Fight Study (11/6/21)
The welterweight title is on the line when the division’s #1 contender, Colby Covington, takes on the undisputed champion, Kamaru Usman, for the belt in New York City on Saturday. Both men are coming off of wins, but it is the champion with a 17-fight win streak who will be the heavy favorite. He is also the more expensive DFS play as well. Usman can be rostered for $9,300 on DraftKings and $22 on Fanduel. Covington is available for $6,900 and $15 respectively. These fighters have fought previously with Usman scoring the fifth-round TKO back in December of 2019. As a title fight, this bout is scheduled for 5 rounds of fight action, but this fight is a narrow -130 favorite to conclude inside the distance.
Covington has a career record of 16-2 with 4 wins by KO/TKO, 4 wins by submission, and 8 wins by decision. Since the start of 2016, he is 8-1 with his only loss coming against Usman. Covington is a very well-rounded fighter with wins over some of the best welterweights in the UFC. Most recently, he bested the former champ, Tyron Woodley, by a 5th round TKO in September of last year. Prior to his loss to Usman, he had won 7 straight with 5 of those wins coming by decision. To defeat a fighter like Usman, he will need to keep this fight upright, but with an inch less in height and 4 inches less in reach, Covington will struggle to find his form on any level.
Usman is 19-1 overall with 9 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission, and 9 wins by decision. His last loss came in May of 2013. His wrestling and his ground and pound are the best in the welterweight division by a large margin. He is in his fighting prime right now and seems nearly invincible inside the octagon. Since winning the belt from Woodley in 2019, he has gone on to win his first 4 title defenses with 3 finishes in those fights. He is an excellent striker, but his dominance is set up by his wrestling. Once he takes an opponent to the ground, they rarely are able to get up again without the aid of the bell. In the clinch, he controls his opponents, and he completely nullifies any offense by his opponents once he gets ahold of them.
It is hard for me to imagine a different result in this fight than in the first iteration between these two. Although both fighters were able to land strikes, it was Usman who had the more effective strikes. His longer reach allowed him to break Covington down over the 5 round fight. I would anticipate that Usman will be looking to incorporate his wrestling more in this fight, however. Look for him to attempt to change levels early and often in this matchup. Once on the ground, Covington’s ability to attack will be taken away and Usman’s ground and pound can take over the fight. As long as Covington is able to keep things on their feet, he will have a chance to contend with Usman, but I expect Usman’s wrestling, longer reach, and strength will be too much for him on Saturday.
In DFS contests, I am looking for Usman to methodically control Covington for the duration of this fight. In the first fight, Covington was able to keep things close, but I expect a great deal more pressure from the champ on Saturday. He is +145 to get in the finish, and I like this bet a good deal. I think Usman will get the finish again in this one. For this reason, I prefer Usman on both platforms and in all formats. I also believe Usman has great scoring potential in this fight and will use him heavily in GPP contests. I will avoid rostering Covington overall but may consider minimal use in mass multi-entry contests. I believe this one ends in the 3rd or 4th with the champ getting the finish and retaining the belt.
That’s all for this edition of Fight Study. Good luck with your lineups! For more advice on DFS contests for MMA, click HERE.