UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2 Preview

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Our UFC tipster previews a stacked card at Madison Square Gardens this weekend.

UFC fighter Kamaru Usman

In the words of UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer, it’s time! It’s time for the UFC octagon to make its annual November return to ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’, Madison Square Gardens in New York City. And, as per usual, the UFC has stacked the card, with two title fights at the top of the heap and plenty of fan favourite fighters sprinkled throughout the 14-fight lineup.

Both title fights are rematches in which the winners won the first matchup decisively, which normally doesn’t warrant a rematch. And I see no reason why they both won’t get their hands raised again come this Saturday.

Usman to Make Successful Fifth Defence

The card is topped off by Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington for Usman’s UFC Welterweight Championship. This will be Usman’s fifth defense of his 170-pound title, a fact that should start having his name mentioned among the greatest fighters the sport has seen. Usman-Covington I went down at UFC 245 in December of 2019, in which Usman broke Covington’s jaw and finally TKO’d him in the last round. However, Covington was ahead at that point on one of the judge’s scorecards.

Since that time Usman has defended his title three more times while Covington has only fought once. Not only is the champ the more active of the two, but he’s also been visibly improving each time in the cage. Considering he already does everything better than the challenger, I see no reason why he doesn’t end the night at MSG with his hand raised. Usman at 5/18 is my pick.

Tough Pick in Co-Main Event

The co-main event is for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship, as two-time champion Rose Namajunas makes her first title defense of her second reign. She won her belt back this past spring, shockingly head-kick knocking out then-champ Zhang Weili just a little over a minute into the fight. Despite this, the UFC has booked the two for an immediate rematch.

Namajunas always comes into her fights supremely prepared and well-coached, so I expect no different this Saturday. While she probably won’t win via a quick head kick, I do see her retaining. But it’s a tough one to pick. I’m going with the underdog champ at even money – 1/1.

Lock of the Irish

This has ended up being another chalky card for me, as have the last couple of months generally. But that approach has been paying off, as the favourites have been coming through at a far higher rate than on average. Other than Namajunas, who is an even money underdog, there is only one other dog I like on this card. For it we head to the night’s curtain jerker – a flyweight bout between Carlos ‘CJ’ Vergara and Ode’ Osbourne.

Vergara enters his UFC debut fresh off a September TKO victory on Dana White’s Contender Series. He faces a much longer fighter in Osbourne on Saturday, but a fighter who hasn’t impressed much, going 1-2 thus far. I like Vergara’s aggressive striking to get the job done in his debut and win us some plus money. Take the newcomer at 29/20.

For my lock pick of the week, I’m also going with a UFC newbie. Irish uberprospect Ian Garry makes his much-anticipated big show debut this week. The former Cage Warriors champion has no real holes in his game – he’s one of the new breed of fighters who are strong and well schooled in all aspects of the game. Undefeated in seven pro fights, he’ll be facing Jordan Williams on Saturday, who has lost both of his UFC fights thus far. Once again, take the newcomer – this time at 2/9.

*Odds correct at time of writing.

Jeff Fox offers expert insight into the world of MMA & UFC betting from his years of experience in the industry. His work has appeared in publications such as SI.com, St Louis Post-Dispatch, SLAM, Fighters Only Magazine & FIGHT!, among many others. Jeff shares his UFC betting tips with MansionBet readers on a weekly basis.
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