Daily Sports Thought 3/5

The best types of fights are the ones where the two opponents legitimately don’t like each other. The main event of UFC 272 between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal absolutely fell into that category. There was nothing on the line other than ego and pride. There was no championship belt handed to the winner. There was not even a title opportunity up for grabs because both fighters have lost to current welterweight championship Kamaru Usman. That led to a fight that was all about bad blood, no better exemplified than when the fighters were prompted to touch gloves before the bout, and both delivered a cold stare to the other without moving their hands an inch.

Unfortunately, the action in the octagon didn’t meet the high expectations set forth by the bitter rivals. While the personal rivalry was as heated as possible, the stylistic matchup was much more in favor of Covington. He was the far better wrestler and was able to keep the action in his favor by constantly pressuring Masvidal. Covington had Masvidal up against the cage or on the mat for most of the fight, and that just made it very difficult for Masvidal to find a way to win. Masvidal had his chances to turn the fight around. He landed a couple of big shots throughout the match, one nice elbow to the forehead and another huge right hand that really did some damage. He was never able to capitalize on those moments though, most likely because he was so exhausted from defending Covington’s takedowns and wrestling all night.

Covington is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC, part of why he is the second-best welterweight in the world. There are a ton of fighters that have a great wrestling arsenal, but Covington’s stands out. A lot of wrestlers don’t do much when they get their opponent to the mat. They will just keep their body weight on top of the other fighter and occasionally land a punch while maybe looking for a submission. Covington is one of the most active fighters on the ground I have ever seen. He was landing nasty, dangerous shots on Masvidal when he had him on his back. He also demonstrated some of the best chain wrestling out there by moving and scrambling so well every time Masvidal would try to get up or change positions.

It sucks that this fight ended on the ground instead of on the feet because the two fighters were actually pretty evenly matched. The last round was basically over as soon as Covington too Masvidal to the ground again. At that point in the bout, Masvidal was so gassed that he didn’t have it in him to get back to his feet. I feel like a large majority of UFC fans agree with me when I say that this fight would have been a lot better if it ended standing up. The arena was electric when the two guys were slugging it out back and forth. If the last five minutes played out differently, we may have got to see a finish, likely from Covington but Masvidal is always dangerous, instead of needing to go to the judges. If that did happen, the roof would have blown off of the T-Mobile Arena and the fans would have lost their minds. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see that happen. We did get to see the conclusion (probably) of a heated rivalry though, so it wasn’t all too bad.