Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley will finally swap verbal jabs for proper punches when they meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night on September 19, but who will have their hand raised after these two welterweights settle their long-running spat inside the Octagon?
Road To Colby Covington v Tyron Woodley
Khabib Nurmagomedov-Tony Ferguson may be the most cursed fight of all time, having been signed repeatedly only for it to be cancelled, but this may well be one of the hardest fights that the UFC has ever managed to put together. Officials have been trying to pit Covington and Woodley against each other for a couple of years now, and there is a tinge of disappointment that 2020 is the year in which it will finally happen because it would not be unfair to say that Woodley’s career has nose-dived over the past couple of years and he is perhaps not the fighter he once was.
Woodley was never regarded as a particularly explosive and exciting fighter when he arrived in the UFC, but he quickly began to rack up a stoppage wins after the ink dried on the contract and when he took out Robbie Lawler in less than two-and-a-half minutes in July 2016, he became the number one welterweight fighter on the planet. Many were ushering in what they believed would be a lengthy and dominant reign for him, but that did not prove to be the case.
His first defence underwhelmed as he went to a majority draw with Stephen Thompson, and after winning the rematch via decision he then went five rounds with Demian Maia to retain his belt once again. ‘The Chosen One’ followed that up by finally recording his first stoppage victory for over two years when he forced Darren Till to tap out to a D’Arce Choke in the second round of their September 2018 title fight, but that victory over the Liverpudlian is the last time that he had his hand raised in the Octagon.
Since that night he has gone 0-2 and looked poor in both defeats. Both Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns have been able to control an uninspiring Woodley, but could the chance to finally settle a grudge with Covington be the inspiration for the former champion to turn back the clock?
While Woodley fought sparingly during his title reign, Covington was climbing the welterweight ladder and by mid-2017 he boasted a 6-1 record and was ready to start mixing it up with the bigger names. Wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Demian Maia put Covington in the position to fight for the interim belt in the summer of 2018, and he promptly took his first chance to hold a UFC ‘title’ as he bested former lightweight title-holder Rafael dos Anjos over five rounds.
The victory should have resulted in a big unification scrap with Woodley later that year, but Covington decided against putting pen-to-paper on a fight agreement and he was subsequently stripped of his interim ‘crown’ (Woodley would instead face and beat Till). Being stripped of the title did not stop the brash and obnoxious American from still declaring himself as the number one 170lber on the planet though, and in his next outing he got the better of former champion Robbie Lawler over five rounds, securing a crack at the title once again.
This time he took it, but it proved to be a disappointing night for him as Kamaru Usman broke his jaw and stopped him with less than a minute to go in their five-round title fight. Covington was sent back to the drawing board with that loss, but he can make himself a leading contender for the belt once again if he puts on a strong showing in a victory over Woodley here.
So can Covington back up his boasts to get back to winning ways, or will Woodley silence his loudmouth rival and once again stake his claim to being a premier fighter in the welterweight division? Read on for our Colby Covington v Tyron Woodley betting tips and predictions for September 19…
Covington Woodley Betting Tips & Predictions
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Woodley has hardly been the most exciting fighter in his career, but his last two performances have been real low points in his career. In his last 10 rounds of fighting he has looked uninspired and dare I say uninterested.
This bout will surely give him the inspiration he needs to kick-start his fading career, but I just do not see him beating Covington. The former interim champion is 7-1 in his last eight fights and while that last outing ended in disappointment, there is certainly no shame in losing to a man like Usman. And Covington, unlike Woodley, appears to have plenty left in the tank and actually wants to fight.
However, for all of his talk about wanting to send Woodley out of the UFC APEX on a stretcher, Covington simply does not have the power to put his rival to sleep. This is evidenced by the fact just two of his 15 wins have come via KO/TKO and the last of them came over four years ago.
I do expect Covington to get the nod from the judges though, after what could prove to be five largely uneventful rounds. For all of the pre-fight trash talk, we are not going to see these two come out all guns blazing, looking to take out the other in short order. They will fight in a controlled and calculated manner and, at the end of it, Covington will have out-worked and out-thrown Woodley to earn the approval of the judges.
Covington Woodley Tips: Expert Predictions
Former UFC welterweight title contender Stephen Thompson talking to Submission Radio: “[Woodley] seems like he’s on point. I know he wasn’t happy after that last loss. Even when he lost it, he said ‘Bro I don’t know what happened. I’m ready to fight right now, ready to go back into the Octagon and fight this guy again because I know I can do better.’ I think he wants that one back, I really do, and what better guy to do it against than someone he had beef with in the past, against Colby Covington. I think everyone wants to see Covington lose. You’ve got a guy that you cheer for and you’ve got to have a bad guy. I’m leaning towards Tyron. I think Tyron’s striking is more explosive, I think he’s got the knockout power to finish him. Especially after Colby Covington breaking his jaw, he could have it broken again for sure.”
Ex-Bellator & ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren talking to Submission Radio: “Obviously I really, really want Tyron to win, because not only is he my friend, but Colby Covington is like the most annoying thing ever, One of his biggest issues for [Woodley’s] competitive career, whether it’s fighting or wrestling, is he just doesn’t pull the trigger sometimes. He gets inside and he just thinks too much. He’s really intelligent and he just thinks a lot about it, and I think that was kind of what happened with the Gilbert Burns fight. I know that’s what happened with the Marty [Kamaru Usman] fight. And so I’m hoping that gets fixed and he gets in there and lets his hands go. And if he lets his hands go, he should knock Colby out. It’s just him. When he went on that streak, he just let his hands go and he was getting tonnes of knockdowns and some knockouts, and that’s kind of what he’s got to get back to.”
Covington Woodley Tips: Fighter Predictions
Tyron Woodley talking to Mike Swick’s Podcast: “This is a big fight for me. This is probably the biggest fight of my career, to be honest, because the situation – it’s like bragging rights. He’s talked all this s**t, but in my mind, he really knows what time it is. Now he’s got to try to live up to it. He’s got to try to beat me. He’s been calling me out for three, four years, so now it’s to the point where it’s personal and the other fights didn’t really mean as much. I really didn’t feel no animosity towards them. But I feel that with Colby.”
Colby Covington talking to MMA Fighting: “This rivalry is beyond personal. This is for bragging rights for the rest of our lives. There’s no doubt that fighting me he’s going to get the biggest adrenaline rush, biggest motivation, and inspiration to try and knock me out. I think we’re going to see the best Tyron Woodley we’ve ever seen in this fight. This fight ain’t going to the judges’ scorecards. I’m going to leave no doubt that I am the best welterweight in the world. I’m going to finish him, I promise you that. He will get left unconscious inside that octagon. If Tyron Woodley does not leave the Octagon on a stretcher then I didn’t do my job.”