Event: UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington
Location & Venue: the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: Saturday, December 14th 2019
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. ET, Prelims 8p.m. ET, Early Prelims 6:15p.m. ET
Where to watch: Main Card on Pay-per-view, Prelims on ESPN2 & Early Prelims on ESPN+
UFC 245 is the company’s final pay-per-view of 2019 and they’ve gone all out with three blockbuster title fights. Not only that, but the entire card is stacked from top to bottom, with legends, hot prospects, and sheer wild men… *cough cough*… Mike Perry.
For this week’s picks I’m only going to be looking at the title fights, but do scroll down to see my full list of predictions for the event. Now, let’s get into this week’s UFC picks for UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington!:
Two Leg Parlay:
We’re kicking things off with a two leg parlay for the PPV’s non-main event title fights!
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie
UFC Women’s Bantamweight (135 lbs) Title Fight
I must admit, I’ve been a little hot and cold on Nunes since she claimed her first piece of UFC gold. I took her against Tate, Rousey and Shevchenko, all as an underdog (crazy to think back on that now), but since then I passed on her -700 price against Pennington, then faded small against both Cyborg and Holm. Now I’m back on her again, and I’m not likely going to be betting any of her opponents anytime soon.
Germaine de Randamie (GDR) is pretty one dimensional, and she seems to have shown us all the wrinkles to her game. She’s a Muay Thai/kickboxer who works very well both at length and in the clinch. She does her best work against smaller opponents and she hasn’t fought anyone with serious power since her first fight with Amanda, where she was finished via elbows in the first round.
Nunes is the play here, not only does she have the power and speed to hit and hurt GDR, but she also has the size and strength to nullify much of GDR’s effectiveness in the clinch. Her ground game is miles above that of GDR’s, and although she hasn’t used it much recently, it could prove super effective should her game plan focus on working for takedowns and seeking out a submission.
Realistically Amanda could win this any which way. She’s got the power to compromise and finish GDR, she’s got the BJJ skills to submit her too, and her gas tank looks as good as ever, meaning she could get it done over the full five if need be. We’re taking her as the first leg of our two leg championship parlay.
1st Leg of Parlay: Amanda Nunes @-303
Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski
UFC Featherweight (145 lbs) Title Fight Co-Main Event
This is an exceptional fight and just like the other two on this card, it makes a world of sense. All too often the rightful number one contenders are not given the shot: this is absolutely not the case for this fight.
Volkanovski has worked hard and fast to demolish everyone in his way to this fight with Holloway. He’s beaten people in the UFC of varied skill levels and styles, but he’s never faced anyone quite like Holloway.
Max represents a very different challenge. He’s not only a tall fighter, but one that maintains distance and uses it outstandingly well, and because of that, he’s a wrestler’s nightmare as they’re unable to breach the gap. His takedown defense is at a respectable 84%, a figure that has only climbed since his early fights in the UFC; he’s now only allowed 4 takedowns since Fall of 2014 (stats courtesy of UFCStats.com).
Volkanovski is quick and athletic, meaning he’s able to put fighters onto their back foot, before he puts them on the mat. With Holloway however, I think he’s going to struggle. Max will be able to pump his jab with surgeon-like precision, and over the course of the fight, this’ll keep Volkanovski contained and honest. Look for Holloway to either stop Volkanovski late in the fight, or more likely, claim the decision. We’re taking Max as our second and final leg of the parlay. Blessed express baby!
2nd Leg of Parlay: Max Holloway @ -166
2 Leg Parlay: Nunes (-303) + Holloway (-166) – 2 Units @ +113 (to Return 4.26 Units)
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
UFC Welterweight (170lbs) Title Fight Main Event
We’re now at the main event, and the fight many of us have been wanting to see for quite a while. This isn’t because of their “trash talk”, or even necessarily as a fighting spectacle, but more for sheer intrigue.
Who’s the better wrestler? We’re not entirely sure.
Who’s got the better cardio? Colby, but we’ve never really seen Usman fatigued, so who knows.
Who’s got the better striking? Kamaru, yet Colby’s seems to be coming along nicely, especially when he’s the fresher fighter.
Who has the better striking volume? Colby, and that might just be the key.
What I’m trying to get across, is that this fight is extremely close to call. For practically every strength each guy possesses, the other basically matches them. Their styles both heavily center around their strong wrestling, and unrelenting pressure.
When two similar styles meet, that can often result in both guys trying to fight out of their comfort zone, and if that is the case here, I’m not sure who wins. Usman is definitely the cleaner striker, but the volume that Colby throws on the feet can turn rounds in his favor.
To be perfectly honest, this fight is so difficult to call without having any inside knowledge. They both have recent mutual opponents in Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos, but from what I’ve seen, neither have given out their opinions on who they thought was the stronger guy. For this reason, I’m picking Covington as my bet. I wouldn’t typically advocate betting someone in a situation like this, but at +162, he’s the clear bet in a fight that should be lined a lot closer.
Pick: Colby Covington – 1 Unit @ +162 (to Return 2.62 Units)
UFC 245 Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC 245 Main Event Prediction:
UFC Welterweight Title Fight (170 lbs): Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington – Colby Covington via Decision
UFC 245 Main Card Predictions:
UFC Featherweight Title Fight (145lbs): Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski – Max Holloway via Decision
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight (135 lbs): Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie – Amanda Nunes via TKO
Bantamweight (135 lbs): Marlon Moraes vs. Jose Aldo – Marlon Moraes via KO
Bantamweight (135 lbs): Petr Yan vs. Urijah Faber – Petr Yan via Decision
UFC 245 Prelim Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170 lbs): Geoff Neal vs. Mike Perry – Geoff Neal via TKO
(W) Bantamweight (135 lbs): Irene Aldana vs. Ketlen Vieira – Ketlen Vieira via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Omari Akhmedov vs. Ian Heinisch – Ian Heinisch via Decision
Welterweight (170 lbs): Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders – Matt Brown via KO
UFC 245 Early Prelim Card Predictions:
Featherweight (125lbs): Daniel Teymur vs. Chase Hooper – Chase Hooper via Submission
Flyweight (125lbs): Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Moreno – Kai Kara-France via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo – Jessica Eye via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Oskar Piechota vs. Punahele Soriano – Oskar Piechota via Submission