UFC 268: Usman vs Covington II - Predictions - 11/06/21


Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington

The last time these two matched up there were over 750 strikes thrown and absolutely no takedowns attempted. Most expected a pretty high octane fight as Covington in particular is a volume/cardio machine, but this amount of volume was next level. Despite the strong wrestling backgrounds of both fighters, grappling did not enter the fray. It’s unclear whether this was because of the bad blood or the old adage that two grappling/wrestling aces will often wind up in a kickboxing match. It sort of seems like the former honestly since both fighters have out-grappled other wrestlers to large success in the past.

In their most recent fights, Usman has knocked out Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal while Covington grinded out Tyron Woodley. Usman’s wins are undeniably more impressive as he’s showcased even tighter striking and significant power in his hands. Covington’s lone fight saw him return to vintage Colby with a high pressure attack blended with grappling and top control.

This is a tough fight to call. Going off of their first fight, both guys had a ton of success landing a high volume of strikes and doing a ton of damage. They both also landed huge potentially round stealing strikes in every frame leading all the way up to the sequence Usman ended the fight with. The fight was in fact deadlocked on the judges scorecards going into the fifth round (39-37, 38-38, 37-39) with only two of the four rounds scored unanimously in a fighter’s favor (the 1st round to Covington and 4th to Usman). The point being it was both incredibly close and showcased that either fighter could clearly best the other in any given five minutes.

Many wondered afterward why Covington didn’t utilize his trademark wrestling where he would conceivably have an advantage. I for one do not think he does have any notable advantage in this realm. Despite the Division I vs Division II college accolades, MMA wrestling is a bit of a different beast and Usman has shown to be more proficient in this realm. Covington most likely knows this as evidenced by his phony food poisoning excuses after the fight.

Usman just seems to be getting better and Covington’s uninspired win over Woodley doesn’t make me think he’s improved or changed in any way. Both guys changed camps and I think this benefits Usman a lot more than Covington. All of this has me leaning toward Usman. Odds are definitely too wide but I like the champ to retain the belt.

Prediction: Kamaru Usman

Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili

I was never a fan of immediate rematches when one fighter got decisively finished. I get it for high profile fights that end in a draw, razor-thin decisions, or even controversy. But when you get finished or outclassed then that proves you are the lesser fighter on the night and should really not get a do-over. I open with that little personal rant because although it’s a pet peeve of mine as a fan, it’s actually a great situation as an analyst. We already got to witness an outcome as well as how the two fighters match up stylistically. And although time has passed and both fighters have the potential to make adjustments, not so much time has passed that either fighter will be reinvented.

And for me, this is an easy pick. It may not end up being an easy fight and it definitely could go either way but given what we already saw, I have to give the edge to Namajunas. Even with the short timeframe of the last fight, it was clear that Zhang was absolutely flummoxed by Namajunas’s footwork. I don’t really see that changing for this one. I don’t think it was the boo-birds that made Zhang lose focus as she mentioned previously. If she truly believes that it was the crowd and not the awkward movement of Namajunas giving her trouble then I’d say history repeats. That last loss was also the first time Zhang was ever knocked out so every conceivable mental edge is going to Rose here.

Prediction: Rose Namajunas

Quick picks in bold below.

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo

Frankie Edgar vs. Marlon Vera


Alex Pereira vs. Andreas Michailidis

Al Iaquinta vs. Bobby Green

Phil Hawes vs. Chris Curtis

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Nassourdine Imavov

Ian Garry vs. Jordan Williams


Gian Villante vs. Chris Barnett

Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Bruno Silva

CJ Vergara vs. Ode' Osbourne

John Allen vs. Dustin Jacoby

Author Profile
Donnie Vee

Ever since renting my first UFC VHS at my local video store, I’ve been in love with the sport of MMA. I’ve watched every single fight that has ever taken place under the UFC banner over the past 25 years. Once I started doing incredibly well in fantasy leagues, I realized I could utilize my skills in fight analytics to make a profit on betting. My obsession with researching every aspect of a fight gave me a real edge in finding value. Since then, it's been one profitable year after the next. Watching your favorite sport is good, but getting paid while watching your favorite sport is better.