Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington was my fight of the year in 2019. If it had not been for Usman's statement-making finish in the 5th and the absolute instant classic that was Izzy vs. Gastelum, I think more people would have had it in the conversation as well.
Had the fight gone the distance, I would have been calling for an immediate rematch regardless of who's hand was raised.
Now with the rematch going down in just three days, I wanted to do a full re-watch of the fight.
Obviously neither of their situations are exactly the same as they were in their last bout. At the time, Usman was still training at Sanford MMA and Colby was still at American Top Team. Now they are both with other camps.
We have also seen Usman in the octagon three times since their last fight, and Colby only once.
A rematch always has a slightly different feel when the fighters walk into the octagon, and these two are as familiar with each other as any active rivalry in the UFC.
In the immortal words of Jon Anik (and Goldy):
Here. We. Go.
From the beginning of the fight you can see how measured both men were in their preparation. They both had their game plans and they stuck to them and they both had success. It is rare that opposing fighters game plans both work out as planned for the most part, which I think is one of the special things about this fight.
Colby doesn’t often get discussed for his power, likely because he doesn’t have that touch of death you saw from Usman in his second fight against Masvidal. However, there are punches that Colby lands, especially the overhand left, that definitely catch Usman’s attention during the fight.
The way these two men traded shots through the entirety of the fight is just so impressive. Usman’s jab gave Colby problems, which could become a bigger problem considering that jab has only improved under Trevor Wittman.
I think the pacing of this fight is so interesting, because heading into the 3rd Round, both men could likely feel that they were up two rounds to zero and it would be difficult to argue with either of them.
That 3rd Round ended up being very important. Usman began applying some more pressure and really digging to the body. While this didn’t necessarily slow Colby down, it did prevent him from speeding up. Colby’s cardio could very well be unmatched by anyone in the UFC, but Usman never had to find out because the work he put into the body prevented Colby from amping the pressure up as much as we saw in his fights against Lawler or RDA.
Near the end of the 3rd Round, Colby lands a head kick that puts Usman on his back foot and it appears like Colby might actually have him a little bit compromised, but he pokes Usman in the eye as he tries to swarm. The eye poke is completely legitimate, the timing is just tragic for Colby because the momentum almost shifted but instead they were separated and Usman won the rest of the round.
Both men looked so fresh as they entered the championship rounds. There is no way you could knock the preparation of either of them. Usman even looks like he starts to get into more of a flow with his striking in the 4th Round. This time it was Colby’s turn to get poked in the eye, and Marc Goddard was not happy about it.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Marc Goddard takes no prisoners.
The 5th Round is so interesting. The fight has been so close up to this point, it would be almost impossible to guess. Through the first three minutes of the round I thought Colby looked incredible and that he might be on his way to winning this fight. Then, of course, Usman hurts him with a straight right, subsequently puts him down, puts him down again, and then finishes the fight. The stoppage may be just a little bit early, but far from what I would consider a bad stoppage.
What a damn fight.
Going into the 5th, I had the fight 2-2. Rounds 1 and 4 to Colby, Rounds 2 and 3 to Usman.
I honestly have no idea how to even predict how this rematch is going to go down. Usman has looked unstoppable and I think him ascending to the Pound for Pound #1 spot is completely accurate. We don't have a ton of new information on Colby outside of his domination of Tyron Woodley, but he states that he's greatly improved as well.
What I love about this fight is similar to what I mentioned earlier. Both men are going to walk into the Octagon as prepared as ever. They are going to have their game plans and they both have an incredibly high Fight IQ. They are both going to walk in supremely confident in their ability to win this fight.
I cannot wait. Only a few more sleeps.
Top comments (3)
Love that you are using a series here 😎
A few more sleeps!!!!!
UFC 268. Usman vs Covington 2. Nov 6th 2021. Everything you need to know.
UFC Events ・ Oct 20 ・ 2 min read
Enjoyed reading this, quite rare - your talented bro.
Thank you my man I appreciate it!