What happened the first time Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington fought at UFC 245?
The highly anticipated rematch between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and the former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington goes down this Saturday at UFC 268, from Madison Square Garden.
Before getting to the big rematch, let’s break down exactly what happened the first time Usman and Covington met in the Octagon.
The epic UFC 245 fight card went down on December 14th, 2019 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event saw three titles on the line and was headlined by what would be one of the best fights of the year in Usman vs Covington 1.
The fight was so special that the UFC uploaded the bout as a part of their UFC Free Fights series on YouTube. The video has received over 5 million views since it was uploaded in early October.
Kamaru Usman defeated Colby Covington by 5th round stoppage at UFC 245
The fight was a very evenly matched affair throughout the opening rounds, with both fighters stunning each other on multiple occasions through the early stages.
At one point in the second round, Usman dropped down to faint a takedown, in which Covington responded by pointing at his leg, almost to dare Usman into a wrestling exchange. After that point in the bout, it became very clear that both fighters were content with keeping the fight standing and going toe to toe with each other.
Covington looked to be getting the best of the exchanges in the opening moments of the third round, but Usman managed to answer back with an unanswered flurry of his own. The fight shifted in a pivotal moment towards Usman in the closing moments of the third round, after Usman caught Covington with a heavy right hand that looked to buckle Covington’s jaw out of place.
Covington returned to his corner and told his American Top Team coach Conan Silveira repeatedly ‘I think I broke my jaw.’
From that moment in the fight, it was obvious that Covington was favoring the left side of his face. Covington pushed forward early in the fourth round, in what seemed to be a last-ditch effort to close out Usman, as the swelling in his face began to become noticeable.
As the fight went on, Covington began to hold his guard up higher and was avoiding the stiff jab of Usman intently. Usman began to take control of the fight in the mid-part of the fourth round, taking advantage of Covington’s hesitance.
In between rounds, Usman’s corner made him aware that Covington was favoring his left side, and the champion went to work in the fifth round in hopes of closing the show. Usman put on the pressure late in the fifth round and dropped Covington in back-to-back exchanges as the clock ticked down.
Covington shelled up in a defensive position as Usman began to reign punches down on him. In the final minutes of the fight, referee Marc Goddard stepped in and called a stoppage to the fight at 4:10 of the fifth round.
Covington immediately protested the stoppage adamantly stating that he wasn’t knocked out and that he should have been allowed to continue. Before Usman was announced as the winner, Covington left the arena while being escorted by a doctor.
Once the judge’s scorecards were revealed it became fully understood just how close this fight was. One judge scored the fight at 2-2 heading into the fifth round, with the other two judges having it 3-1 on opposite sides.
Whether or not Usman would have lost the gold had he not finished Covington is something we will never know. However, it’s fair to say that Usman was pulling ahead in the later stages of the fight, and should have gotten the nod from a reasonable group of judges had the fight gone the distance.
What we do know is that the rematch should be as hard-hitting and malicious as the first fight was, and it all goes down this Saturday at UFC 268.