This Saturday’s UFC 245 card from Las Vegas is arguably the event of the year in mixed martial arts with not just one championship fight or even two but a very rare three title fights on tap. Here’s a quick look at each with the latest UFC odds.
- When: Saturday, 10 PM ET (main card)
- Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
Kamara Usman (15-1) vs. Colby Covington (15-1)
- UFC 245 Odds: Usman -180
Usman is a -170 favorite to defend his welterweight title with Covington, a former interim champion, at +140. Usman enters with a 10-0 record in the UFC and 14 consecutive victories overall. Last time out, he claimed the title by completely dismantling Tyron Woodley. With the interim champion Covington on bad terms with the UFC and eventually stripped, Usman managed to step into the void and get his title shot.
Woodley was never in the fight. Outside of an exciting two-way brawl in the final minute of Round 4 in which Woodley was lucky to finish, the fight was all Usman thanks to his relentless pressure. The native of Nigeria took home a unanimous decision (50-44 twice, 50-45) to halt Woodley’s title reign at four defenses. Colby was ringside with a championship belt over his shoulder.
Covington has won seven straight fights, including back-to-back defeats of Rafael Dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler. Covington strutted into the cage vs. Lawler and went to work by scoring a partial takedown in the opening minute. This set the pace for the entire fight. Covington’s performance was so impressive that after the finish, he celebrated by the fence, staring at the Trump family, and received a thumbs up from Donald Trump Jr.
Some BackgroundBoth Usman and Covington were college wrestlers; Covington competed at NCAA Division I level and Usman at Division II. Covington averages 5.69 takedowns per 15 minutes in the UFC. His takedown defense is an impressive 78%. Usman averages 3.96 takedowns per 15 minutes, with an accuracy of 50%. Usman’s takedown defense is 100%.
Both guys have gone to decision eight times, with Usman picking up six knockouts and one submission and Covington picking up two knockouts and five submissions. While Covington’s fight against Lawler showed a new level of striking that should serve him well in the long run, things seem to have finally clicked with Usman in his last two appearances.
Max Holloway (21-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (20-1)
- UFC 245 Odds: Holloway -180
Holloway is the featherweight champion and a -170 favorite over Volkanovski, who fights a UFC title fight for the first time and is +140. Holloway has won an unprecedented 13 straight fights in the featherweight division. He has dominated at 145 pounds for five years.
Holloway admits now that he must leave featherweight in the future if he wants to achieve his ultimate goals. Earlier this year, Holloway did make his first move up a division. He fought Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 on April 13, falling by unanimous decision.
Holloway is coming off a lopsided five-round verdict over Frankie Edgar in his most recent title defense at UFC 240. If he beats Volkanovski, it’ll be Holloway’s fourth title defense. In total, he has won five straight title fights at 145 pounds and has held a belt — either interim or undisputed — in the weight class since 2016.
Volkanovski is on a 17-fight winning streak that includes seven triumphs in the UFC. Most recently, the 30-year-old Aussie earned a dominant decision triumph over longtime former champion Jose Aldo at UFC 237. On paper, the former featherweight king seemed like a nightmare matchup for Volkanovski. Aldo is one of the best defensive wrestlers in the history of the sport, but Volkanovski fought against type by using an impressive inside-outside combination of leg kicks and clinch work that neutralized Aldo.
Alexander “The Great” also owns notable victories against Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins in UFC competition. He has scored 14 finishes in his 20 wins and may be one of the more well-rounded fighters Holloway has faced in recent bouts.
Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs. Germaine de Randamie (9-3)
- UFC 245 Odds: Nunes -300
Nunes is considered the top female fighter on the planet and the -300 favorite to defend her bantamweight title against de Randamie, who is +240. These two fought in November 2013 and Nunes won by first-round TKO.
The last time Nunes suffered a loss was in 2014, when she was knocked out by Cat Zingano. Since then, she has racked up nine straight victories. Since losing to Nunes, de Randamie has piled up five consecutive victories.
Nunes is one of just four fighters to reign in two UFC divisions simultaneously, and none has defended both titles. In the past, two-division champions such as Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier have relinquished one of their titles due to inactivity. The same fate could eventually befall bantamweight and flyweight king Henry Cejudo.
Nunes, who has made four defenses of the 135-pound title she won from Miesha Tate in 2016, added the 145-pound belt last December when she knocked out Cris Cyborg. Nunes said she initially wanted Saturday’s title bout to be at featherweight, the division where de Randamie briefly was champion in 2017. But de Randamie, who has fought her last two fights at bantamweight, wanted to challenge at 135 pounds. If Nunes wins here, she then wants to defend her featherweight belt.
Of de Randamie’s nine career wins, four have come via stoppage and all were by KO or TKO.