Most UFC Fight Night events are rather weak because there’s only so much quality to go around. However, the Fight Night card from Newark, N.J., on Saturday is pretty good and topped by a welterweight matchup between two former UFC champions in Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler. Here’s a look at the two top fights and their UFC odds at our online sportsbook.
UFC on ESPN 5 Covington vs Lawler Odds, Preview & Pick
- When: Saturday, 3 PM ET
- Where: Prudential Center, Newark
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
Colby Covington (14-1) vs. Robbie Lawler (28-13)
- UFC Odds: Covington -225 / Lawler +180
Covington is a -225 favorite for this welterweight bout with Lawler at +185. Covington won the interim welterweight title last June with a unanimous decision win over Rafael dos Anjos. Through four rounds of action, most saw the fight pretty even, with both bringing two different approaches to the cage. Covington was the more aggressive one and he clearly won Round 5. In total, Covington outlanded dos Anjos 142-130 and scored seven takedowns to RDA’s three.
Covington was then to fight welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 but nasal surgery forced Covington out of the bout. Therefore, the promotion decided to book Woodley against Darren Till instead and trip Covington of his interim title. Covington was rather pissed off with UFC president Dana White for that decision. In March, Covington went live on his Instagram account ahead of UFC 235, which featured Woodley and top-contender, Kamaru Usman, for the title.
Covington attributed his title snub not to his medical issues, but a conspiracy involving the UFC and the manager of Usman. Covington said the manager, Ali Abdelaziz, testified on behalf of the promotion in an antitrust lawsuit and earned payback as a result.
“All he could say is, ‘You’ve got to accept the fights.’ Dude, I’ve accepted every single fight you’ve given me. Just tell the people the real reason this is going on. This is corruption, and it needs to stop,” Covington said of White. Covington’s only career loss was when he was tapped out by Warlley Alves at UFC 194.
White said recently that if Covington beats Lawler, the former welterweight champ, he will be next for titleholder Usman. If Lawler wins, that opens the door for several others.
Lawler, meanwhile, hasn’t won in the Octagon in over two years. Lawler returned from knee surgery at UFC 235 in March against Ben Askren and looked dangerous in the 3 minutes, 20 seconds the fight lasted before being choked out.
Lawler has contended for the title on multiple occasions, though, and has faced some of the best at 170, including Woodley, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, Rory MacDonald, and Donald Cerrone. In all, he has fought in the Octagon for the UFC a total of 20 times, with a record of 13-7. While the younger Covington has only fought for the belt once, Lawler has done it five times. He won it in a rematch against Johny Hendricks and defended the title against MacDonald and Condit before losing it to Woodley.
While Lawler has consistently shown strong takedown defense, Covington is all too willing to just hold onto his opponents and grind against the fence in order to wear them down. However, Covington’s striking defense is absolutely terrible. To his credit, Covington’s durability thus far has meant that it simply does not matter what his opponent lands.
Jim Miller (30-13) vs. Clay Guida (35-15)
- UFC Odds: Miller -160 / Guida +130
Miller is a -179 favorite for this lightweight bout and Guida +149. With 59 UFC bouts between them, Guida and Miller somehow have never fought.
Miller has lost five of his past seven bouts but comes off an April submission win over Jason Gonzalez. Miller grounded Gonzalez in the first round and locked in a rear-naked choke to give himself the record for most submission victories in UFC lightweight history with eight. Gonzalez, who was returning to action from a 588-day layoff, had struggles with Miller’s pressure from the outset. He couldn’t get any momentum going before he was tagged with a punch and taken down. From there, Miller quickly advanced.
Miller’s last five losses have all come to Top 20 or so lightweights, with Francisco Trinaldo being the worst of the bunch, while his wins have been over fringe fighters like Alex White and Gonzalez.
Guida comes off a May unanimous decision win over way-past-his-prime legend BJ Penn. Guida turned up the heat in the second half of their fight as Penn faded, and that was enough to earn a unanimous decision on scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 29-27. Guida picked up the pace in the second as he started throwing leg kicks that began to add up and mixing in occasional head kicks. Guida went for takedowns that weren’t quite there, but it was plain to see Penn was fading.
It was Penn’s seventh straight loss. Penn was once considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.
This should be Guida’s fight to lose. Miller’s recent path to victory has been finishing things on the mat, and if nothing else, Guida should be able to shut down any wrestling and survive even if things go to the ground. Miller likely won’t be able to offer much resistance to Guida’s typical mix of takedowns and quick striking.
Expert UFC on ESPN 5 Picks
Both end via judges with Covington and Guida winning.
Rest of the UFC on ESPN 5 Card
- Joaquim Silva vs. Nasrat Haqparast
- Trevin Giles vs. Gerald Meerschaert
- Scott Holtzman vs. Dong Hyun Ma
- Darko Stošić vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
- Mickey Gall vs. Salim Touahri
- Antonina Shevchenko vs. Lucie Pudilová
- Jordan Espinosa vs. Matt Schnell
- Lauren Murphy vs. Mara Romero Borella
- Cláudio Silva vs. Cole Williams
- Miranda Granger vs. Hannah Goldy