The UFC heads to New Jersey this week for another interesting instalment of the UFC on ESPN series. Colby Covington vs Robbie Lawler headlines the card, an intriguing bout that could shake up the Welterweight division. The Co-Main also looks to be a cracker, pitting Lightweight veterans Jim Miller and Clay Guida against each other. We’ll preview both of these fights, providing our best bets in the process.
The outspoken American enters this contest in excellent form, winning 6 straight bouts to move to 14-1 for his career. Consecutive wins over Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos gave him the interim Welterweight belt, which he was later stripped of. He is known primarily for his excellent wrestling ability, earning 5 submission victories with his BJJ prowess. If he can do the business here, I think Covington is next in line for a Welterweight title shot.
Having once been one of the most feared men in the UFC, Robbie Lawler just hasn’t been the same fighter of late. He first won the Welterweight title against Jonny Hendricks in 2014, managing epic defences against both Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald. His decline started with his title loss to Tyron Woodley in 2016, where he has since been defeated by dos Anjos and Ben Askren. Known primarily for his elite power, 20 of Robbie’s 28 career MMA wins have come via knockout.
Prediction: Covington to Win $1.45
This matchup looks eerily similar to Robbie’s last fight against Ben Askren, where he was dominated and finished in the first round. Now 37 years of age, Robbie doesn’t appear to pack the same punch that once made him elite. Covington also has to enter this fight with sky-high confidence and motivation given recent events. I just don’t think Robbie has any answer for Covington’s elite wrestling ability, which should ultimately prove the difference here.
The veteran Lightweight has had a largely solid career to date, going 30-13-1 overall and competing in the UFC for 11 years. He has appeared to decline of late, going 6-9 in his last 15 bouts, starting in 2014. He is a Jiu-Jitsu and ground game specialist first and foremost, managing 16 career wins via submission. A first round submission over Jason Gonzales in April means he should be confident entering this matchup.
A few months away from 38 years of age, Guida is now 35-18 for his MMA career. Having done most of his damage early, the Lightweight veteran has gone a pedestrian 6-6 since 2011. He also does most of his damage on the ground, managing an impressive 13 submission victories so far. His win over BJ Penn in Brazil this past May show he still has something left in the tank.
Prediction: Miller to Win $1.60
At this point in their careers, I just think Miller is the better of these two fighters. I think he has a more advanced ground game and is definitely the better striker. His athleticism and endurance should allow him to control this fight throughout and I’d expect a relatively routine victory here.