LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 12: (L-R) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria and Colby Covington face off during … [+]
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UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and former interim welterweight titleholder Colby Covington have built up a strong dislike for each other. On Saturday, the two get the opportunity to settle some, but probably not all, of their differences when they step into the octagon in the main event of the UFC 245 pay-per-view card. Usman’s 170-pound crown is on the line in the matchup.
These two competitors have similar fighting styles. They both focus on their wrestling skills and use pressure and pace to win fights, more often than not by decision.
While Usman and Covington do work from a wrestling base, there are a few places where they differ. The use of their striking skills is one of those areas. Usman is more aggressive, more accurate, more active and better defensively when it comes to striking. Those stats could make a big difference in this matchup, especially is Covington, who averages 5.69 takedowns per 15 minutes of UFC action, can’t get Usman to the mat and keep him there. If Covington, whose takedown accuracy is 51.8 percent does land a takedown on the champion, it will be the first takedown Usman has surrendered in 10 UFC fights.
Usman is excited by the opportunity to face Covington on Saturday.
“It’s very rare that you get a fight like this,” Usman said at UFC 245 media day (via MMA Junkie). “It’s very rare that you’re put in a position like this.
“There are a lot of fighters that fight all through their career and they never get put into ‘that’ fight. They never find that right dance partner to propel them, (like) Conor-Khabib. Look at Khabib now. They never get that to propel them to that point. This is that fight for me. It’s very exciting. I welcome it and I can’t wait.”
Covington feels the same way about the matchup.
“This is the case where I’m going to enjoy going 100 percent,” Covington said. “It’s going to be bad intentions. When I decide it’s going to be bad intentions, this is kill shot. I don’t care if I cut him, I slice him up, I do whatever. This is going to be one of those where I don’t feel that little ‘hold back’ when I fight him.”
UFC 245 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.
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