UFC 272 is headlined by a grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. Covington and Masvidal are former training partners at American Top Team and are on bad terms. UFC 272 does not feature any title fights, which is rare for a pay-per-view, but the main event is generating a lot of buzz due to the storyline.
The co-main event was originally scheduled to be a lightweight bout between Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev. However, Fiziev had to pull out from UFC 272 due to COVID-19. Instead, Renato Moicano will face Dos Anjos in a five-round fight at a catchweight of 160 pounds.
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC 272 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $700,000 in total prizes, including $150,000 to first place. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $700K UFC 272 Special [$150K to 1st].
- Colby Covington (-320) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+250)
- Rafael Dos Anjos (-165) vs. Renato Moicano (+145)
- Edson Barboza (+145) vs. Bryce Mitchell (-165)
- Kevin Holland (-335) vs. Alex Oliveira (+260)
- Serghei Spivac (-200) vs. Greg Hardy (+170)
Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal
Colby Covington is best known for his trash talk, but some of his skills inside the octagon are elite. Covington has strong cardio and can work a relentless pace, which allows him to constantly attack his opponents by blending his wrestling with distance and clinch strikes. Covington is an excellent wrestler who was an All-American in college, and his wrestling combined with his gas tank allows him to generate a lot of control time. Covington ranks second among active welterweights in control time and has generated the sixth most control time among all active fighters on the UFC roster. Covington’s wrestling also fuels heavy takedown volume, averaging over four takedowns per 15 minutes and recording 61 total takedowns, the fifth most among all active UFC fighters.
Covington’s big pace also results in plus striking volume. Covington is landing about five significant strikes per minute over his last five fights and has landed about 600 total significant strikes during that five-fight stretch. 179 of those significant strikes were landed in his win over Robbie Lawler, where Covington’s insane pace limited Lawler’s offensive output. Covington got off a titanic 515 significant strike attempts in the Lawler fight, compared to just 167 attempts for Lawler.
Covington’s only two losses since 2015 have been against welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman, who is a very poor matchup for Covington. Usman has the elite wrestling to stifle Covington’s strengths and force Covington into a striking battle, where Usman has the edge.
Jorge Masvidal is going to want to keep this fight at distance and turn this into a striking match, which he is capable of doing. Masvidal has good defensive wrestling and is good at scrambling to his feet once he does get taken down. Masvidal’s takedown defense on a rate basis is solid, stopping 75% of opponent takedown attempts. However, this includes a 61% rate in two fights against Kamaru Usman, which presents a similar matchup stylistically.
Masvidal has a legitimate puncher’s chance and has caught wrestlers coming in on strikes before, most notably in his fight against Ben Askren, where Masvidal had an amazing, epic five-second flying knee knockout that sent Askren into orbit.
However, Covington is good at hiding takedown attempts and timing his takedown attempts when his opponent is off-balance, which helps him get inside without getting hit clean.
Masvidal having to worry about Covington’s takedowns could help Covington on the feet because Masvidal can’t overcommit to strikes without risking being taken down. Masvidal also can’t fully commit to kicks without risking being taken down—this happened quickly in Masvidal’s first fight vs. Kamaru Usman, where Usman caught a low kick for an easy takedown early in Round 1.
This fight could end up looking very similar to Masvidal’s first fight against Usman. In that fight, Usman attempted a heavy 16 takedowns over 25 minutes and logged nearly 17 minutes of control time as he fought Masvidal inside in a close-distance fight. Masvidal got trapped against the fence for large portions of the fight and Usman cruised to a decision win. That could be the case against Covington, where Covington’s offensive wrestling and Masvidal’s defensive grappling causes the fight to primarily take place in the clinch near the fence as Covington chases takedowns and Masvidal fights them off.
Covington’s cardio, pace, wrestling and striking volume put him in a good position to score points and win a decision, especially considering Masvidal has been very tough to finish and has been finished only once in 20 UFC fights. Covington is also not a big finisher, as his control-heavy style combined with a lack of one-punch power generally makes him prone to going the distance. Covington has won five of his last six fights by decision and has only one finish since 2016.
The combination of Masvidal being tough to finish along with Covington’s style makes it likely that this fight goes to decision. If Covington is going to win, it will likely be by decision, and since Covington is a heavy -320 favorite on the moneyline, betting Covington to win by decision could supply more favorable odds.
DraftKings Sportsbook bets to consider
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.