In less than 2 weeks time, UFC 245 will be held at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. As is increasingly true of these headline UFC events, there are a number of intriguing athletes and matchups up and down the card: Marlon Moraes will look to get back on track in the bantamweight division after aa June loss to Henry Cejudo, and Amanda Nunes and Max Holloway will defend championship belts (in the women’s bantamweight and featherweight divisions, respectively). But in this case, more than most, it’s the top of the card that’s going to command the most attention, with Kamaru Usman seeking to defend his welterweight title against Colby Covington.
The following is our early preview of the fight.
The Ideological Clash
More than perhaps any UFC fight in recent history, there’s an ideological clash at the core of this title fight. To those who are less familiar with politics across the pond, it may not resonate. But let us assure you, the political differences between the two fighters set the stage for a passionate, contentious bout. Regardless of anyone’s personal politics, it’s fair to say that the Donald Trump presidency has left many immigrants in the U.S. feeling unwelcome or cast aside. It has also emboldened some white Americans who would prefer to see fewer immigrants. Enter the two fighters: Colby Covington is an unabashed Trump supporter who wears the famous red “MAGA hat” publicly; Kamaru Usman is a Nigerian-American who has vowed to “put the wrath of every immigrant” in the U.S. on Covington. It may all sound like written drama at the core of a Rocky film, but this is genuine bad blood.
Stats & Records
The actual statistical analysis and strategic breakdowns surrounding this title bout leave little space between the fighters. Usman is 15-1-0 to Covington’s 14-1-0. They are naturally nearly identical in height and weight, though Usman has a slight advantage in reach. Usman earns more wins by knockout, whereas Covington has had more success with submissions. The stats show Usman to be the slightly better striker, and Covington the marginally more effective grappler. We could go on, but on paper, these two are about as close as they come.
What The Odds Say
Right now, you can check any of the UK betting apps carrying up-to-date UFC odds and you’ll find the same picture: This ought to be a very close match. The betting community doesn’t seem to have settled on uniform odds just yet, but most apps and sites right now are listing Usman as a very slight favourite. As indicated above, Usman and Covington are extraordinarily similar in a lot of regards, and it appears that the bookmakers are in agreement with most analysts that there’s very little daylight between the fighters.
If we have to give an edge, we’ll agree with the oddsmakers and favour Usman slightly. He has just a little bit more power to his credit, and a little edge like that can make a big difference in a fight like this. But don’t let this sway you into thinking he’s a clear winner. There are some analysts picking Covington to win, and it won’t be a huge surprise if he does. Frankly, given the aforementioned bad blood and the passions that will come up in this bout, it may come down to which fighter maintains composure and sticks to his plan best. But without knowing what will happen in that regard, we’ll give the smallest of edges to Usman. In fact, we’ll agree with Liverpool’s own Darren Till, who said, “I think Usman has everything Colby has, just a bit better.”