UFC 296 is taking place on Saturday from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the card features two title fights. The main event is a welterweight title fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. The co-main event is a flyweight title fight between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval. Rising English fighter Paddy Pimblett is also on the card.
T-Mobile Arena was the site of a legendary win on DraftKings Sportsbook earlier this year. At UFC 285, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor turned just $1 into nearly $400,000 with a $1 UFC Parlay Bet featuring the following six picks at +39947171 odds:
- Dricus Du Plessis to Win by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 2
- Cody Garbrandt To Win By Decision
- Bo Nickal to Win by Submission in Round 1
- Shavkat Rakhmonov to Win by Submission in Round 3
- Alexa Grasso to Win by Submission in Round 4
- Jon Jones To Win By Submission
As a result of all of these outcomes hitting in the Parlay Bet, the UFC bettor took home $399,472.71.
Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington
Colby Covington is best known for his trash talk, but some of his skills inside the octagon are elite. Covington has strong cardio and can work a relentless pace, which allows him to constantly attack his opponents by blending his wrestling with distance and clinch strikes. Covington is an excellent wrestler who was an All-American in college, and his wrestling combined with his gas tank allows him to generate a lot of control time. Covington ranks second among active welterweights in control time, third in control time percentage and has generated the fifth most control time among all active fighters on the UFC roster.
Covington’s wrestling also fuels heavy takedown volume, averaging over four takedowns per 15 minutes and recording 67 total takedowns, the fourth most among all active UFC fighters. Because Covington records a lot of takedowns, he also records a lot of time in top position. Covington ranks second among active welterweights in top position time and ninth among all active UFC fighters. Covington is good at hiding takedown attempts and timing his takedown attempts when his opponent is off-balance, which helps him get inside without getting hit clean.
Covington’s big pace can also allow him to rack up striking volume. Covington has landed 700 total significant strikes over his last six fights, which is adjusted to roughly five significant strikes per minute, a solid rate.
Covington’s only two losses since 2015 have been against former champion Kamaru Usman, who was a very poor matchup for Covington. Usman had the defensive wrestling to stifle Covington’s strengths and force Covington into a striking battle, where Usman had the edge.
This is what Saturday’s main event will likely come down to—can Leon Edwards slow Covington’s offensive wrestling enough to make this fight primarily a distance striking bout? Edwards successfully accomplished this against Kamaru Usman in his most recent title defense, out-landing Usman 111 to 65 in distance strikes. Edwards stopped 11 of Usman’s 15 takedown attempts and limited Usman to five minutes of control time in the 25-minute fight, allowing him to land enough strikes to win a majority decision.
However, this version of Kamaru Usman was not quite in peak form. Usman has dealt with knee issues that have slowed his offensive wrestling, and Covington’s takedowns will likely be more difficult to fend off. Edwards also had less success against Usman in the first title fight between the two. Edwards got taken down five times and controlled for over 10 minutes, and had it not been for a last-minute head kick KO, Edwards was on his way to losing a decision. Covington has a clear path to victory in this fight, and it’s through using his cardio and offensive grappling to wear Edwards out and rack up enough points to win a decision.
Looking at fight props on DraftKings Sportsbook for this matchup could be fruitful. Covington is not a big finisher, as his control-heavy style combined with a lack of one-punch power generally makes him prone to going the distance. Six of Covington’s last seven wins are by decision, and seven of his last nine fights have gone the distance. Edwards is also very tough—Edwards has not been finished in 25 career fights. The combination of Edwards being tough to finish along with Covington’s style makes this fight a good candidate to go to decision.
Bets to Consider:
Fight to Go the Distance: Yes
Colby Covington To Win By Decision
Tail these bets by clicking the odds above!
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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.