This weekend (Sat, August 3, 2019) at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, we get an incredible main event headlining the card.
A main event between former UFC welterweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and the former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby “Chaos” Covington. These are, perhaps, the best and most fitting nicknames you’ll ever see any fighter have, as Robbie Lawler is surely ruthless, and Colby Covington is one of the most chaotic fighters ever.
Lawler has been around forever and has fought many of the who’s who that the sport has had to offer over the course of his 18-plus years. It’s crazy to think he still has the drive after fighting in a cage for that long, and the career resurgence he’s had. Lawler was always a dangerous one-punch knockout artist, but since he’s returned to the UFC he’s really tightened his game up.
Then, in his last fight, he looked in the best shape of his life because of a new strength and conditioning program he’s taken part in. Will that, along with his set of skills, be enough to dethrone Colby Covington?
“Chaos” has only been around the public eye for about five years. He made his UFC debut the night that Michael Bisping fought Cung Le back in 2014, and quickly racked up three-straight wins with the UFC, improving his record to 8-0. One of these wins would come over crafty veteran Mike Pyle. Covington lost his next bout via submission (guillotine choke) in a fight he got injured in, and this would be his only defeat to date.
Since then, “Chaos” has gone 6-0 with two third-round finishes and four dominant unanimous decision victories. What exactly does that tell us? He’s a grinder. Covington grinds on his opponents with a pace that no one has been able to match with high-level wrestling and pretty decent striking.
Lawler uses more footwork than he used to, but still plants his feet and throws bombs, and has some of the most vicious power we’ve ever seen at any weight class. 20 of Lawler’s 28 wins are knockouts. It was at a point before that 20 of his 26 wins were knockouts, and before that 19 of his 23 wins were knockouts. He’s just tightened up his striking, become a little more technical, and won a couple of decisions since then.
“Ruthless” also has some of the best wrestling defense in the entire sport. He’s one of the first really effective sprawl ‘n’ brawlers that MMA had to offer. Covington is an incredible wrestler. He’s a 2007 Junior College National Champion and All-American, he was a state champion as a senior in high school, a 2010 and 2011 Pac-10 Conference Champion, and an NCAA Division I All-American in 2011.
“Chaos” has a clear path to victory, and it’s assumed that this fight will be no different. He will try and use his striking, which is his own style of Muay Thai, to get into range with his opponent’s back close to the cage, and start his wrestling game from there. That’s generally what Covington does, strike to get into range in order to get, or try for, a takedown.
In order for Lawler to win this fight, he’ll have to keep his feet moving and never get caught motionless. Covington will have to keep the pressure and try to shut Lawler’s offense down so he doesn’t get cracked with a bomb, and so he scores more than his opponent on the judges’ scorecards.
A fight that makes sense to mention is each of their fights with Rafael dos Anjos. Covington was able to out-pace the former UFC lightweight champion, and dos Anjos was able to out-pace Lawler, both in five-round fights. MMA math doesn’t work, of course, this is its own fight. But it’s an interesting fact to look at.
Will Covington be able to out-pace Lawler? It’ll be hard to finish “Ruthless,” and he’s been known to have stronger fifth rounds than really anyone.
Who takes this matchup between two of welterweight division’s best?