UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal Predictions

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UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal Predictions & Results

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Friends turned lovers turned enemies. A grudge match that has felt more manufactured than a stray piece of plastic in China, whether you buy into the bad blood or not, this is still a cracker between two top welterweights. We get a Greg Hardy circus show on the main card too!

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Boom Boom Pow | UFC 272 Predictions
Boom Boom Pow | UFC 272 Predictions

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UFC 272 Predictions: Main Event

Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal

Welterweight (170)

Colby Covington (16-3)

Cardio kills. Colby’s everlasting gas tank is a stylistic nightmare for Jorge Masvidal. Over five rounds, it is difficult to see Masvidal keeping himself on the feet. While failing to keep yourself standing against Kamaru Usman is a given, being out-wrestled by Demian Maia is far more damning. Now, there is the figure from Covington’s rematch with Usman that stinks out a lot of discussions – “0/11 takedowns”. Of the eleven attempted takedowns, Covington only committed to a few. The takedowns instead offered a different read on the feet for Usman to adapt to.

Since switching over to MMA Masters, Covington hasn’t shown the sort of development on the feet that was expected. There were few adjustments in the stand-up between the first and second Usman title fights. Chaos always seems to default back into high volume, pressure boxing to deny opponents space to operate. Colby’s more patient approach in the first two rounds of the rematch more strongly indicated a bruised fighter unwilling to have their jaw broken again. The last time Covington faced a strong striker (not past their sell-by date), would be RDA back in 2018 – will Masvidal’s firepower force another patient Colby gameplan?

Jorge Masvidal (35-15)

On the one hand, I really like watching Masvidal fight. On the other, his persona (much like Colby’s) has grown tiresome after failing to back up his words. Another Usman victim, Masvidal returns to the octagon a year after his crushing second-round knockout loss to the champion. While many have written off Masvidal in this stylistic nightmare, there are still reasons to believe that Gamebred can pull off another shocker.

Masvidal is exceptional at punishing kicks. Colby regularly weaves in a sloppy head kick within his boxing combinations. Masvidal has regularly shown the ability to adapt early in fights (Darren Till, Donald Cerrone) and has the speed to close the distance and punish Covington’s telegraphed kicks. Masvidal is also a relatively difficult customer to put on his butt. Granted, the Floridian can be pinned against a cage (the area where Colby excels), but on the mat, Masvidal is a strong grappler. The issue lies in a lack of urgency from Masvidal to dominate the centre of the octagon.

Predicted Result: Covington Decision

Over five rounds, it is difficult to see Masvidal keeping himself on the feet, or more importantly, keeping his back off the cage. With an everlasting gas tank, there is little reason to argue anything other than Colby racking up twenty-five minutes of control time. Masvidal may find occasional pockets of success, but this is a stylistic nightmare. Gamebred is exceptional at punishing kicks and still has the speed to close the distance on one of Colby’s telegraphed head kicks. Additionally, Masvidal is a stronger grappler with surprisingly solid TDD, but his lack of urgency to keep himself off the cage will be his undoing.

Result: Covington def. Masvidal // Decision (UD – 49-46, 50-45, 50-44)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Bros turned foes | UFC 272 Predictions
Bros turned foes | UFC 272 Predictions

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UFC 272 Predictions: Co-Main Event

Rafael dos Anjos vs Renato Moicano

Catchweight (160)

Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13)

Just three days ago we could have got RDA vs Islam Makhachev, but an all-Brazilian affair is equally tasty. A far more favourable match-up, RDA may finally have the opportunity to show anything other than himself being wrestle-f**ked. Covington, Usman, and Chiesa were all very harsh stylistic opponents. Moicano feels far more like the archetype of fighter that RDA blasted through back in 2014-2015. Moicano flusters on the back-foot, with RDA’s educated pressure certain to draw Moicano into wild counters. Father Time is knocking on the door for such a heavily weathered veteran, but any signs of rapid degradation weren’t visible against Paul Felder.

Renato Moicano (16-4-1)

After being rudely and brutally stopped on his ascent up the Featherweight rankings by Jose Aldo, Moicano has flip-flopped around Lightweight since. While the Brazilian battered gatekeeper-in-the-making Alexander Hernandez, the Rafael Fiziev fight is far more telling. On the front foot, Moicano is a heavy hitter who can rack up long combinations. The bread and butter remain a litany of offensive submissions, but it is hard to see Moicano taking RDA down let alone subbing the vet. Sadly, Moicano’s wrestling is questionable, lacks any faith in his chin and cannot fight for the three rounds off the back-foot. Add in the late-notice call-up and the writing appears to be on the wall.

Predicted Result: RDA TKO Round 2

Just three days ago we could have got RDA vs Islam Makhachev, now, Dos Anjos faces a far more favourable match-up in Renato Moicano. Moicano is reminiscent of the type of fighter that RDA blasted through back in 2014-2015. Dos Anjos’ educated pressure on the feet will thoroughly expose Moicano’s lack of back-foot striking. While Moicano’s aggressive submissions would usually pose a threat, RDA is an impossible mountain. Add in Moicano’s questionable chin and the late-notice call-up and the result isn’t going to be pretty.

Result: dos Anjos def. Moicano // Decision (UD – 49-45, 49-44, 50-44)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Renato Moicano slapped Alexander Hernandez about with ease | UFC 272 Predictions
Renato Moicano slapped Alexander Hernandez about with ease | UFC 272 Predictions

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UFC 272 Predictions: Main Card

Edson Barboza vs Bryce Mitchell

Featherweight (145)

Edson Barboza (22-10)

Edson Barboza isn’t as washed up as many believe the Brazilian to be. It is tiresome to repeat, but the game plan to beat Barboza has been out for donkeys. Deny the Brazilian any space for his lethal kicks and back him onto the fence – congrats, you’ve stopped yourself from being added to his glittering highlight reel. Barboza has been man-handled on the mat before, but only by the very best. The veteran is a slippery customer to take down, but it is expected that Mitchell’s grappling advantage will be too steep if it hits the mat.

Bryce Mitchell (14-0)

Can Mitchell hit clean takedowns on an ageing Barboza? The grappling advantage is clear, but the Brazilian has a solid first layer of defensive wrestling. On the feet, Mitchell is an underrated kickboxer and is more than capable of pressing Barboza. Can Mitchell hang with Barboza on the feet for extended periods, however? Absolutely not, but Thug Nasty’s chin has held its own as he climbs through Featherweight. Barboza’s power is a great equaliser, and there is always the potential that a brash, immature Mitchell experiences a slither of success on the feet and opts to pursue it.

Predicted Result: Mitchell Decision

Twilight Edson Barboza has been an exceptionally tricky customer to predict. Whenever it appears that Barboza has athletically regressed, he delivers an arse-whooping (Dan Hooker, Makwan Amirkhani). On the feet, Mitchell is an underrated kickboxer and is capable of pursuing the timeless ‘press Barboza to the cage’. Ideally, Mitchell will want to make his clear grappling advantage show, but Barboza is a slippery customer. Barboza by brutal knockout or Mitchell to get creative on the mat.

Result: Mitchell def. Barboza // Decision (UD – 30-27, 30-26, 30-25)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Kevin Holland vs Alex Oliveira

Middleweight (170)

Kevin Holland (21-7)

At the respective stages of their career, Kevin Holland has the upper hand despite the stylistic difficulties. Oliveira should be Holland’s kryptonite, a powerful, long plus athlete who is capable of tearing apart opponents in the clinch. Kyle Daukaus, a humble athlete at best, left Holland uncomfortable on the feet before an unfortunate head clash ended the affair. By virtue of Oliveira’s non-existent gas tank, Holland will take over the fight by the second round.

Alex Oliveira (22-11-1)

Oliveira’s lack of confidence in his striking at range has been damning over the past few fights. A long career, hefty weight cuts and poor decisions outside the octagon seem to have eroded Cowboy’s durability. Holland’s freakish reach will frustrate Oliveira early and leave the Brazilian chasing takedowns – an area that Holland appears to have made slight improvements in.

Predicted Result: Holland TKO Round 3

At the respective stages of their career, Kevin Holland has the upper hand despite the stylistic difficulties. Oliveira should be Holland’s kryptonite, a powerful, long plus athlete who is capable of tearing apart opponents in the clinch. Oliveira’s waning durability, non-existent gas tank and lack of confidence at range will allow Holland to take over the fight outside of the first round.

Result: Holland def. Oliveira // TKO (elbows) Round 2 0:38

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

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Sergey Spivak vs Greg Hardy

Heavyweight (265)

Sergey Spivak (13-3)

I have a soft spot for Sergey Spivak as the ‘wrestling gatekeeper’ of the Heavyweight division. Spivak has made a career of beating guys with no wrestling or grappling chops, lest they carry one-shot power. If Spivak survives the first round then the Ukrainian has to be favoured for a submission, but Hardy’s hands landing first is the more likely call.

Greg Hardy (7-4)

The Hardy hype train seems to be dead and buried at the minute. Finished back to back by Marcin Tybura and Tai Tuivasa, Hardy has fought exactly like an amateur would be expected. Spivak is in another solar system in regards to wrestling, but Hardy carries nuclear power. There’s not much to break down. Hardy hits hard, can he hit hard enough and early enough before the takedown comes?

Predicted Result: Hardy TKO Round 1

There’s not much to break down. Hardy hits hard, can he hit hard enough and early enough before the takedown comes? Spivak has made a career of beating guys with no wrestling or grappling chops, lest they carry one-shot power. Hardy looked solid against Tuivasa before he ran into a hard counter. Pick’em.

Result: Spivak def. Hardy // TKO (punches) Round 1 2:16

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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UFC 272 Predictions: Preliminary Card

Jalin Turner vs Jamie Mullarkey

Lightweight (155)

Jalin Turner (11-5)

Jalin Turner has found himself on a crazy streak of form. Three finishes in three, Turner has emerged out of the Lightweight obscurity despite little fanfare currently revolving around the Tarantula. Scalps over Joshua Culibao and Brok Weaver don’t bring much to the table, but a first-round rear-naked choke of Uros Medic highlights Turner’s potential. A freak size at Lightweight, Turner uses his reach fairly well, but his powerful top game and incredible chin deserve most of the spotlight.

Jamie Mullarkey (14-4)

Well, Jamie Mullarkey has redeemed himself since his 0-2 start with the UFC. Athletically capped, Mullarkey makes up for his pitfall with a hard-nosed bruising style that is far smarter than most give credit. Unfortunately, Fares Ziam was able to out-work Mullarkey because of the Frenchman’s reach. Turner’s superior reach could well pose the same problem – has the Aussie developed enough to adapt?

Predicted Result: Turner Decision

A freak size at Lightweight, Turner uses his reach fairly well, but his powerful top game and incredible chin deserve most of the spotlight. Meanwhile, Jamie Mullarkey is primed to close the distance and pressure with a hard-nosed bruising style that is far smarter than most give credit. Worryingly, Mullarkey struggled to build striking layers against the superior reach of Fares Ziam. Turner will pose the same problem and it is difficult to see whether the Aussie has developed enough to adapt.

Result: Turner def. Mullarkey // TKO (punches) Round 2 0:46

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Marina Rodriguez vs Xiaonan Yan

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2)

The fight has a lot of ‘hardcore MMA fans extremely hyped. Not to be a hipster, but it feels like Rodriguez will tear through Yan’s inflated record. Rodriguez is vulnerable to takedowns, but as she proved against Mackenzie Dern, she is more than capable of surviving on the ground. Rodriguez will be able to keep herself standing long enough to make the striking differential very visible.

Xiaonan Yan (13-2)

Losing to Carla Esparza isn’t an embarrassment – The Cookie Monster has long been an elite figure at Strawweight. How Yan was brutally dispatched on the mat, however, was concerning. Yan’s offensive wrestling could pose Rodriguez a couple of issues, but not enough to comfortably back Yan to wrestle her way to a decision. In a toe-to-toe battle on the feet, Rodriguez possesses far better fundamentals of timing and distance.

Predicted Result: Rodriguez Decision

Yan’s offensive wrestling could pose Rodriguez a couple of issues, but not enough to comfortably back Yan to wrestle her way to a decision. As seen against Mackenzie Dern, Rodriguez is more than capable of surviving on the mat. In a toe-to-toe battle on the feet, Rodriguez possesses far better fundamentals of timing and distance. Expecting Yan’s inflated record to be torn apart.

Result: Rodriguez def. Xiaonan // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Nick Negumereanu vs Kennedy Nzechukwu

Light Heavyweight (205)

Nick Negumereanu (11-1)

Fair play to Negumereanu, he chased an exciting finish against Ike Villanueva. Nzechukwu is one of the slowest starters at Light Heavyweight, while Negumereanu likes to fly out of the blocks early. The Romanian carries enough power to punish Nzechukwu, a fighter who does appear devoid of confidence at times. Add in a granite chin (and zero defensive instincts) and Negu’s path to an ugly victory becomes clear.

Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-2)

Nzechukwu is one of the strangest fighters to watch in the UFC. It takes the Nigerian a round to get into fights, whether it’s a mental issue or not – it makes fights exciting. Aside from Da Un Jung delivering a hellacious finish, Nzechukwu often survives an awkward first round to eventually get ahead on the feet. Sadly, against Negumereanu who will not stop walking forward, Nzechukwu doesn’t possess a consistent counter game to catch the judge’s eyes.

Predicted Result: Negumereanu Decision

A real car crash of a fight between two of the worst at LHW. Aside from Da Un Jung delivering a hellacious finish, Nzechukwu often survives an awkward first round to eventually get ahead on the feet. Sadly, against Negumereanu who will not stop walking forward, Nzechukwu doesn’t possess a consistent counter game to catch the judge’s eyes.

Result: Negumereanu def. Nzechukwu // Decision (split – 27-29, 29-27, 29-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Maryna Moroz vs Mariya Agapova

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Maryna Moroz (10-3)

The real Women’s fight for connoisseurs, Moroz and Agapova is another grudge match between two former training partners who have been vocal in their distaste for each other. Moroz hasn’t entered the octagon for two years, but based on past fights, is a strong boxer who can dig deep and fight a consistent veteran fight. Whether Moroz can deal with Agapova’s freak athleticism is difficult to gauge, especially as the ring rust will be clear in the opening round.

Mariya Agapova (10-2)

After a humiliating loss to Shana Dobson, Agapova looked like a totally new fighter against Sabina Mazo. There are still the weird looping hooks and wild combinations at times, but there was also smart traps and counters that hurt Mazo frequently. There will always be question marks surrounding Agapova’s freak emotional state and potential gas tank issues, but I’m backing Agapova as the superior natural fighter.

Predicted Result: Agapova TKO Round 1

A very risky call favouring the less consistent fighter in a division not known for finishes. The reasoning, however, is based on the bad blood between the two former training partners. Much like any Agapova match-up, it feels like it is her fight to lose. Freak emotional states and gas tank troubles plague the Kazakh, but Agapova’s showing against Sabina Mazo was extremely impressive. The Demonslayer hits with a surprising pop and it was pleasing to see Agapova set up traps to counter Mazo.

Result: Moroz def. Agapova // Submission (arm-triangle choke) Round 2 3:27

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Umar Nurmagomedov vs Brian Kelleher

Bantamweight (135)

Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0)

Little Khabib, Umar is a strong wrestler but with a clear desire to chase heavy ground and pound. A pressure, chain-wrestler is designed to beat Kelleher. The veteran needs time to warm up in fights, making reads to set up his crafty counter-punches. Umar, instead, fires off an arsenal of kicks before immediately jumping into takedowns.

Brian Kelleher (24-12)

Despite all the world peace flag debacle, Kelleher is still one of the most loved veterans on the roster. A well-rounded, wily figure, Kelleher will struggle to buy the necessary time and space to make his reads. This will likely be a repeat of the Ricky Simon fight, especially considering Umar’s athletic edge in the affair.

Predicted Result: Nurmagomedov Decision

A pressure, chain-wrestler is designed to beat Kelleher. The veteran needs time to warm up in fights, making reads to set up his crafty counter-punches. Umar gives opponents no time to settle as he opens with his heavy kicks and searches for a takedown. This feels like a potential repeat of the Brian Kelleher vs Ricky Simon bout.

Result: Nurmagomedov def. Kelleher // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 3:15

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Tim Elliot vs Tagir Ulanbekov

Flyweigth (125)

Tim Elliot (17-12-1)

Tim Elliot always provides much watch entertainment in the octagon. Despite his disgusting record, Elliot looks far more composed on the feet since moving over to James Krause. Elliot still has the aggression in his locker, but he maturely boxed and wrestled Jordan Espinosa and Ryan Benoit. Against stronger opposition, such as Matheus Nicolau, however, Elliot lacks the experience or ability to impose himself over three rounds.

Tagir Ulanbekov (13-1)

Not many fighters could rival Elliot’s aggression or early-round pace. Tagir Ulanbekov is one exception. The relentless wrestler has the skillset designed to frustrate Elliot, racking up considerable control time from the top. While Elliot’s striking improvements could crack Ulanbekov on the feet, the American has never shown the power needed to put away a wobbled foe.

Predicted Result: Ulanbekov Decision

Elliot looks far more composed on the feet since moving over to James Krause. Unfortunately, the American has never shown the power that would be needed to crack Ulanbekov’s chin. Ulanbekov’s relentless wrestling and deeper gas tank should frustrate Elliot.

Result: Elliot def. Ulanbekov // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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L’udovit Klein vs Devonte Smith

Lightweight (155)

L’udovit Klein (17-4)

Moving up to Lightweight, Klein needs a big performance if he wishes to ignite some sort of hype behind him. Low volume and a lack of feints leave Klein’s lethal head kicks rather telegraphed and more easily avoidable. Smith is a solid counter-puncher, but Klein has shown a solid chin and is more likely to eat the ‘one shot’ KO power than Smith in a low output affair.

Devonte Smith (11-3)

Two brutal losses to Khama Worthy and Jamie Mullarkey have exposed the flaws in Devonte Smith. Less so a paper chin, Smith’s pressure on the feet walks him on to big shots that he fails to account for. The natural talent is clear, Smith’s power is phenomenal, but he has never shown the consistent cage cutting needed to stifle Klein’s kicking space.

Predicted Result: Klein TKO Round 1

Moving up to Lightweight, Klein needs a big performance if he wishes to ignite some sort of hype behind him. In a match-up between two flawed fighters, the only thing guaranteed is huge power from both men. Smith’s natural talent is clear, but he has never shown the consistent cage cutting needed to stifle Klein’s kicking space.

Result: Klein def. Smith // Decision (Split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Dustin Jacoby vs Michal Oleksiejczuk

Light Heavyweight (205)

Dustin Jacoby (16-5-1)

Perhaps I have horribly read this fight, but this shouldn’t be competitive at all. Jacoby is a consistent, experienced and fabulously compact kickboxer who will keep Oleksiejczuk on long counters all night. The technical bridge should be far too wide for the Pole to gap. Jacoby has a solid enough TDD throughout the UFC to keep this off the mat.

Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4)

After receiving a very generous decision over Modestas Bukauskas, Oleksiejczuk surprised everyone with a first-round KO over Shamil Gamzatov. Even with the new lease of life in 2021, Oleksiejczuk is a simple pressure fighter who Jacoby should be able to read immediately. Footwork will be key in this match-up and the Pole lacks the fundamentals to keep Jacoby in the pocket.

Predicted Result: Jacoby Decision

Jacoby is a consistent, experienced and fabulously compact kickboxer who will keep Oleksiejczuk on long counters all night. Even with the new lease of life in 2021, Oleksiejczuk is a simple pressure fighter who Jacoby should be able to read immediately. Oleksiejczuk does have a slither of offensive wrestling in his pocket, but Jacoby has shown more than competent TDD in his UFC stint.

Result: Jacoby def. Oleksiejczuk // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Prediction Accuracy

UFC 272

Winner: 10/13

Method: 8/13

Round: 7/13

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 61/82

Method: 42/82

Round: 40/82

MMA Overall

Winner: 557/874

Method: 405/874

Round: 365/874

Takeaway comments: Could that be the last we see of Jorge Masvidal?


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