Welterweight Contender Colby Covington Favored Over Robbie Lawler in UFC on ESPN 5 Main Event

Posted on: August 3, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2019, 08:17h.

Colby Covington will look to state his case for a welterweight title shot by booking a win over veteran Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5 on Saturday afternoon in Newark, New Jersey.

Colby Covington UFC ESPN
Colby Covington may be best known for his brash personality, but he’s also a legitimate UFC lightweight contender. (Image: David McIntyre/USA Today Sports)

Covington enters the fight as a -225 favorite over Lawler (+180) at FanDuel Sportsbook, though Lawler promises to be one of the most difficult opponents of his career.

Lawler Presents Difficult Matchup for Covington

Covington (14-1) has been a part of the UFC since 2014, when he was brought in after amassing a 5-0 record in smaller promotions. With the exception of a single loss to Warlley Alves back in 2015, he has been slowly groomed to be a title contender in the welterweight division, even winning the interim championship last June by defeating Rafael dos Anjos.

After that win, it was thought that Covington might finally get a real title shot in a unification bout with champion Tyron Woodley last September. But due to sinus surgery, Covington wasn’t available to fight, and was stripped of the interim title as a result.

Now, the 31-year-old sits as the No. 2-ranked contender in the welterweight division behind Woodley and current champion Kamaru Usman. That makes it strange that he has to take a fight against Lawler, ranked just No. 11 in the division, especially when it seemed like the UFC wanted him to get a chance at the title as quickly as possible.

Worse still, Lawler (28-13) is a poor matchup for Covington. While Lawler isn’t the fighter he once was, the former welterweight champion can certainly hurt opponents, and while Covington is a tremendous wrestler, he regularly takes plenty of punishment from strikers.

Those aren’t the only ways in which the two men clash, either. While Lawler is content to do his fighting speak for itself, Covington has emerged as one of the biggest characters in the UFC, with fans knowing him just as much for his antics that are reminiscent of Conor McGregor as his impressive resume.

I don’t pay much attention to it,” Lawler told Yahoo Sports. “Everyone is going to do what they think they need to do in order to get where they want to go. That’s it and it is what it is. I just have a different view. I focus on myself.”

Lawler should be able to get Covington in trouble at times, especially early on in the fight. But chances are that the 37-year-old Lawler won’t be able to keep up the pressure for five rounds, and that Covington will grind out a win by decision, as he has against most of his recent foes.

On the Undercard

It’s hard to find a fight with more experience in it than the co-main event, which features lightweights Jim Miller (30-13) and Clay Guida (35-18). While neither man is going to be a contender again at this point in their careers, it does provide a fun matchup between entertaining fighters who have never before met in the Octagon. Despite losing five of his last seven bouts, Miller comes in as a -174 favorite over Guida (+142).

A potentially more relevant lightweight battle will come just before the main events, when Joaquim Silva (11-1) takes on German prospect Nasrat Haqparast (10-2). Both fighters love to come forward, which should lead to plenty of action, but Haqparast (-280) is the clear pick over Silva (+215).

Also on the main card, middleweight prospect Trevin Giles (-174) takes on crafty journeyman Gerald Meerschaert (+142), while former hockey player Scott Holtzman (-500) is heavily favored over Korean lightweight Dong Hyun Ma (+360).