- Date & Location: Saturday Sept. 19 @UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV.
- Odds: Colby Covington (-360) vs. Tyron Woodley (+270) via Bovada
- Prediction: Covington by decision
The UFC is once again at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. This week’s event, UFC on ESPN+ 36, features a main event bout between two former UFC champions. Ex-interim welterweight champ Colby Covington faces former 170-pound kingpin Tyron Woodley in the night’s headlining bout.
Covington, who is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the official UFC welterweight rankings, is coming off a loss to current champion Kamaru Usman. Woodley, who checks in at No. 5 in the rankings. Woodley is on the first two-fight losing skid of his career. He has losses against Usman and Gilbert Burns in his past two outings.
COVINGTON vs. WOODLEY ODDS
|Fighter||Odds (via Bovada)|
COVINGTON vs. WOODLEY PREDICTION & PICK
Covington and Woodley were teammates at one time at American Top Team. Those days are long gone. Today, the two welterweights are bitter rivals. This fight has been talked about for several years and although it would have been a more interesting matchup a few years ago, the pairing should elicit a fair amount of interest in 2020.
Woodley is not the same fighter he was when this fight was first spoken about. He was once one of the more feared fighters in the welterweight division. The ex-champ is far less aggressive these days. The stalking, powerful Woodley who crushed Robbie Lawler to win the UFC title in 2016 has been replaced by a safe fighter who looks for an opening to land a perfect strike.
Before his loss to Usman, Covington was on a seven-fight winning streak. During that run he didn’t have many finishes, but he didn’t need stoppages to get his hand raised. Covington’s pace and ability to keep busy on the mat have served him well.
This is a bad matchup for the 2020 version of Woodley and if that Woodley shows up for this scrap it will be a long night for the former champ.
Pick: Covington (-360)
BETTING VALUE WITH COVINGTON
Covington has not scored a knockout win since 2016 and he doesn’t have a submission victory since that same year. Woodley has one knockout loss and zero submission setbacks. A stoppage win for Covington is extremely unlikely in this matchup.
Can Woodley win by knockout? That’s the big question in this bout.
Woodley has not scored a knockout win since he stopped Lawler. Before that he had six KO victories. If the early version of Woodley shows up, a knockout is not out of the question. He still packs a lot of muscle and power into his 38-year-old frame and he has promised to let his hands go during this bout. However, he hasn’t done that for a while. In his bout with Burns, Woodley landed 28 significant strikes on 64 attempts over 25 minutes.
I think Woodley’s pledge to throw his hands against Covington is empty.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Covington has the edge in output and takedowns in this matchup and that is what this fight will hinge upon. If Covington can get the fight to the mat, he will pepper Woodley with small strikes designed to keep his opponent from getting to his feet and to keep the referee from standing the fight up.
Damage on the ground is not what Covington relies on, volume striking is his game. Covington took Lawler down 10 times and landed 201 of 541 strikes during their 2019 matchup. He averages 4.17 significant strikes landed per minute. As for takedowns, Covington’s average is 4.91 per 15 minutes of action with a 51 percent takedown accuracy rate.
Woodley absorbs more significant strikes than he lands. That will be a problem against Covington. The takedown competition will be interesting as Woodley has a takedown defense of 90 percent. If Woodley uses his power, he will have a tremendous advantage over Covington in that department.
FIGHT STATS: COVINGTON vs. WOODLEY
|Colby Covington||Category||Tyron Woodley|
|4.17||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||2.38|
|3.02||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.65|
|4.91||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.11|
|0.2||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.4|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The rankings indicate that the winner of this bout could be in line for a title shot, but with each of these men having a recent loss to Usman, that does not seem as if it will be a likely outcome.
For Woodley, this bout is a chance for him to show that he is still e legitimate threat in the welterweight division. Woodley needs to return to his old form and make a statement.
With a victory Covington will hold his spot in the rankings, but he’ll need at least one more win to be considered for a title shot. A loss will hurt his stock, but at 32, Covington has time to rebound from defeat — Woodley does not.