UFC 245: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, December 14

Main Card – 8 PM EST (ESPN+ PPV)

(Champion) Kamaru Usman vs. #2 Colby Covington (Welterweight Title Fight)

With multiple breakdowns during negotiations, this fight has been a long time in the making. The bad blood between Usman and Covington indicates the potential for fireworks when they finally clash in the octagon. But as history has shown, aggressive feuds can often lead to lackluster outings on fight-night because both fighters don’t want to make a mistake. The reason I expect a different result in this fight is the pace that Covington fights. He only has one speed: full speed.

Covington’s style is one of constant pressure and there is no “feeling out process” or “gauging the distance”. I expect Covington to close the distance and attempt to work takedowns, and if Usman is able to stifle that attack I would expect Covington to switch to his high-volume combinations on the feet. Covington rarely throws single punches and kicks, which leaves opponents dealing with constant pressure.

This could get interesting if Usman, a high caliber wrestler like Covington, is able to get a hold of Covington and turn the match into a wrestling affair. If Usman can maintain control of the fight with top position and submission attempts, that would be his best chance to win the fight.

Prediction: Covington by fourth round TKO

(Champion) Max Holloway vs. #1 Alexander Volkanovski (Featherweight Title Fight)

Max Holloway is as durable as they come for the Featherweight weight class. His ability to take a punch is second to only Frankie Edgar, in my opinion. Holloway is a high-volume, pressure fighter, but unlike Colby Covington, Holloway does not have the same level of wrestling ability. What does this mean for this fight against a beast like Volkanovski? The best route to victory for Holloway will be to keep his distance on the feet and pepper Volkanovski with strikes for five rounds.

Volkanovski is massive for this weight class, and he has shown the ability to withstand punishment, while also being able to dominate large portions of a fight. His lone loss was back in 2013; and since then he has made it look relatively easy while going on a tear against top competition.

The difference in this fight will be Volkanovki’s size and strength, which will allow him to withstand Holloway’s punishment on the feet and take the fight to the ground, where he’ll be able to inflict damage and exert control over five rounds.

Prediction: Volkanovski by Unanimous Decision

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