UFC 245 is coming up this weekend and it is a loaded card that should provide us with explosive MMA action right before the holidays!
We are going to be looking at a couple of fights today along with their odds and coming up with predictions of who will win… and how.
The Main Event
Colby Covington has worked his way to the top of the 170-pound category and finds himself the No. 1 contender with a shot at Kamaru Usman. Colby Covington is a wrestler with fantastic conditioning. But often when we think of wrestlers, we think of weak striking capabilities. That isn’t the case with Covington, at least not anymore. He has improved his boxing game ten-fold and even set the significant strike record the last time he fought, in a bout against Robbie Lawler – no pushover.
The picks on SBR have Colby Covington to win as an underdog, but I’m not quite ready to hop on that train just yet. Kamaru Usman is a matchup nightmare for Colby as he is also an elite wrestler. Not only that he has been basically flawless, now at 10-0 in the UFC after running the table on The Ultimate Fighter season whatever in 2015. Kamaru Usman was an underdog to Tyrone Woodley – possibly one of the best wrestlers in the history of the UFC– and he smoked him.
This is going to be a close fight. Usman might be a slightly better wrestler and Covington slightly better at striking. But realistically, they are so close in skill level that it is amazing. This could turn into one of those amazing fights that screams rematch, maybe even trilogy.
I do like the longshot odds that Covington has. If I were to bet the fight I would probably take a shot at that positive money because there is some serious value there on a 50/50 chance of an upset. But from a purely speculative stance, I think that the Champ barely edges the Challenger out this weekend.
The Prediction: Kamaru Usman in a tough battle.
Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski
This fight will be another epic battle. Here we have a guy who has fought the best in the world on a continual basis in Max Holloway going against the No. 1 contender, who is on a seven-win tear.
Alexander Volkanovski is a Macedonian born Australian who has a strong wrestling background and elite kickboxing skills. He likes to use his legs to find his range and start chopping at his opponents early in the fight. Alexander’s best asset may be his demeanor and fight IQ. He doesn’t get rattled and executes his game plan. When you watch his fights you’ll see him keep calm and focused, no matter what. He rests between rounds and absorbs the coaching given to him then when the bell rings, steps back out and begins executing what he was told. He has an excellent defense, keeping his guard up all the time and fantastic condition – both of which are critical against a fighter like Max Holloway.
Holloway is a conditioning beast who has superior boxing skills and throws in relentless volume. He gives a couple of inches of reach away to the much smaller Volkanovski, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Holloway will just use his unusually large-for-a-featherweight frame to impose his will on the smaller fighter. Holloway’s biggest asset is his battle-testiness. He has fought the best, and in most cases came out on top. He doesn’t have quit in him. Volkanovski has won a lot of fights, but he has never truly been challenged, this is the toughest fight he has partaken in. Conversely, this is not the hardest opponent for Holloway. His resume is stacked with former champions.
Max Holloway will wear Alexander Volkanovski down. He has gone 5 rounds many times and has the stamina to handle the long fights. We could see a knockout, but I think that Alexander is good enough to stay alive and go the distance. This is going to be a long, drawn-out battle.
The Prediction: Max Holloway wins by decision.
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