UFC 268 Betting Tips: Usman vs Covington 2
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Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the year, champion Usman defends against Covington. As always in rematches it is worth reflecting on the previous matchup and also what has happened since.
Covington has fought just once since losing to Usman by TKO late in the fifth and final round. That was in September 2020 when he defeated former champion Tyron Woodley. That was the third of a four-fight losing streak for Woodley which then saw Woodley depart from the UFC and since try his hand at Boxing losing to Jake Paul. Though it was a good win for “Chaos”, Woodley was definitely on the decline.
Usman on the other hand has been very active compared to most UFC champions, fighting three times since, two of them within two months earlier this year. As champion he has only fought top contenders such as Gilbert Burns as well as two fights against Jorge Masvidal sandwiching that.
The first fight with Masvidal was a convincing decision win with Masvidal only fighting on six days’ notice, in the second fight Usman really showed how much his striking game has improved since his change in Head Coach to Trevor Wittman as he KO’d Masvidal in Round Two – the first time Masvidal has been knocked out clean. In between those two wins, Usman TKO’d Burns early in the third round.
In some people’s opinion – including Covington’s – if the first fight had gone to a decision Covington could have won. However, history shows in rematches that elite champions often make the adjustments necessary to win more convincingly. You only have to look as far as the second fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson for a prime example of that and also as mentioned Usman’s last victory over Masvidal.
Usman, now ranked as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in UFC has improved leaps and bounds in his striking, has never lost in UFC, his only loss as a professional came in his second pro fight, amassing a 18 fight win streak (14 in UFC). Everything points to an Usman win but what bets should you place?
Usman to win is 1/3 which of course is a short price, but considering this is 1/3 for the pound-for-pound best could there still be value there? An outright win would suit favourite backers or those looking to back Usman as part of an accumulator.
Of course, there is a chance that Covington wins. Apart from Usman, Covington is the best Welterweight in MMA. His cardio is unmatched, and the sheer volume of strikes is enough to cause anyone problems. Covington, though, is not a knockout artist by any stretch. His TKO win over Woodley came due to a rib injury and his five wins before that were all by decision. If you’re looking to back Covington or hedge your bets somehow then Covington by decision at 4/1 seems a value bet.
Personally, I believe history will repeat in that the dominant champion will make the adjustments for the rematch to put Covington away quicker than the first time. Usman to win in Rounds 1-2 is 5/2 and Usman in Round Three outright is 9/1.
Usman to win in Rounds 1-2 at 5/2
Usman in Round Three at 9/1
Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler betting tips
Two men who have carved similar paths to the UFC face off on Saturday night in a fight that could determine the next UFC Lightweight title challenger once Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier settle their business coming up in December.
Both men’s last fights were both defeats in title matches but a win for either could realistically see them right back in the hunt with the other contenders around them possibly needing one or two more standout wins to propel them into the title mix.
Gaethje lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last fight back in October 2020 while Chandler’s last fight was a more recent losing effort to current champion Oliveira back in May this year.
Both men are credentialled former collegiate wrestlers though Gaethje much prefers to let his hands fly often engaging in absolute wars. In seven of Gaethje’s eight UFC fights he has won a bonus of some sort (Three Performance of the Night bonuses, Five Fight of the Night bonuses) and I would expect this to be no different. None of Gaethje’s eight UFC fights have gone the distance and none of Chandler’s last five (Three in Bellator, two in UFC) have either. Both fighters’ wins within these periods have come by KO/TKO. Unfortunately, due to these statistics, the price on the fight not lasting the distance is only 4/11. I’d put this in an accumulator.
Who wins then? I think the longer the fight goes the more it favours Gaethje. If he can avoid Chandler’s heavy hands, Chandler may run out of steam from Round Three onwards and could be there for the taking. Gaethje is a 4/9 favourite, but I think that is too short a price, the odds should be closer. If you believe Gaethje will win then I’d look at him winning by KO/TKO/DQ at 5/6 with William Hill. Every one of Gaethje’s UFC wins has come by KO/TKO.
However, though the fight will go back and forth for however long it lasts, I believe Chandler will come out victorious by KO/TKO. Though Gaethje has smartened his game up in recent times taking fewer open shots to the head, he is still there to be punched and he hasn’t fought anyone in UFC with the punching power of Chandler yet. Chandler’s odds of 7/4 to win are in my opinion longer than they should be so there is value there. However, given that Chandler’s last three wins have all come by KO/TKO in the first round including a beautiful TKO over Dan Hooker in his UFC debut the 9/2 offered for a Chandler KO/TKO/DQ looks even better. If you believe Chandler ends the fight early he is priced at 5/1 to win in Round One and 10/1 to win in Round Two.
Chandler by KO/TKO/DQ at 9/2
Chandler to win at 7/4
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