One of the longest-standing rivalries in the UFC 178 will reach its climax on Saturday when Colby Covington looks to reassert his footing in the welterweight division with a win over Tyron Woodley.
The two nemeses headline this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card, which is predicted to be the final event held at the UFC Apex for some time, with coming cards set to take place at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi.
Woodley (19-5) has ground to make up after suffering two straight (unanimous) decision defeats, first losing the welterweight championship to Kamaru Usman and then to would-be contender Gilbert Burns. Both results were conclusive and left little doubt the 38-year-old is not the force he once was, though Covington (15-2) was stopped by Usman when they fought last December.
Both fighters are former NCAA Division I wrestlers and take pleasure in dictating the tempo of fights via use of their grappling, but MMAJunkie’s John Morgan suggested the majority of the pressure rests with T-Wood:
Agree with @MMAjunkieJohn? Is Tyron Woodley under more pressure than Colby Covington heading into their #UFCVegas11 headliner? #SpinningBackClique | Full episode: https://t.co/R9dDC4wwqT pic.twitter.com/jKSguBfAEk— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 15, 2020
Six years the junior in this bout, it’s likely Covington’s youth and supreme conditioning will come to play a heavy hand in the fixture. Woodley looked spent in the latter stages of those defeats to Usman and Burns, and while “Chaos” was stopped by the former, he previously looked good over the five rounds in previous wins over Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler.
It’s been a point of frustration for Woodley’s fans that he’s seemed particularly timid in striking recent opponents, though he’s assured supporters that will change against Covington:
This pair have long exchanged venom in person and on social media, which could give Woodley all the more motivation to put the No. 2-ranked welterweight in his place. Covington and his persona are widely disliked in mixed martial arts circles, but the wrestling specialist has a habit of shutting down his opponents’ offense, taking his last five wins via unanimous decision.
While the heart may want to back Woodley for an upset, the head points to another victory over the distance for Covington on Saturday.
Prediction: Covington via decision
Woodley vs. Covington Odds
Tyron Woodley: +290
Colby Covington: -360