Sunday, May 22, 2022

Usman: Masvidal Has The Tools To Steal Covington Fight

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman has given his take on the upcoming UFC 272 main event between his former opponents Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.

Following blockbuster 2022 headliners at UFC 270 and 271, which saw a heavyweight unification showdown in California and a long-awaited middleweight rematch in Houston, Las Vegas is set to play host to the year’s first non-title pay-per-view main event.

At the top of the UFC 272 card, set for this Saturday, March 5, will be two former friends and teammates-turned-bitter rivals who appear to boast as much bad blood between them as any feud in the UFC right now.

Heading into this weekend’s welterweight collision, many have understandably branded the headliner a classic grappler vs. striker contest. One man who’s faced the different attacks of both Masvidal and Covington is Usman.

Having defeated both men twice, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is in a unique position to provide analysis and a breakdown of the third PPV main event of the year. He did just that while on desk duty at UFC Vegas 49 this past weekend.

Discussing Masvidal’s skills, Usman suggested “Gamebred” has all the tools to battle Covington’s imposing wrestling game and land damaging shots on the feet.

“I think he (Masvidal) can potentially win this fight because one thing about Masvidal is he’s one of the only guys who is, in his stance, he’s so tall in his stance,” said Usman. “But he’s able to defend takedowns from some of the best wrestlers. He’s very, very good; his striking is so relaxed and so fast, and if he’s able to touch you, it might not feel as hard, but he can touch that button and shut the lights out.

“Being able to run across the Octagon in five seconds and land a knee like that (against Ben Askren) just shows the different level of athleticism,” Usman continued. “He’s an athlete, he’s a skilled striker, he’s a skilled fighter, and he definitely has the tools to be able to land that shot to steal this fight away from Covington.”

Usman: Masvidal Won’t Be As Easy To Take Down As Covington Thinks

The leading narrative heading into UFC 272 fight week is the history between the two headliners. Having trained together, cornered each other, and lived with one another, Masvidal and Covington head into their grudge match with perhaps more information than they’ve ever had on an opponent.

But despite that, Usman believes both may be underestimating each other’s growth since their unceremonious split.

The reigning welterweight king suggested Masvidal will be a lot harder to take down than Covington will be anticipating, a sentiment he believes also applies across the cage to Masvidal’s standup expectations.

“One thing I will say is I think in this fight, Colby’s going to realize that it’s harder to take Masvidal down in an actual fight than when they were in practice,” Usman suggested. “I know in his mind, he’s gonna expect it to be like it was when they practiced. But they spent some time apart now, and I think he’s gonna realize it’s a lot harder to take him down in a fight than it is in practice.

“And Masvidal, on the flip side, he’s gonna realize that it’s a lot harder to strike with this guy now than back when I was beating him up when he first came into the sport,” concluded Usman.

Jorge Masvidal Colby Covington
Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington

While predictions may be split and the result up in the air, one thing is certain as we enter fight week: We’re set for an animosity-fueled and hostile pre-fight build. For those set to attend the press conference on Thursday, that’s undoubtedly a mouth-watering prospect.

Who do you think will have their hand raised in the UFC 272 main event, Colby Covington or Jorge Masvidal?

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