UFC Fight Night 178: Covington vs Woodley Predictions & Results

Following a bizarre press conference in which Tyron Woodley answered every question with “Black Lives Matter”, MAGA enthusiast Colby Covington will clash with the Rap God Woodley in a grudge match

UFC Fight Night 178: Covington vs Woodley Predictions & Results

Saturday’s main card is a tasty affair. Featuring a couple veterans facing off against rowdy up and comers, long time fan-favourites could finally see themselves forced into their retirement homes. Moreover, the main event is a must-win fight for both fighters. Tyron Woodley finds himself in the most precarious position of his career. Openly disrespected by UFC head honcho, Dana White, Woodley survived in the UFC by being champion and decisively beating any opposition thrown at him. The past two fights against Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns have somewhat exposed the stylistic limitations of the fighter turned rapper. Relying far too heavily on a powerful right hand, Woodley’s inactivity and tendency to walk himself onto the cage has meant disaster against recent grapple-heavy foes.

Woodley’s misfortunes may continue on Saturday, as he faces off with perhaps the most exhaustive grappler in the Welterweight division, Colby Covington. Roundly hated by the majority of the MMA world, fans and fighters alike, Covington has thrived off of the negative energy as a foundation for his persona. Willing to sacrifice his reputation to act the ‘heel’ of the company, it is no surprise that Covington has regularly received top-ten opponents and a title shot off the back of his promotional efforts. That is, if you don’t consider his fantastic grappling credentials either. Only out-muscled by the far larger (and juicier), Kamaru Usman, Covington is lethal when on top of an opponent, and some may see the Woodley fight as a prime match-up for Covington. Woodley’s right hand is a great leveller, however, and it wasn’t long ago that Woodley had ended the hype train of one Darren Till.

Swedish Kha-big also returns for his third UFC bout of 2020, facing off against a veteran grappler Gerald Meerschaert. In what is perhaps the most frustrating practice of combat sports, Chimaev is already being lined up to fight another opponent after Saturday night. Double booking fighters is disrespectful to their first opponent and a massive gamble. A risk when your prospect is facing his first UFC calibre test. It’s time to see if Kha-big is the real deal.

Johnny Walker dislocates shoulder doing the worm after win | UFC 235 -  YouTube
Johnny Walker prepares to perform his worm celebration after flying knee-ing Misha Cirkunov back in March 2019, Walker would dislocate his shoulder just seconds later whilst celebrating. UFC 235, 3 March 2019.

Main Event

Welterweight (170)

Colby Covington (15-2) vs Tyron Woodley (19-5-1)

Colby Covington works at a ferocious pace, and as such, forces his opponents to keep up or risk themselves being drowned out. Throwing punches in combinations, Colby doesn’t look for the killswitch with strikes but instead uses his barrages to push his opponents against the cage. Once there, Covington can shoot his single leg takedowns at will, or clinch his opponent and wear them down with body strikes. Against Robbie Lawler, the sheer volume of strikes that Covington threw effectively left Lawler playing a never-ending waiting game for the counter strike. Woodley will struggle to find the ‘ideal’ moment to throw his patented right hand. Even considering the defensive shortcomings of Covington and his southpaw stance, Woodley has recently been hesitant to throw his right. More worrying, Woodley was content to eat strikes against the fence from Usman and Burns. Sure, both are more powerful than Covington, but Covington’s unrelenting pressure will wane on Woodley all the same.

It is hard being a Tyron Woodley fan at times. At one point in his career, it was possible to place him near the upper echelons of the P4P rankings. Now, Woodley looks a shadow of his former self. At 38 years old, and with a style that favours youth as it rests upon sharp counter-punching, Woodley has been written off by many before this fight has taken place. Yet there are signs of hope. Against Burns, Woodley looked to land front foot pressure before he was dazed by a Burns power shot in the first round that he never really recovered from. There was a worrying lack of inactivity, and a level of submission, as he passively waited his way through the five rounds never really looking for a way to win. This inactivity can largely be attributed to a mixture of recovery and a stellar Burns performance in which he didn’t put a foot wrong.

Power is the last thing to leave a fighter, or at least, that’s how the saying goes. Covington is defensively leaky, and has been tagged frequently before. Disregarding the freak Usman fight, where both men apparently decided to scrap it out on the feet, Covington has still taken damage from strikers less handy than Woodley i.e. RDA. Furthermore, Woodley is a tough fighter to take to the ground. As a massive welterweight, Woodley should be able to keep the fight off the mat for the early rounds at least, and has the opportunity to really test the chin of Covington.

Predicted Result: Covington Decision

Woodley could turn back the clocks and deliver a stunning TKO victory to place himself back into title contention. The sweltering pace and grappling chops of Covington should trump the limited gas tank and mental problems that Woodley’s seems to be suffering.

Colby Covington baits the terrifying figure of Robbie Lawler, a foolish act for those unable to grind out an unrelenting five-round pace.

Result: Covington def. Woodley // TKO (rib injury) Round 5 1:19

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Co-Main Event

Welterweight (170)

Donald Cerrone (36-15) vs Niko Price (14-4)

Put some respek on Cowboy’s name. Since the rather one-sided McGregor defeat, Cerrone’s stock has fallen immensely in casuals eyes. If you were to watch the Anthony Pettis decision loss, you would have realised Cowboy is still a relevant fighter around the top-fifteen periphery. Arguably beating Pettis, Cerrone utilised his horrendously underrated grappling to coast through troubling periods while also laying down his body kick-head kick combinations. That being said, Cerrone has endured a HUGE amount of damage throughout his career, unaided by his brave yet reckless decision to jump into last-minute fights. Cerrone enters this fight after four losses in the past year, with three being TKO’s to hard-hitting elite (Gaethje, Ferguson, McGregor).

All that said, Niko Price is several levels below the competition that Cerrone has become accustomed to fighting. The last time the UFC tried to feed Cerrone to a prospect, it backfired massively. Cerrone tore up Mike Perry, Alexander Hernandez and Al Iaquinta back to back within seven months. Price is a big gangly skelly-boy, who operates on a kill or be killed basis. With an upkick finish of James Vick and a Hail Mary counter hook on Tim Means, Price’s owns some of the most unique UFC finishes. In a similar vein, Price’s career follows a strange trajectory. Stopped twice against Vincent Luque, Price has routinely failed to make the next step up in competition. A thoroughly worn Cerrone represents Price’s best shot at climbing the rankings and fueling his rise. Defensively, Price uses a herky-jerky head movement which Cerrone will be able to blast through after a couple uncomfortable minutes. Offensively, Price delivers bombs from all angles and could easily overwhelm Cerrone in the first.

Predicted Result: Cerrone TKO Round 3

Cerrone is the far more technical fighter, and Price’s inability to sustain calculated offensive pressure will allow Cerrone’s questionable chin to escape the hectic early-round violence. Price’s chin isn’t stellar either. A banger of a fight!

Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone Purse Payouts Revealed Ahead of UFC 246 |  Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
Donald Cerrone lays his eyes on the former Featherweight and Lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, in a fight that at least gave the company man a pay day (undisclosed – under the table).

Result: Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Main Card

Middleweight (185)

Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs Gerald Meerschaert (31-13)

Khamzat Chimaev is finally tasting his first haters that come with unprecedented success. Casuals ate up the smeshing clinics that Chimaev laid out on his highly favourable match-ups, yet recently have complained of his vocal promotional style. Chimaev is doing everything right in regards to promoting himself. Calling out big-name fighters and ensuring his own brand is firmly out there – it is hard to criticise a man for earning his bread. Chimaev does face a massive litmus paper test on Saturday, however. John Phillips is a very poor grappler and Rhys McKee was a last-minute replacement. Meerschaert is proven UFC calibre and has submitted many prospects who have looked past him.

Chimaev seems a different cut above the usual prospect, however. Aside from frequently transitioning the fight to the mat via reckless takedown, Chimaev has an incredibly dominant top game. Fine use of wrist control, and crushing ground and pound which incorporates elbows, Chimaev has so far looked faultless when on top. Striking wise, Chimaev throws explosive and varied shots, but we have not yet seen if he can tussle for extended periods on the feet. Meerschaert will not be the man to test this, however. A grappler through and through, Meerschaert has a solid submission game but he will likely struggle to sweep into more advantageous positions. Shooting and failing on a submission attempt could spell the end for Meerschaert, as Chimaev has the power to punish any mistakes on the mat.

Predicted Result: Chimaev TKO Round 2

Chimaev is still untested in several aspects, yet a dominant win over a solid grappler will quieten some of the haters.

Result: Chimaev def. Meerschaert // KO (punch) Round 1 0:17

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Light Heavyweight (205)

Johnny Walker (17-5) vs Ryan Spann (18-5)

Johnny Walker is back, baby! It was only a year ago that the crazy, all-action striker was destined to beat Jon Jones in a title fight. Reality sank in after Corey Anderson out-boxed him and Nikita Krylov lay on top of him for fifteen minutes. In the light heavyweight division, you’re only three half-decent wins away from the top-five, however. Walker has a brutal clinch game which incorporates hellbows (i.e. murdering Khalil Rountree) yet he often favours his flair striking which incorportaes spinning backfists, superman punches and capoeira kicks. Walker severely struggled to get off of his back against Krylov and is a real weak point that Ryan Spann should be targeting from the get-go.

Superman Spann is a limited but dogged fighter who has bludgeoned his way through the Light Heavyweight division. A brutal uppercut finish over the corpse of Antonio Nogueira and a guillotine choke over Devin Clark indicated that Spann was an improving fighter. Enter Smilin’ Sam Alvey. Spann almost punched himself out against Alvey, and came very close to being slept on several occasions. Alvey is a worn, one-dimensional fighter, and it stinks up your reputation to get dragged down into a sloppy war with such a fighter. Failing to secure a takedown may be Spann’s downfall against Walker, a fighter who he must keep on the mat at all costs. Spann has better striking fundamentals but he will be unable to survive an extended onslaught of Walker’s power.

Predicted Result: Walker TKO Round 1

I expect fireworks and ridiculousness, please bring me back the hype train Walker.

Result: Walker def. Spann // KO (elbows and punches) Round 1 2:43

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️


Women’s Strawweight (115)

Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs Randa Markos (10-8-1)

The first real battle for Dern will be to make weight. In the octagon, Dern needs to establish her judo game early otherwise her poor striking defence is very exploitable. Luckily for Dern, Markos is not a competent striker. When this fight eventually hits the mat, Dern will be able to out-muscle her opponent and look for a submission. Essentially: both women are grapplers, this fight will end up on the ground, Dern has the strength and top game advantage, Markos has decent submission defence.

Predicted Result: Dern Decision

Not a massive fan of this match-up entertainment wise. Dern to spend most of the time searching for futile submissions.

Result: Dern def. Markos // Submission (armbar) Round 1 3:44

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Middleweight (185)

Kevin Holland (18-5) vs Darren Stewart (8-5)

Oiiii oiiii, cheeky little banger to kick off the main card. Kevin Holland is a relentless trash talker, but he can back it up with fabulous outside boxing and genuine power. Utterly dismantling the tank that is Joaquin Buckley in his last fight (granted, a last minute replacement), Holland is on a quick turnaround. In the clinch, where Stewart excels, Holland uses his massive frame to harass his opponent and land mean strikes. Durable as well, Holland holds the physical and technical advantages in this match-up.

Darren Stewart is a workmanlike fighter, happy to grind away at an opponent to secure a decision. This is the exact game plan necessary to beat Kevin Holland. At a disadvantage in the striking department, Stewart will have to throw bombs and bull rush his way into the clinch to create a more level playing field. Once in the clinch, Stewart cannot let Holland off the hook. Applying constant pressure and making the fight ugly will drain on Holland and swing the judges.

Predicted Result: Stewart Decision

Holland is the favourite and rightly so. The far better technical fighter, Holland also possesses all the tools necessary to negate the best parts of Stewart’s game. Unfortunately, Holland can tend to coast and Stewart is a fighter who will grind from start to finish.

Result: Holland def. Stewart // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Preliminary Card

Flyweight (125)

Jordan Espinoza (15-7) vs David Dvořák (18-3)

Jordan Espinoza’s game is rounded to a calamitous fault. Happy to engage in whatever direction the opponent takes the fight, Espinoza follows blindly into his opponent’s strengths. It’s a shame as Espinoza has shown crisp boxing at times with an aptitude for wrestling, but he has not shown the maturity to dictate a fight’s proceedings yet.

Dvořák is a clinch first fighter. Happy enough to tussle on the ground, Dvořák really shines when striking inside the clinch. Varying his strikes, Dvořák uses his striking to mask later takedowns and keep an opponent guessing.

Predicted Result: Dvořák Decision

Espinoza’s willingness to be led around will play right into the hands of the more mature Dvořák.

Result: Dvořák def. Espinoza // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Feathweight (145)

Mirsad Bektić (13-3) vs Damon Jackson (17-3-1)

It wasn’t long ago that Mirsad Bektić was being touted as the next Featherweight striking prodigy. Nuked by Josh Emmett in the first and dropping a razor thin decision to Dan Ige, Bektić finds himself on a two fight slide. Bektić needs to fall back on his powerful top game and grind out rounds with his strong ground and pound. That isn’t to say Bektić can’t win this on the feet, but it’s a risk that Bektić can ill afford for his career.

Bektić will need to be careful on the ground, however, as Damon Jackson is a savvy submission artist. A string of rear-naked chokes in the feeder league, LFA, Jackson has mopped up the regional fighters on the ground. On the feet, Jackson is vulnerable to power strikes and Bektić carries big power – not a great combination for Jackson.

Predicted Result: Bektić Decision

Bektić should light up Jackson on the feet and have the TDD skills to out-muscle Jackson’s attempts. Jackson’s submission threat is largely from the top, so Bektić should not avoid engaging on the ground if Jackson is on his back.

Result: Jackson def. Bektić // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 3 1:21

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Women’s Flyweight (125)

Mayra Bueno Silva (6-1) vs Mara Romero Borella (12-8)

Marya Bueno Silva has quite the mouthful of a name. She is also quite the handful of a fighter. Pressure first, Silva uses her Muay Thai background to bully opponents on the feet and consistently throws powerful shots with bad intentions. Despite having finished only one fighter early in her career via strikes, Silva’s striking wears down her opponents to create an eventual submission.

Italian, Mara Borella, is on a three fight slide against some very average opposition. A first round armbar loss to Courtney Casey in her last fight is perhaps the low point for the usually cautious fighter. After several fights of patiently waiting to counterpunch, Borella recklessly entered Casey’s guard in the first round and was easily submitted. Borella is under serious pressure to perform, and it will be extremely difficult to fight cautious against the pressure of Silva.

Predicted Result: Silva Decision

Borella is usually a tough cookie, disregarding the Casey slip-up, but the pace of Silva should sweep the scorecards.

Result: Silva def. Borella // Submission (armbar) Round 1 2:29

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Woman’s Bantamweight (135)

Sarah Alpar (9-4) vs Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6)

A terrible fight for all those involved. Jessica Rose-Clark was at one point a decent looking kickboxer, but her refusal to mask her kicks behind any form of jab has meant she is counter punched to oblivion. Sarah Alpar on the other hand, is an even more limited fighter, who relies on aggression and overwhelming opponents. The sad part for viewers, is that neither lady is particularly weak chinned.

Predicted Result: Jessica Rose-Clark Decision

Whoever wins this will struggle with their next step in competition anyway.

Result: Rose-Clark def. Alpar // TKO (punch and knee) Round 3 4:21

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Featherweight (145)

Darrick Minner (24-11) vs T.J. Laramie (12-3)

Darrick Minner loves a submission doesn’t he! Twenty-one of his twenty-four wins have come by way of submission, however many have been at the regional level. Favouring the guillotine choke, it is a less common submission at the UFC level as the quality of submission defence is far superior.

T. J. Laramie is not yet proven UFC level. But the 22 year old is going to try to prove he is on Saturday night. A powerful wrestler, Laramie is a far superior technical grappler and striker. If Laramie can withstand the early storm by Minner, Laramie will be able to expose the apparent skill gap in rounds two and three.

Predicted Result: Laramie TKO Round 3

Minner is not an exceptional athlete, and will gas himself out early searching for the submission. Laramie gets to showcase his skills to a wider audience.

Result: Minner def. Laramie // Submission (guillotine choke) Round 1 0:52

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌


Bantamweight (135)

Randy Costa (5-1) vs Journey Newson (9-2)

Randy Costa wins in the first round by stoppage, or he loses. The math is that simple. A kickboxing style, Costa floods his opponents with strikes and leaves defence at the wayside. An entertaining style to be sure, but it is unclear as to the other credentials of Costa. A fun fighter to keep an eye on though, regardless.

Journey Newson is a grappler who can punch a little too. Perhaps in best interests to leave his striking for another fight, Newson has the grappling chops to take Costa into deep waters and submit him.

Predicted Result: Costa TKO Round 1

Newson has only been stopped once before, but Costa’s unnatural striking and freaky power should prove the ultimate divider.

Result: Costa def. Newson // KO (head kick) Round 1 0:41

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️


Bantamweight (135)

Andre Ewell (16-6) vs Irwin Rivera (10-5)

The return of the little Mexican pocket rocket, Irwin Rivera, after his three round helter skelter with Voldemort, Ali AlQaisi. AlQaisi probably should have left the octagon with the W that night, but Rivera showed positive signs with successful defensive scrambling and tasty body kicks. I have not been incredibly impressed by his striking defence or his power but for now, Rivera’s exciting action-first style is more than justifiable for his UFC contract.

Andre Ewell is a fabulous outside striker who utilises his 75” reach to keep opponents sweet from afar. Lacking power, Ewell engages in volume striking and has kept several UFC opponents sweet (including former champ and P4P great, Renan Barão). On the mat, Ewell is a sheep ready for the slaughter.

Predicted Result: Ewell Decision

Ewell has the footwork and TDD to keep this fight off the ground, whilst his boxing will regularly land on the defensively unaware Rivera. Expect Ewell to come under fire though!

Result: Ewell def. Rivera // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️


Flyweight (125)

Tyson Nam (19-11-1) vs Jerome Rivera (10-2)

Tyson Nam finds himself pretty disrespectfully at the bottom of the undercard. Coming off a first round whooping of last minute call up, Zarrukh Adashev, Nam will be looking to hurdle on with his career. Nam is a long range fighter who is awfully patient, but when he lands, there is a whole lotta power. Decision losses are part and parcel with Nam’s style due to inactivity, but his power and timing are legitimate.

Former Dana White’s Contender Series competitor, Jimmie Rivera, enters Saturday as a talented grappler who hasn’t quite found his striking feet yet. Whilst he loves a kick, the former flyweight has his work cut out for him. Outclassed in the striking department, Rivera hasn’t shown the wrestling skill necessary to takedown the granite frame of Nam.

Predicted Result: Nam TKO Round 3

Rivera is a tough kid but he will take some punishment later on when Nam has established the range for the fight.

Result: Nam def. Rivera // TKO (punches) Round 2 0:34

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌


Prediction Accuracy

UFC Fight Night 178: Covington vs Woodley

Winner: 10/14

Method: 4/14

Round: 5/14

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 108/175

Method: 83/175

Round: 73/175

Takeaway comments: Chimaev’s hype train has no brakes at this point.


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