When it comes to building a character in the UFC, I am not sure anyone has done a better job than Colby Covington.
His brash commentary, his love for Donald Trump and his winning have made him one of the “bad guys” of the UFC. Love him or hate him, he’s drawing attention to himself and the sport. However, this Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas the talking stops.
UFC Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman defends his title against Covington in the main event of UFC 245. As is tradition with the last UFC PPV card of the calendar year, this card is stacked. The co-main event features UFC Featherweight champion Max Holloway taking on Alexander Volkanovski. And for good measure one more title fight, UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes against former champion Germaine de Randamie. Also on the card: Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Moraes; Petr Yan vs. Urijah Faber.
Starting with the main event this is likely to be a tactical wrestling match as both Usman and Covington are talented grapplers who have made their way to the top by grinding out their opponents. Currently Usman is -175 at Caesars and Station Casinos, while a takeback of +165 on Covington is at Circa Sports and CG Technology.
This fight truly feels like a coin flip to me as both guys fight so similar, Usman has some more pop so it will be interesting to see if he would prefer to stand as it’s likely to be an advantage over Covington.
Strength and technique will likely decide this wrestling match and thus far no one has stood up to Usman’s game. No one has been able to keep Covington’s pressure at bay either so it’s a great technical matchup. Since this fight feels like a closer fight than the line dictates, we will take a shot on the dog at +165. COVINGTON
UFC Featherweight championship — Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski: Volkanovski has flown up the rankings all the way to the title match. He’s a +160 underdog at Wynn while Holloway can be found at -165 at CG Technology.
Holloway has established himself as the greatest featherweight of all time with all the impressive performances on his list. Until we see him in real trouble it’s hard to not back him at this number. HOLLOWAY
UFC Women’s Bantamweight championship — Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie: Nunes has lived up to her nickname ‘The Lioness” as she is currently the Bantamweight and Featherweight champion. De Randamie however is a real challenge. Her size advantage and striking skills should make this is an interesting bout.
Nunes is -290 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and William Hill. The takeback is +260 at Circa Sports.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Nunes can lose where she has looked so dominant in the past. At this point, I am not looking to fade her. If she does lose, it’s likely at this weight class, if you can find over +300 on de Randamie it’s worth a peanut but otherwise pass on the fight and bet the total. UNDER
Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Moraes: Moraes went into his title opportunity against Henry Cejudo as a small favorite and was dominated. He will look to bounce right facing former No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Aldo. But that Aldo is long gone. There were reports that Aldo really struggled cutting weight and Moraes should be very focused off the stoppage loss to Cejudo.
Moraes sits -185 at CG Technology and Wynn with Aldo +170 at Circa Sports and William Hill. At this point we just aren’t sure what Aldo has left in the tank and I am comfortable backing Moraes jumping right back into contention at that price. MORAES
Crawford defends belt
One of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, Terence Crawford heads back to the ring this Saturday at Madison Square Garden to defend his WBO Welterweight title against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in an ESPN Top Rank tripleheader.
The co-main event is also a big one as IBF Lightweight champion Richard Commey battles Teofimo Lopez Jr. Lastly, Michael Conlan faces the man who won a highly controversial decision over him at the 2016 Olympics in Vladimir Nikitin.
Crawford is a massive favorite at -2000 and Lopez is a -170 favorite at the SuperBook. If you are a regular reader of this column, I never recommend laying that big of a number on anything, especially in this case because in boxing anything can happen. While the Lopez-Commey fight feels appropriately priced, I cannot recommend a play at this time. Check back on @GamingTodayNews on Twitter where I will give a selection, fighter or total, for the lightweight title fight later in the week.
What I will say is this is a can’t miss card for boxing fans with plenty of talent on display and let’s face it, Crawford has been must-see TV for a long time now.