UFC 245 tips: Best bets for Usman v Covington
Jack Green makes his prediction for Saturday night's welterweight title fight, plus the rest of the main card.
Kamaru Usman v Colby Covington
Two fantastic wrestlers with identical 15-1 records meet for the UFC welterweight title on Saturday night.
Usman became the champion with a stunning victory over Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March, when the Nigerian completely dominated one of the best welterweights ever to cruise to a unanimous decision win.
Covington, meanwhile, is on a seven-fight winning streak, and looked hugely impressive in beating Robbie Lawler – another welterweight great – in August.
The American’s greatest strength is his engine. He overwhelms opponents with relentless pressure and will look to do the same to Usman on Saturday.
The champion proved he’s a capable striker against Woodley, though, and has the power to make Covington think twice about wading into an exchange.
In what will be a fascinating fight, Usman should use his strength advantage to grind Covington down and earn a narrow victory.
Usman to win
Max Holloway v Alex Volkanovski
This should be the fight of the night.
Featherweight champion Holloway hasn’t lost in this division since he fought Conor McGregor in 2013, a run that spans 13 fights.
Volkanovski is also on an incredible run, having won 17 consecutive bouts, the last of which was a unanimous decision against Jose Aldo in May.
He out-boxed the Brazilian in that fight and slowed him down with leg kicks, which could be the formula he uses against Holloway this weekend.
But the champion has a knack of spoiling his opponents’ gameplans by drowning them with an endless stream of strikes.
He’s done just that against Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo (twice) and Anthony Pettis in recent years, and should add Volkanovski to that list on Saturday.
Holloway to win
Amanda Nunes v Germaine de Randamie
In the third title fight of the night, Nunes defends her bantamweight belt against a fighter that she knocked out back in 2013.
The Brazilian has been on a phenomenal run since she won the title against Miesha Tate in 2016, with KO wins over Ronda Rousey, Raquel Pennington, Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm among her five successful defences.
De Randamie has only fought five times since Nunes beat her, but she’s won all five bouts and briefly held the featherweight title before being stripped for refusing to fight Cyborg.
The Dutch former kickboxer is an excellent fighter who uses her reach well, but Nunes is just too strong and powerful and should defend her title once again.
She’ll push the pace and get inside de Randamie’s jab, landing a trademark right hand to win inside the distance.
Nunes to win by KO/TKO/DQ
Jose Aldo v Marlon Moraes
After losing to Volkanovski in May, Aldo – perhaps the best featherweight of all time – has dropped down to bantamweight for the first time.
The Brazilian’s size and power could make him a monster in this division, but he has looked drained in the build-up and it’s hard to imagine him being at his best after such a dramatic weight cut.
He faces a tough test in Moraes, who lost to Henry Cejudo in a title fight in June but had won his previous four bouts.
The 31-year-old is a polished striker and will have a huge speed advantage on Saturday, regardless of what condition Aldo is in after the weight cut.
Expect Moraes to get on his bike and pick the older man apart from the outside on the way to a decision win.
Moraes to win by decision
Petr Yan v Urijah Faber
The UFC have done Faber dirty in the second fight of his comeback by feeding him to one of the most exciting prospects in the UFC.
Yan is on an eight-fight winning streak, having out-pointed Jimmie Rivera at UFC 238 in 2019.
Faber could still beat decent bantamweights when he hung up the gloves in December 2016, and the 40-year-old looked good in a TKO victory over Ricky Simon in July.
Yan is just too big a step up, though. He’ll earn the win here, although a knockout is unlikely given that Faber has only been stopped three times in 45 fights.
Yan to win by decision
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