- Robbie Lawler faces Colby Covington in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5 (Sat., Aug. 3rd)
- Covington could earn a welterweight title shot with a win
- Lawler looks to put a two-fight losing skid behind him in Newark
With the UFC focusing on New York over the past several years, the city of Newark, New Jersey, has been left out in the cold by the promotion. That changes on Saturday when the UFC returns to Prudential Center for the first time since 2016.
UFC on ESPN 5, a special matinee fight card, kicks off at noon ET on Saturday, August 3. The main card, which is headlined by a pivotal welterweight contest between the No. 2-ranked Colby Covington and No. 11-ranked Robbie Lawler.
Covington vs Lawler Moneyline Odds
Covington has not fought since he won the interim welterweight title in June 2018 over Rafael dos Anjos. The victory was his sixth consecutive win and fourth straight triumph by decision. Covington had been adamant that he would not fight for anything but the title since that win. The UFC wanted to book him against Tyron Woodley in a title-unification bout in September 2018, but Covington could not compete due to nasal surgery.
The UFC stripped him of the interim title at that time. The non-title fight against Lawler is a surprise, but with the UFC promising Covington a title shot with a win, he and his team elected to accept the matchup.
Lawler is on the third two-fight losing skid of his career. He dropped a decision to dos Anjos in December 2017 and then lost a controversial matchup by technical submission to Ben Askren in March of this year. Lawler ended his other losing skids with knockout victories.
Two Things Stand Out
Glancing at the “Tale of the Tape,” there are two things that really stand out about this fight. The first is that Covington averages 5.63 takedowns per 15 minutes of UFC action. The second is that Lawler has 20 career victories by knockout. Those two things will decide this fight.
Even at 37, Lawler has some of the scariest power in MMA. There’s not much chance that Covington will finish Lawler. That means Lawler will start each round on the feet. That gives the ex-champ at least five opportunities to catch Covington on the jaw and turn out his lights.
Covington is going to need to use his takedown skills as early and as often as he can. Covington has 48 takedowns in his UFC career. Once the fight is on the ground, he does an excellent job of controlling his opponent. He spends 36.1 percent of his time in top control on the mat. If Covington can’t get Lawler to the ground and keep him there, the odds of the ex-interim champ losing increase exponentially.
Covington vs Lawler Tale of the Tape
|Colby Covington||Category||Robbie Lawler|
|170 pounds||Weight||170 pounds|
|3.26||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.6|
|2.20||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.95|
|5.63||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.76|
|0.2||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.0|
What’s Up For Grabs?
UFC president Dana White recently said that if Covington wins this fight that he will be next in line to fight current welterweight titleholder Kamaru Usman. One of the reasons for that is Covington is the ex-interim champ, the other is that he accepted this fight with Lawler when the UFC wanted him to.
As for Lawler, it’s unclear what he gets with a victory. He is the ex-champ, but he is coming off two consecutive losses. One fight that could be made is a rematch between Lawler and another former champion, Tyron Woodley. Woodley knocked out Lawler to claim the title in 2016. The two were scheduled to meet a second time this June, but an injury to Woodley forced him from the contest.
Covington vs Lawler Prediction
Covington is a very good wrestler. He’s racked up 38 takedowns in his past six fights. You don’t accomplish that at the highest level of the sport by accident. When Lawler has faced fighters with good takedown skills, he has hit the mat often. Johny Hendricks took Lawler down five times at UFC 181 and Rory MacDonald was successful on four of his takedown attempts at UFC 167. Lawler won both of those fights.
This is a very tough fight to pick, but with it being a five-round contest, I do think Lawler’s striking will carry the day. Covington will be able to take Lawler down, but I don’t believe he’ll be able to keep him on the ground for the entirety of the contest. And let’s not forget, Lawler does have one-punch stopping power.
Pick: Robbie Lawler (+180)