Just one week after the UFC’s pay-per-view event in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the promotion slides back into prime position on ESPN this Saturday night with UFC on ESPN 5.
This weekend’s fight card is topped with a brilliant welterweight clash that should be more highly anticipated than any of the bouts that went down at UFC 240. In the main event, Colby Covington will face off with Robbie Lawler in a high-stakes 170-pound bout.
As always, we here at WagerBop are committed to bringing you comprehensive betting guides before every major sports event. Read on to discover where to find the best odds, as well as our detailed breakdown and best bet ahead of Covington vs. Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5.
Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler
In many ways, Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler is a fight that should never have been made. In his last fight, Colby Covington won the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship by defeating Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225.
Covington relied on his relentless pace and pressure to chip away at “RDA” for those five rounds. By the end of it all, the scorecards showed a unanimous decision win for Covington, and the man known as “Chaos” walked away with one of his most significant victories to date.
Now on a six-fight winning streak, Covington looked to be next in line to challenge the champion of the welterweight division. However, injuries and a list of other reasons kept Covington away from the cage until now. He returns to face #11 ranked Robbie Lawler and a win here likely results in a shot at current titleholder Kamaru Usman if all goes to plan.
Despite losing his last fight, Robbie Lawler seemingly enters this fight with more hype and appreciation than he has garnered since losing the UFC Welterweight Championship to Tyron Woodley.
Woodley faced off against then-undefeated wrestler Ben Askren at UFC 235 and looked to be on his way to a remarkably quick knockout win after he slammed the UFC debutant on his head in the opening seconds. After some brutal ground and pound from the former champion, Askren somehow returned to his feet and managed to clinch with Lawler until winning the fight by an extremely controversial bulldog choke submission in the first round.
Despite what the official result may have you believe, it was Lawler who walked away from that fight looking like a winner.
Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler Odds
Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler Breakdown
One interesting aspect heading into this main event bout is that Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler have trained together many times at American Top Team. Each fighter is surely aware of the capabilities of the other and where their strengths and weaknesses lie, however, it’s something that’s unseen by the public and we don’t have knowledge of how these training sessions played out.
On that note, what happens in a training session is obviously not the exact outcome that could occur once the cage door is locked inside the UFC Octagon, either.
Here’s what we do know. Colby Covington’s relentless forward pace and ability to smother an opposing fighter is enough to make him an incredibly difficult matchup for anyone in the 170-pound division. With great wrestling, particularly chain wrestling and scrambling ability, more so than just straight-up shots in the middle of the cage, Covington sticks to his opponent like glue.
Unlike other wrestlers in the division like Ben Askren, Covington has a decent ability to close the distance safely. He’ll attempt kicks to the legs, body, and head from outside and slowly walk his opponent back until they’re behind the black tape that nears the cage. Once they are near the cage, Covington advances and locks a tight grip around the waist of his opponent.
Against Rafael dos Anjos, Covington’s pressure kept “RDA” backed to the cage and forced him to defend takedowns from the clinch for the overwhelming majority of the bout. However, dos Anjos showed that excellent framing and clinch defense could impact the effectiveness of Covington’s wrestling from that range. When Covington was able to get the former champion to the mat, it wouldn’t be for long as dos Anjos quickly scrambled back to his feet. This process continued for the five rounds.
Covington’s going to need to bring an even better game if he wishes to defeat Lawler this weekend.
Lawler is a heavy puncher with excellent takedown defense. Whereas dos Anjos was hitting Covington with hard strikes at times through the bout, the impact wasn’t so severe that it would force him to take a step back. Lawler has that power, and that could be a fundamental difference here.
There’s also the fact that Covington isn’t that active when pursuing takedowns. If Lawler can survive the early attempts and force the two to break and return to the middle of the cage, he can start advancing and overloading Covington with punches of his own. Boxing range is likely to be the ugliest position for Covington to remain in this fight with Lawler and we can’t see him wanting to stay there for too long.
If this was a three-round fight, there’s a good chance that we’d be leaning toward picking Lawler to win. But because this is a 25-minute fight contested over five rounds, it allows Covington an even greater opportunity to put in consistent work and begin to frustrate and fatigue Lawler.
Lawler may look unbeatable in the first round, especially if he comes in looking the same he did against Ben Askren. However, a couple of rounds with Covington may lead to a completely different version of Lawler and one that can’t cope with the pressure and consistent effort from the #1 ranked welterweight contender at this time in his career.
We’re expecting Colby Covington to be ahead on the scorecards after five rounds.
Bet on Colby Covington to win: -220 at BetOnline