The Prudential Center said goodbye to a slew of fight fans as UFC on ESPN 5 concluded. Out of all twelve bouts, eight of them ended via finish. Per the usual, this event birthed multiple gems of controversy that will undoubtedly be discussed well into next week. Join us as we discuss the top five moments from the show.
UFC on ESPN 5 Top Five Moments
Colby Covington dominated Robbie Lawler, Gets Presidential Treatment, Trolls Everyone
Colby Covington is proving to be one of the top welterweights in the UFC. This can be evidenced by his current seven-fight winning streak. Some of those wins include decisions over Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, and now Robbie Lawler. Against Lawler, Covington landed 162 significant strikes and ten takedowns. With the dominant victory, Covington is suddenly back at the forefront of the title picture. And with everybody watching, he took full advantage of his moment to stir up some controversy: “Let’s talk about the lesson we learned tonight. It’s a strong lesson that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy, Matt Hughes. You stay off the tracks when the train’s coming through, junior. Don’t matter if it’s the Trump train or the Colby train. Get out the way!”
If you’ll recall, retired former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was struck by a train in June of 2017. He sustained enough trauma from the impact to change the way he walks and even the way he speaks.
UFC on ESPN 5 Post Show Conflict
Covington also met with Karyn Bryant, Rashad Evans, and current UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman at the ESPN post-show desk. Up until Covington’s appearance, every interviewee stood next to Usman at the ESPN desk. When Covington was brought up, he was placed on the opposite end of the desk, away from Usman. There were also three large security guards brought up to keep Covington and Usman away from each other. Unsurprisingly, there was a tense back-and-forth between the two welterweights.
Additionally, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to wish Covington good luck before his fight. Even more surprising, Covington had Donald Trump Jr. and his brother, Eric Trump attend the entire event as his own personal guests. And after the win, Trump personally congratulated Covington over the phone. Whether you like it or not, Colby Covington has made it nearly impossible to ignore him.
Legends Clash as Jim Miller Defeats Clay Guida in Home State
After a combined 24 years in the UFC, legends Jim Miller and Clay Guida finally fought each other at UFC on ESPN 5. It didn’t last long. After being tagged with a solid counter right, Miller was able to land a heavy punch of his own. He then pulled Guida into a guillotine choke. Shortly thereafter, Miller choked Guida unconscious. The bout was waved off at 58 seconds in the very first round. In front of his family and friends, Miller celebrated his 20th win under the UFC banner.
With this latest victory, Miller ties Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre for the third-most wins in UFC history. In addition to that record, Miller tied Nate Diaz for the third most submissions (nine) in UFC history. After battling and ultimately defeating lyme disease, Miller is back to being himself. “I feel like a new man. I’m ready to dive back into the deep end of this division.”
Scott Holtzman vs. Dong Hyun Ma
Violence? Check. Legendary displays of toughness? Check. Back and forth knockdowns? Check! For as long as this bout went on, viewers were undoubtedly glued to their TVs. Scott Holtzman and Dong Hyun Ma both came to fight and they didn’t disappoint. To wit, Holtzman was able to knock Ma down in the first round. But Ma was able to land his own knockdown punch in the second. Unfortunately, the bout ended after the second round. This happened because Dong Hyun Ma could no longer see out of his right eye. Once the fight was stopped, it didn’t take a trip to Twitter to realize fans were collectively saddened at the news. Nonetheless, Scott Holtzman impressively won the fight via TKO. Looking back, both men deserve respect for their toughness and their willingness to entertain.
Kennedy Nzechukwu Chooses to Finish Fight
Kennedy Nzechukwu absorbed three groin strikes from Darko Stosic. Instead of taking a DQ win, he chose to continue fighting. Despite the inherent dangers associated with continuing to fight, under those circumstances, Nzechukwu refused to wilt. Strangely, fans don’t always credit fighters for displays of toughness and bravery. Sure, the athletes are lauded for engaging in back-and-forth brawls, but they’re often expected to continue fighting after a foul. In this author’s opinion, it shouldn’t always be that way. Viewers should applaud Nzechukwu’s tenacity. Overall, the fight wasn’t his best performance, but he showed an admirable degree of principle by continuing.
The referee penalized Stosic with two separate point-deductions for the three groin strikes. Though the scoring is debatable, Nzechukwu would have won the bout with or without the penalities. In light of the punishments, Stosic’s loss can hopefully serve as an incident that will help to prevent excessive fouling in the future. Though the groin strikes appeared to be accidental, fouls still need to hold consequences. Otherwise, there’s no reason for fighters to avoid using them in competition.
Matt Schnell Post-Fight Announcement
Matt “Danger” Schnell defeated Jordan Espinosa via triangle choke in the first round. In his post-fight victory speech, he announced to the world that he was going to become a dad. And he couldn’t have looked happier about it. “I want to give a quick shout-out to my wife. She’s pregnant with our first child. I promised her I wouldn’t tell everybody like this. But I broke that promise tonight. I love you, Morgan. I can’t wait to raise a child with you. You know, I’ve not always known I wanted to be a fighter. I have always known I wanted to be a daddy. And I’m so excited!”
After UFC on ESPN 5, Schnell is riding a four-fight winning streak. With his victory over the number nine ranked flyweight in the UFC, he might’ve just broken into the top 10. I’d say that that fact, coupled with his upcoming entry into fatherhood, life is good for “Danger”.
UFC on ESPN 5 Honorable Mentions
- Claudio Silva showed his personality in a high energy post-fight octagon interview. This moment came after he submitted Cole Williams.
- Lauren Murphy had a come-from-behind TKO victory over Mara Romero Borella.
- Mickey Gall earned his first decision victory over Salim Touahri in front of his home-state New Jersey crowd.
Main Photo Embed from Getty Images