Card preview – UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington

ONE of the most anticipated UFC cards of the year comes in the final pay-per-view event, with Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington headlining in front of two other title fights and a card stacked with a raft of ranked fighters. There is plenty to dissect, and so many ways each fight can go.


WELTERWEIGHT | Kamaru Usman [C] vs. Colby Covington [2]

It is finally here, the grudge match between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington for the welterweight title. Destined to fight each other given their parallel come-ups, Usman and Covington now get to put all the talk aside and settle it in the cage. Covington is as loud as they come out of the octagon, but has backed it up thus far to become an undeniable challenger for the undisputed strap after previously earning the interim title. Usman is yet to be bettered in the UFC, dominating all 10 foes with his smothering wrestling and insane stamina. But if there is anyone who can match both of those facets, it is Covington, and these two cancel each other out stylistically. While these two are elite grapplers, the fight could be won on the feet, with Kamaru’s power coming against Colby’s volume striking. This looms as being one of the tightest title fights to call in recent memory, and should be a cracker.

Prediction: Usman by decision.

FEATHERWEIGHT | Max Holloway [C] vs. Alexander Volkanovski [1]

Max Holloway defends his featherweight belt for the fourth time when he meets number one contender Alexander Volkanovski in the co-main event, with a clash of styles set to take place. A pressure striker, Holloway has made a name from overwhelming his opponents, but comes up against a strong wrestler with accurate and powerful stand-up in Volkanovski. Coming from a rugby background, the Australian challenger has heavy hands and can test Holloway that way, as well as in the grappling department. Holloway is seldom not a heavy favourite, and will be just that coming in, but sleep on the Aussie at your own peril after taking out a couple of UFC featherweight greats.

Prediction: Holloway by decision

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Amanda Nunes [C] vs. Germaine de Randamie [1]

Amanda Nunes has the opportunity to further cement her status as the women’s MMA GOAT when she defends her bantamweight belt for the fifth time against another former UFC champion. ‘The Iron Lady’ – Germaine de Randamie is the challenger this time around, with the Dutch Muay Thai champion insistent on making it a 135lbs fight despite her history at featherweight. Her length and striking prowess should pose problems for Nunes, but the ‘Lioness’ own power punching will put the champ in good stead. Coming off incredible KO victories over Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm, Nunes should be confident of repeating the feat against another striker who matches her physically.

Prediction: Nunes by T/KO

BANTAMWEIGHT | Marlon Moraes [1] vs. Jose Aldo [3/FW]

Long-time WEC/UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo makes the cut down to 135lbs to face fellow Brazilian powerhouse Marlon Moraes. With the bantamweight division looking good at the top end but being held up by double-champ Henry Cejudo, this bout could prove vital in deciding the likelihood of either fighter getting another shot at UFC gold. While Moraes fell short in his recent shot at the belt, and Aldo is coming in off a loss to Volkanovski, so made the unconventional move down a division for a fresh start. His knockout capabilities are undeniable, but it will be interesting to see if he loses a step, or gains two with the extra weight cut. Moraes is just as ‘Magic’ on the feet with his explosive kicks, but will have to make up for a slight height and reach disadvantage. These two are essentially very similar fighters, which could bode for fireworks on the feet, or a surprise move to the ground.

Prediction: Moraes by T/KO

BANTAMWEIGHT | Petr Yan [4] vs. Urijah Faber [12]

Petr Yan will look to put his name in lights and take out a bantamweight legend in Urijah Faber when the two meet to kick off the main card. Yan has enjoyed an impressive rise in the UFC, remaining unbeaten across five fights and looking very good in each. A win here could put him right up in the number one contender spot, but he will have to do it in style given the following fight. Faber needs no introduction, and could also put himself in the title picture with another highlight reel win here. Both effective pressure fighters but in different disciplines, it could well be a matchup between the future, and the past of the bantamweight division.

Prediction: Yan by decision


WELTERWEIGHT | Geoff Neal [14] vs. Mike Perry

Tuesday Night Contender Series alum Geoff Neal takes on fan favourite Mike Perry in a bout that is fitting for the main preliminary card slot. Having fought to decision just once in four UFC fights, Neal is on a tear and finds himself ranked in the stacked welterweight division. Perry, a man with equally heavy hands, has been there but comes in having won just two of his last six bouts. Perry is afraid of no one and only needs one strike to land, but Neal is already well equipped in dealing with dangerous opponents.

Prediction: Neal by T/KO

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Ketlen Vieira [2] vs. Irene Aldana [10]

Undefeated prospect Ketlen Vieira takes on Irene Aldana in a fight which could propel either fighter right into championship calculations. At 10-0 and number two in the rankings, we finally get to catch another glimpse of Vieira after a 20-month layoff. Having beaten a couple of MMA vets and with a rounded game, Vieira would be watching the bantamweight title fight keenly. But Aldana stands in her way, not to be overlooked after looking sharp in her last outing. With either fighter boasting impressive wins both on the feet and ground, expect the unexpected.

Prediction: Vieira by submission

MIDDLEWEIGHT | Ian Heinisch [10] vs. Omari Akhmedov [14]

Omari Akhmedov will be hoping to continue his climb up the middleweight rankings when he faces Ian Heinisch, with a third win for the calendar year up for grabs. Undefeated in his last five fights and sharp upon his return to middleweight, Akhmedov is an accomplished grappler. Tuesday Night Contender Series alum Heinisch was enjoying a similar run before he ran into Derek Brunson, and should look to keep this fight on the feet with his superior boxing skills.

Prediction: Akhmedov by decision

WELTERWEIGHT | Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders

A fight between two MMA veterans is set to open the prelims, with Matt Brown making his UFC return against Ben Saunders. A former contender and one of the baddest men to ever do it, Brown has not fought since retiring in 2017, but has regained the hunger and will look to hand Saunders a fourth-consecutive defeat. A loss either way could spell the end for either fighter.

Prediction: Brown by decision


FEATHERWEIGHT | Chase Hooper vs. Daniel Teymur

Prediction: Teymur by T/KO

FLYWEIGHT | Brandon Moreno [5] vs. Kai Kara-France [6]

Prediction: Kara-France by decision

W. FLYWEIGHT | Jessica Eye [2] vs. Viviane Araujo[5]

Prediction: Araujo by T/KO

MIDDLEWEIGHT | Punahele Soriano vs. Oskar Piechota

Prediction: Piechota by decision

Firework fight: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
Under the radar: Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France

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