The UFC returned to screens last weekend with a surprisingly action-packed fight card in Washington, DC, but all eyes are on Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.
UFC 245 will be the first UFC PPV event since November 3, and fight fans have been itching for another dose of exciting fights inside the Octagon. This weekend’s event features three title fights, and each of those championship bouts are relatively competitive, oddsmakers say.
In the main event, Kamaru Usman will defend his UFC Welterweight Championship for the first time. He’ll face surging but controversial welterweight fighter Colby Covington.
The co-main event has fan-favorite Max Holloway defending the featherweight title against the remarkably strong contender Alexander Volkanovski. Read our breakdown for that fight here.
And before then, Amanda Nunes, the consensus greatest female mixed martial artist of all-time, will hold her ground as the women’s bantamweight champion as she faces former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie. Read our betting guide for Nunes vs. de Randamie here.
Join us as we break down each of these fights and bring you the betting tips and knowledge that you need to be aware of before UFC 245 takes place this Saturday.
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
Usman vs. Covington could be one of the most fascinating title fights of the year so far. Both fighters are 15-1 throughout their professional careers, and more interestingly, Usman defeated Warlley Alves, the only man to beat Covington so far, and Covington has a win over Jose Caceres, who Usman lost to in 2013.
In many ways, Usman and Covington were destined to collide.
Usman gained his shot at the title and leapfrogged Covington in that race to the top by defeating Rafael dos Anjos, Demian Maia, and Emil Meek all in 2018. Covington also managed wins against Maia and dos Anjos in the last few years but was asked to take a fight with Robbie Lawler in August this year as he waited for Usman to return to action.
For the most part, both Usman and Covington have succeeded in completely dominating their opponents. Usman overwhelmed Woodley and made a once-feared champion look pathetic on the night at UFC 235 and Covington broke records on his way to a masterful beatdown of Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5.
But the primary reason why this fight is so intriguing is that Usman and Covington appear to have remarkably similar fighting styles. Does that make it easier to choose a winner at UFC 245? Read our fight breakdown below.
Coming back to the topic of their similar fighting styles, Usman and Covington are renowned pressure-wrestlers who can consistently move forward and manhandle their opponent. The overwhelming majority of each fighter’s best work comes when they are clinching their opponent against the cage.
Covington gets to this distance in a somewhat similar way as lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov does. The welterweight challenger will advance and start throwing all kinds of crazy strikes, including flying knees, lunging punches, and more. This “Chaos” leads his opponent to hesitate and start stepping backward, allowing him to come forward and close the distance. Nurmagomedov has frequently relied on the chaos of his striking to create these same opportunities.
Usman, on the other hand, applies the same pressure and has the same objectives as Covington, but gets there in a very different way. Whereas Covington likes to create uncertainty with his striking, Usman is rather straightforward and technical in his approach. Although his advances are somewhat predictable, then-champion Woodley had no answer for the wrestling techniques and takedowns from Usman through five rounds.
But there is a question of whether Usman can adapt to the insane pressure and pace from Covington. Will he be able to answer appropriately? And what if Usman is able to defend these advances and gain dominant positions of his own? How will Covington react then?
Usman and Covington are extremely well-conditioned and will likely carry their power and speed into the final moments, but the unusual pace for either fighter could cause potential problems when it comes to improving their work rate and efficiency.
But while most fans look to this fight as one that could be decided by the wrestling, the striking element of this matchup is of major importance. Usman carries more significant power than Covington and will be looking to string his punches together as Covington moves forward. Covington will be stepping in with his improved footwork and head movement, but he’ll need to be wary of Usman’s power as he does so.
Prediction: Colby Covington to win by unanimous decision
Bet: Colby Covington to win: +166 at BetDSI
Bet explainer: It’s an even fight and definitely more competitive than the bookmakers consider it to be. For that reason, we’ll be looking to jump on Covington at these underdog odds of +166 at BetDSI, as this bet represents the best value for UFC 245 main event betting purposes.
We’re counting on the “Chaos” created by Colby Covington to be the determining factor in this fight as his unpredictability serves as a possibly insurmountable challenge for the champion.
More UFC 245 picks:
UFC 245 odds
- Kamaru Usman (-177) vs. Colby Covington (+166)
- Max Holloway (-175) vs. Alex Volkanovski (+155)
- Germaine de Randemie (+255) vs. Amanda Nunes (-310)
- Marlon Moraes (-225) vs. Jose Aldo (+185)
- Petr Yan (-485) vs. Urijah Faber (+385)
- Mike Perry (+215) vs. Geoff Neal (-255)
- Irene Aldana (+150) vs. Ketlen Vieira (-170)
- Omari Akhmedov (+120) vs. Ian Heinisch (-140)
- Ben Saunders (+285) vs. Matt Brown (-345)
- Chase Hooper (-115) vs. Daniel Teymur (-105)
- Brandon Moreno (+145) vs. Kai Kara-France (-165)
- Jessica Eye (+155) vs. Viviane Araujo (-175)
- Oskar Piechota (-120) vs. Punahele Soriano (+100)