach. Volkanovski is 31, 5’6 and 144.5 lbs with a 71.5 inch reach. Both Holloway and Volkanovski share the common opponent in Jose Aldo. Holloway fought Aldo twice, both times stopping Aldo in the 3rd Round to establish himself as the king at 145 lbs. In the two fights against Aldo, the relentless pace and boxing accuracy that Holloway utilizes proved too much for Aldo to withstand over the course of 5 Rounds.
Holloway is a champion that has tremendous cardio which allows for a high rate of striking and the accumulation of accurate punching is often too much for his opponents to endure for the whole fight. Holloway is slight of build and stays light on his feet, making him one of the best strikers in the sport. Volkanovski’s most recent opponent was Aldo. He won by unanimous decision in a relatively low action fight. Volkanovski is strong for the division and used that advantage against Aldo by pushing him up on the cage and not allowing him to counter or gain any momentum. Volkanovski has gotten this title shot by beating who was put in front of him, with 11 knockouts in 20 wins and an undefeated record of 7-0 in the UFC.
In order for Volkanovski to win he will need to use his strength advantage to try and wear Holloway down during the fight. Holloway’s solid takedown defense will be crucial to stopping Volkanovski’s grappling attacks. Holloway will need to use his elite cardio and boxing skills to outwork his opponent and retain his title. Take Holloway to retain his title with either a late stoppage or a decision win. Holloway should be watching the tape of his unanimous decision loss to Dustin Poirier to see ways to fight a stronger and more compact opponent more effectively, since Volkanovski will have the strength advantage. While that bout was contested at 155 lbs, it can still be used as a learning tool for Holloway’s future fights. Holloway is coming off a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar in July of 2019. Volkanovski is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jose Aldo in May of 2019.
The Main Event will feature two of the best welterweights in the UFC when Kamaru Usman defends his Welterweight Title against Colby Covington. At 170 lbs this is a matchup between two fighters that are primarily wrestlers. Usman is 32, 6’0 and 170 lbs with a 76 inch reach. Covington is 31, 5’11 and 170 lbs with a 72 inch reach. Covington is a fighter that pushes the pace and is in constant motion. Covington likes to not give his opponents any breathing space and is always looking for takedowns. While Covington is not the most powerful striker he is always throwing strikes and the accumulation of punishment can take a toll on his opponent over the course of the fight.
Usman is a great wrestler in his own right, with an undefeated 10-0 record in the UFC. In 15 wins, Usman has 6 by knockout, 8 by decision and 1 by submission. Covington has 1 loss in the UFC in 2015, but has 15 wins with 2 by knockout, 5 by submission and 8 by decision. Being close in age and skill level and having identical records of 15-1 shows that there is little to separate these two great fighters. Usman has the advantage in strength and striking skills. Covington has the advantage in cardio, wrestling activity and popularity. Covington is coming off a unanimous decision win over Robbie Lawler in August of 2019 in a fight that Covington dominated with his wrestling and pace.
Usman is coming off a unanimous decision win over Tyron Woodley in March of 2019 in a performance that crowned him the new Champion of the Welterweight division after 5 hard fought rounds. Usman is an elite wrestler and showed that against Woodley as he stopped most of his striking and proved that he could control him on the ground. While not being the best striker, Covington is a more active fighter than Woodley. The overall activity and cardio of Covington should be enough to get the decision win and earn the Welterweight Title after 5 Rounds of championship action in a close fight. Make sure to tune into UFC 245 on the networks of ESPN.