UFC on ESPN 5: Squared Up | Lawler vs. Covington Main Event Analysis & Predictions

Jason Paglia

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 8:51 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2019 8:51 AM UTC

Dana White gave the ‘Garden State’ a sick main event when UFC legend Robbie Lawler squares up against title contender Colby Covington.

<div><p>We took it on the chin last week fellas. Both fighters we picked won the fight, but unfortunately neither of them got it done before the final bell. After last week we sit at 66% through our last 15 fights. It could definitely be worse, but I digress… Onward and upward.</p><p>This week the UFC is in my backyard for <strong>UFC on ESPN 5</strong>. The fights go down Saturday 12pm at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Thankfully the next few weeks have some excellent fight cards. Unfortunately for my fellow Jersey fight fans, this card is not one of them. The good news is Dana White gave the ‘Garden State’ a sick main event when UFC legend <strong>Robbie Lawler</strong> squares up against title contender <strong>Colby Covington</strong>.</p><p>Last week was unacceptable. As if I could be more determined to assault this card and squeeze every dollar out of it. It’s time to d**k stomp this card and bank these units. Let’s do it.</p><h2><b>ROBBIE LAWLER (28-13) vs COLBY COVINGTON (14-1)</b></h2><div style="text-align:center"><b><img alt src="https://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/003/713/401/hi-res-9de9a42f66c8b9b02881468fa3581fa1_crop_north.jpg?h=533&amp;w=800&amp;q=70&amp;crop_x=center&amp;crop_y=top" style="width:600px;height:400px" /></b></div><div><p><strong>Robbie Lawler: </strong></p><p>‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler comes into Saturday’s main event as the #11 ranked welterweight fighter in the world. He grew up as an All-State high school wrestler who practiced in Karate. Upon his high school graduation, he began training in MMA under Pat Miletich. Pat would turn Lawler into a machine of destruction. He would take the lessons he learned from Miletich and wound up at American Top Team (the premiere MMA gym in the country) for a decade. Lawler recently left ATT where he was teammates with Saturday nights opponent Colby Covington. Here is the bottom line when it comes to Robbie Lawler, he is a legend in the sport of MMA. He is one of the most entertaining fighters to have ever stepped foot in the cage.</p><p>The man made his UFC debut in May of 2002 at UFC 37 against Aaron Riley where he won a unanimous decision. In his first stint with the promotion he ended with a 4-3 record. He fought in various regional promotions winning championship after championship, but he still had unfinished business with Dana White and the UFC. Finally, almost a decade later in February of 2013, he came back home. At UFC 157 he took on ‘loud mouth’ challenger Josh Koscheck and won the fight by TKO. That night, he put the division on notice that he had one more belt left to win, the UFC welterweight championship. On December 6<sup>th</sup>, 2014 his dream was realized, beating Johnny Hendricks in a rematch and finally winning the UFC welterweight strap. He would defend his title twice over until Tyron Woodley knocked him out in the first round at UFC 201. Everything he has done since that day, including this Saturday, is his quest to win the title one more time. Will he take the next step Saturday night?</p><p><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪20 wins by TKO ▪ 3.6 Landed ▪ 66.67% Accuracy</p><p>▪7 wins by Decision ▪ 3.95 Absorbed ▪ 69.17% Defended</p><p>▪1 wins by Submission</p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Power</strong> (The reason why he is one of the most entertaining fighters of all-time is the bombs he carries around in his gloves. Since he was 22 years old he was capable of putting someone’s head in the 5<sup>th</sup> row, and considering power is the last thing to go, now it might be the 3<sup>rd</sup> row.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking </strong>(The reason why Lawler’s power is such a weapon is a byproduct of how technical he is as a striker. He cuts the angles well, his combinations are strong, and he sits down on his punches in the pocket creating a topnotch, and fundamental counterstriking game<font color="#337ab7"><b>.</b></font></p><p>• <strong>Strenght </strong>(He has always been bigger than most welterweights and his strength plays an important role in top control and keeping his opponents pinned against the cage..)</p><p>• <strong>Wrestling </strong>(It has always been Robbie’s second most dangerous tool in the shed. His top control is excellent, his scrambles are solid and his ground &amp; pound is the last place on earth you want to be.)</p><p><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Chin </strong>(Robbie doesn’t exactly have bad striking defense, BUT when someone cracks the button on his jaw hard enough, he will fall. In a welterweight division with some heavy hitters, that is a problem from time to time.)<strong> </strong></p><p><strong>• Age </strong>(Robbie is now fighting outside his prime years, just outside. At 37 years old and the amount of wars he has been in, it is natural to have a lower tolerance for damage than he had 10 years ago. Colby Covington has an endless motor and he doesn’t stop swinging. Robbie is going to test that age Saturday night, like it hasn’t been tested before.)</p><p><strong>• Submissions </strong>(Robbie Lawler has one submission in 41 pro fights. That’s not good. You would think all the time he spent at American Top Team would have improved his BJJ. If it has improved, he doesn’t use it. It’s not good when your opponent can disregard ground defense completely in his game plan against you.)</p><p><strong>Colby Covington:</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://www.mmanytt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Colby-Covington.jpg" style="width:600px;height:375px" /></p><p>Colby Covington steps into the Octagon this Saturday night as the #2 welterweight contender in the world. While he did hold the interim title for about 2 minutes, he has the opportunity he has been waiting a lifetime for. A win against Robbie Lawler this weekend would guarantee him a chance at immortality, the shot against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Like Lawler, Covington grew up as a wrestler, his credentials however are better. He went to Oregon State University where be became a All-American collegiate wrestler and two time Pac-10 Conference champion.</p><p>In 2011, Covington found a home under Dan Lambert and started training at American Top Team. By 2012 he became a professional mixed martial artist, went 5-0 on the regional scene and signed with the UFC in 2014. Since 2014 Covington has absolutely run through the UFC welterweight division. He has 9 wins in 10 UFC fights, but the most important win, one that would give him a shot at the strap, could come this Saturday. Will Colby Covington be able to get passed UFC legend Robbie Lawler?</p><p><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪2 wins by TKO ▪3.26 Landed ▪ 51.06% Accuracy</p><p>▪7 wins by Decision ▪2.20 Absorbed ▪ 78.26% Defended</p><p>▪5 wins by Submission</p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p><strong>•Wrestling </strong>(The kid is a wrestling machine….. see credentials above.)</p><p><strong>•Stamina </strong>(Personally, I don’t like this kid, (their I said it). He annoys me and his attitude sucks, BUT I have to say…. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to MMA. I have watched every UFC fight in the promotions catalogue three times over and he has one of the best motors I have seen in the UFC. He doesn’t stop moving forward, he doesn’t get tired and he is like a Pit Bull trying to get a bone and it’s damn impressive.)</p><p>•<strong>Pressure</strong> (From the second the bell rings, he is all over his opponents. He tries to break them down physically, but what I will say is he doesn’t mind leaving the fight up to the judges. He has 7 wins by decisions. A lot of his fights are pretty boring but he gets the job done.)</p><p><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></p><p>•<b>Striking </b>(He really has poor fundamentals when it comes to striking. Doesn’t throw a ton of combinations, doesn’t cut the angles really well. He isn’t interested in technique, he wants to get his hands on you and take you down. I guess I would say he is serviceable, but not skilled.)</p><p>•<strong>Arrogance </strong>(He is not above putting himself in bad situations to taunt or laugh at his opponents when he should be worried about winning the fight. Against someone like Robbie Lawler who has unforgiving power, one mistake could cost him a title opportunity.)</p><div style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:600px;height:338px" /></div><h2><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></h2><p><strong>This is Colby Covington’s fight to lose. Robbie Lawler has to find the button to beat Colby because I don’t think he has the gas tank that Covington does, and he isn’t going to outwork/outpoint him. That is the question. Will he find the button in 5 rounds? It’s definitely possible, but not likely. Can Colby Covington find the button on Lawler? It’s possible. </strong></p><p><strong>Robbie Lawler’s chin has been suspect at times, but Covington is not a technical striker. Colby would have to land a looping overhand in a scramble to knockout Lawler because I can’t see him catching Robbie when they are squared up together. This is one of those fights where we like the favorite but not at that price. I have a feeling that the name recognition of Robbie Lawler will lead to the public betting him heavier the closer we get to the fight. If that happens and we see a line on Covington at (1.55) or better (which is a possibility) then it is a play. Normally I would lean on decision props in Covington fights because of his style, and the fact that he has 7 wins by decision in his career, BUT the X-Factor is it’s a five round fight instead of three. So that’s it gentlemen…. The buy price is Covington at (1.55) or pass. Good Luck. </strong></p><h2><strong>The Pick </strong></h2><p><strong><em>Colby Covington (anything under) 5/9 (1.55) 1 unit</em></strong></p></div></div>
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