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Ever since Kamaru Usman debuted in the UFC, I touted him to become a future champion. With a solid foundation, that being his wrestling and evolving striking, I believe he had the skills to make it happen. Then in his title fight against Tyron Woodley, I picked against him. I had believed that Woodley stylistically was a tough fight for him. Boy was I wrong. Next up was his first title defense against Colby Covington. Once again, I picked against Usman. Not because I no longer believed in the Nigerian Nightmare, but because many overlook Covington skillset due to his schtick. While ultimately Usman finished Covington in round five, the fight itself was extremely competitive through the first four rounds. Covington displayed his striking output, pace and pressure. What he lacked was using his wrestling and ability to grind. However, Usman is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC. With a lightning quick jab, precision and power, Usman is also one of the best strikers in the UFC. In brief, he’s the total package.
As for a prediction, I have Usman winning. While I expect yet another competitive fight, Usman is too accurate and powerful on the feet. Covington is an excellent striker, but he can at times be inaccurate given the amount of output he throws. Combine that with Usman’s good striking defense and I find Covington at a minor disadvantage on the feet. The one aspect of the fight that I’m curious if we see this time around, is wrestling exchanges. In the first fight, it seemed that because neither shot in for a takedown and they both had a point to prove, we didn’t get any wrestling. The same could be true for this fight, but I will say, if we have some wrestling exchanges this time, it’s Usman that I believe will find success in that department. In the end, I predict that Usman will defeat Covington once again via TKO.