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Should Usman be this big a favorite vs. Covington? UFC 268 betting odds and pick

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Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will meet again in a hallowed sporting arena for one of the most anticipated rematches in the history of the organization when the main event of UFC 268 takes place in the Big Apple this Saturday night.

  • When: Saturday, November 6th, 2021 at 7:00pm PT (ESPN PPV)
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
  • Line: Usman (-320) and Covington (+250); over 3.5 rounds (-140) and under 3.5 rounds (+110); Usman by KO/TKO/DQ (+150), by sub (+1000), by decision (+165) or Covington by KO/TKO/DQ (+750), by sub (+2000), by decision (+500); odds from Draftkings Sportsbook

Colby Covington

Colby “Chaos” Covington will have revenge on his mind when he steps into the Octagon for the first time in over a year.

Covington at 33 years old is a year younger than Usman. He averages 4.12 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) with a 38 percent striking accuracy, 2.86 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 55 percent striking defense, 4.61 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 50 percent takedown accuracy, 75 percent takedown defense and 0.1 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.

Including his loss to Usman (TKO Rd5, 2019), Covington has won four of his last five contests including wins over Tyron Woodley (TKO Rd5, 2020), Robbie Lawler (UD, 2019), Rafael dos Anjos (UD, 2018) and Demian Maia (UD, 2017).

Kamaru Usman

After winning the Ultimate Fighter 21, Kamaru “the Nigerian Nightmare” Usman defeated thirteen consecutive UFC opponents to ascend to the top of the UFC’s men’s pound-for-pound rankings, building his legacy as one of the greatest welterweights and fighters in history.

The Nigerian Nightmare has a one inch height advantage and four inch reach advantage over Covington, averaging 4.63 strikes (significant) landed per minute (SLpM) with a 54 percent striking accuracy, 2.40 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 57 percent striking defense, 3.27 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 48 percent takedown accuracy, 100 percent takedown defense and 0.1 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.

Besides his win over Covington, Usman’s last five matches include victories over Jorge Masvidal (TKO Rd1, 2021 and UD, 2020), Gilbert Burns (TKO Rd3, 2021), Woodley (UD, 2019) and dos Anjos (UD, 2018).

Usman vs. Covington Narratives

Several MMA handicappers are outraged that Usman is such a huge favorite in the rematch, pointing out that Covington outstruck and wobbled Usman in three of four rounds, suggesting that Covington may have been awarded a decision if their first fight had gone to the scorecards. Covington backers also warn against the perception that Covington may not have evolved since moving to MMA Masters, expecting a significantly improved Chaos after he took a whole year to focus on the singular goal of revenge, contending that Covington is lean and hungry while Usman might be content with his success.

Since he started training with Trevor Wittman, Usman appears to have developed more potent striking and finishing power, as evidenced by his brutal finish of Masvidal after going to decision in their first contest and his complete annihilation of Gilbert Burns. Usman backers believe that he has developed into an even better fighter since his first contest with Covington, making it difficult to expect an upset in the rematch.

Usman vs. Covington Prediction

It’s hard to argue that this line is too wide to consider a moneyline bet on Usman, even if we do expect him to win this fight and consider him one of the greatest to ever do it. Colby Covington is an absolute dog and we would agree that there is value on his odds and his shot to pull the upset in this rematch.

While we have evidence that Usman’s striking has recently appeared more powerful and precise, we still haven’t seen Covington display finishing power over multiple, consecutive fights, and while it’s within the realm of possibility, we don’t have confidence that someone who has most frequently gone to decision against lesser opposition will be the first person in history to knock out Usman. And if Covington cannot knock out Usman, we anticipate that the Nigerian Nightmare’s edge in striking accuracy, striking defense and power will leave less doubt in the rematch.

Pick: Usman by KO/TKO/DQ (+150)

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