The animosity between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington heading into UFC 245 ran deep. They said and did everything under the sun to get under each other’s skin. At times, it got too personal and lines were crossed.
What resulted was one of the best fights of the year. Instead of engaging the type of wrestling battle for which both fighters are known, the two fought a stand-up war. Usman’s power ultimately prevailed as he dropped Covington twice in the fifth round and put him away for good at 4:10 of the round to retain the UFC welterweight championship at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Sporting News scored the fight 39-37 for Covington at the time of the stoppage.
“This isn’t just for me. This is for the whole world,” Usman said in his postfight interview. “My mind is stronger than everyone in the division.”
The fight began with the two rivals not touching gloves. For the first two rounds, Covington set his usual frentic pace with his volume punching and neutralized Usman’s power. Covington was getting the better of the exchanges and landing the heavier blows.
The tide shifted in the closing moments of the second round when Usman landed a hard body shot and a right hand that caught Covington’s attention. Seeing that he could hurt Covington if he connected, Usman (16-1) started to let loose and throw the right hand more often. That led to a vicious right hand that Covington admitted between Rounds 3 and 4 broke his jaw.
Covington (15-2) toughed it out and kept absorbing Usman’s hard shots. He made to the final round with the fight hanging in the balance. Both fighters were getting their blows in. Ultimately, Covington’s weakened jaw and Usman’s mettle led the champion to the finish line. Usman landed a picture-perfect right hand to send Covington straight to the canvas. Covington got up but was not in the best of shape.
Sensing he could shut up Covington, Usman dropped his foe one more time. He pounced on Covington and blasted him with one hard hammerfist after another until referee Marc Goddard stepped in and stopped the fight.
Usman extended his winning streak to 15 with the victory. Covington lost for the first time in eight fights.
Here is what happened at UFC 245.
UFC 245 results, updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
Kamaru Usman stops Colby Covington to remain welterweight champion
1:55 a.m.: Usman def. Covington by TKO at 4:10 of the fifth round. In what appeared to be a close round, Usman connected on a sharp right hand to send Covington to the mat. Covington got up but his legs were very shaky. Usman sent him to the mat one more time. Covington tried desperately for a takedown. Usman poured down a series of hammerfists, with referee Marc Goddard finally stepping in to stop the fight, much to the chagrin of Covington.
Round 4: A pretty even round as Usman and Covington each had their moments. Usman was busier but Covington landed the harder shots in volume. A slight edge to “Chaos.” Could be wrong, though. (10-9, Covington; 39-37, Covington)
Round 3: Usman has figured it out after his success at the end of the second round. He started letting it all hang out with the jab and straight right hand. Usman looked to have broken Covington’s jaw with a straight left hand. How will Covington adjust? (10-9, Usman; 29-28, Covington)
Round 2: Covington’s pace is making it difficult for Usman to unleash his power shots. Covington is staying active and Usman keeps going for the knockout. Let’s see if Usman goes back to the body; he has hurt Covington there in the first two rounds. (10-9, Covington; 20-18, Covington)
Round 1: Highly entertaining opening round in which we didn’t see a takedown attempt from two fighters who are known for their wrestling. Usman controlled the opening half of the round on the feet, and then Covington took the reins and stunned Usman more than once. Covington is a volume puncher. Can Usman keep up? (10-9, Covington)
1:13 a.m.: It is now time for the main event of UFC 245: Kamaru Usman defends his welterweght title against Colby Covington.
The animosity between Usman and Covington runs deep. It started the day after Usman (15-1) dominated Tyron Woodley to capture the welterweight belt at UFC 235 in March. The fighters had to be pulled apart when a confrontation ensued between Usman, his manager, Ali Abdel Aziz, and Covington at a buffet line at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.
Trash talk has continued between the two ever since, with neither man relenting. It culminated in the two having to be separated after Covington (15-1) beat Robbie Lawler. Who is going to impose their will and walk out the champion?
Alexander Volkanovski batters Max Holloway to become new featherweight champion
1:03 a.m.: Volkanovski def. Holloway by unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47). Sporting News scored the fight 49-46 for Volkanovski. How any judge gave Holloway two rounds is baffling. Beyond the fifth round, Volkanovski dominated from start to finish. He crushed both of Holloway’s legs and made the former champion change his strategy on more than one occasion. When Volkanovski wasn’t shredding the legs, he controlled the action with his fists. Give the Australian credit. He stayed true to his game plan and didn’t deviate from it.
I don’t know why Holloway was shocked when the scorecards were being read. The Hawaiian needs to look at the tape and see what he did wrong in the cage and come back better next time.
That’s 18 wins in a row for Volkanovski. He’s going to be extremely tough to beat. Opponents will have to be on top of their game, and then some, to dethrone him.
Round 5: Holloway’s best round of the fight, but it’s too little, too late. How he fought in this round is how should have been fighting from halfway through the fight. (10-9, Holloway; 49-46, Volkanovski)
Round 4: Holloway made a smart adjustment by switching his stance back to orthodox; that gives him the best chance to win. The tune remained the same, however, as Volkanovski lit him up like a Christmas tree. Why Holloway hasn’t closed the distance and used his height and reach advantage is beyond me. Hollloway needs a finish to retain. (10-9, Volkanovski; 40-36, Volkanovski)
Round 3: Not only did Volkanovski leave Holloway’s left leg in shambles in the second round, he did the same to the right. Volkanovski mixed it up a bit by landing punches upstairs, further complicating the situation for Holloway. You can feel a championship change brewing. (10-9, Volkanovski; 30-27, Volkanovski)
Round 2: Volkanovski is putting on a clinic. He’s throwing one hard leg kick after another. It’s gotten to the point where there’s severe swelling on the inside of Holloway’s left leg, which forced Holloway to switch stances. Holloway was more effective fighting southpaw, so it will be interesting to see how he does if he continues following that path. (10-9, Volkanovski; 20-18, Volkanovski)
Round 1: Competitive opening stanza. Constant pressure from Volkanovski while Holloway was content to fight from the outside. (10-9, Volkanovski)
12:13 a.m.: It is now time for the co-main event of UFC 245: Max Holloway puts his featherweight title on the line against No. 1-ranked Alexander Volkanovski.
Holloway (21-4) fights for the third time this year and will look to go 2-0 in his natural weight class after losing to Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236, which snapped his 13-fight winning streak. He continued his dominance at 145 pounds in July at UFC 240 with a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar. He has won 14 in a row at 145 pounds.
Volkanovski (20-1) rolls into UFC 245 on an absolute tear, riding a 17-fight winning streak, with the last seven coming inside the Octagon. The Australian solidified his status as the No. 1 contender with a dominant performance against the man most MMA pundits feel is the greatest featherweight of all time, Jose Aldo, at UFC 237 in May.
This is Holloway’s toughest title defense to date. Volkanovski is a legitimate threat to take the belt. Buckle up; it should be a fun one.
Amanda Nunes grapples her way to retaining women’s bantamweight title over Germaine de Randamie
12:10 a.m.: Nunes def. de Randamie by unanimous decision (49-44, 49-45, 49-46). Not the performance people were expecting from Nunes, but it was one that further exemplifies how great she really is. Instead of controlling the action on the feet, Nunes took de Randamie on the ground and outwrestled her.
At this point, who can beat Nunes?
Round 5: Much the same as we saw in the last couple rounds. Game, set, match to the champion. (10-9, Nunes; 50-44, Nunes)
Round 4: Things got a bit dicey for Nunes as de Randamie flipped her over into an inverted triangle choke. De Randamie didn’t have the grappling ability to put Nunes away. Nunes squirmed her way out and regained position for the rest of the round. De Randamie needs a stoppage to win. (10-9, Nunes; 40-35, Nunes)
Round 3: If people thought Nunes couldn’t grapple, think again. She’s putting on a clinic. De Randamie has to start thinking about just letting it go and going all out. (10-9, Nunes; 30-26, Nunes)
Round 2: Great bounce-back round for de Randamie. She rocked Nunes with a head kick and a series of knees. When she needed to turn the tide, however, Nunes took de Randamie down and controlled the action on the ground. If de Randamie can keep it on the feet, things could switch in her favor. (10-9, Nunes; 20-17, Nunes)
Round 1: How did de Randamie survive? Whether it was on the feet or on the ground, Nunes laid a beating on her the entire round. Nunes had de Randamie nearly choked out and almost battered her with a barrage of punches on the ground. Nunes outlanded de Randamie 39-9 in significant strikes. What can de Randamie do to make it a fight? (10-8, Nunes)
11:23 p.m.: It is time for the first title fight at UFC 245: Amanda Nunes defends her women’s bantamweight title against No. 1-ranked Germaine de Randamie in a rematch. Nunes won the first fight in November 2013 by first-round TKO.
Nunes (18-4) is on one of the greatest runs in MMA history. The Brazilian is riding a nine-fight winning streak, with seven of those coming by stoppage against the likes of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Holly Holm.
De Randamie (9-3) has won five consecutive fights, including a victory over Holm at UFC 208 to become the first women’s featherweight champion. De Randamie stopped Aspen Ladd in 16 seconds to earn this shot at Nunes and attempt to become a two-division world champion,
Will we see a repeat performance from Nunes, or will de Randamie beat the woman many pundits feel is the greatest female fighter of all time?
Marlon Moraes wins split decision over Jose Aldo
11:20 p.m.: Moraes def. Aldo by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28). An extremely close fight that came down to how you viewed the first round. Aldo won the second and Moraes won the third. The first was close until Moraes took down Aldo near the end. Aldo applied constant pressure and had Octagon control throughout but the judges saw things differently.
That was a very winnable fight for Aldo. Moraes was there for the taking and Aldo played it safe in the final round thinking he had it in the bag. You can never assume anything when you leave it in the hands of the judges.
10:58 p.m.: Great first round with the fighters delivering lightning-quick strikes. Just about what you’d expect. Aldo had the advantage. Moraes was already tired when he walked back to his corner. Something to keep your eye on.
10:47 p.m.: Coming up next at UFC 245: No. 1-ranked Marlon Moraes vs. Jose Aldo in bantamweight action. Moraes (22-6, one no-contest) returns after losing to Henry Cejudo for the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 238. Aldo (28-5) makes his debut at 135 pounds after reigning supreme for nearly a decade at featherweight.
Can Aldo make a sucessful debut at the new weight, or will Moraes give him a rude awakening?
Petr Yan KOs Urijah Faber, calls for title shot vs. Henry Cejudo
10:33 p.m: Yan def. Faber by knockout at 0:43 of the third round. Yan nearly finished Faber in the second round when he dropped him with a three-punch combination. Moments later, a series of heavy shots bloodied Faber and left him with horrific swelling right under his left eye. The ringside doctor looked at the swelling and allowed Faber to continue. Yan made sure he didn’t let Faber make it to the bell. They were battling in the clinch and Yan flicked a front kick to send Faber packing and put him out of his misery.
After the fight, Yan said he wanted to take a crack at bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo. If I’m Cejudo, I wouldn’t be jumping up and down for that fight.
10:19 p.m.: Kicking off the UFC 245 main card is No. 4-ranked Petr Yan taking on No. 12-ranked Urijah Faber in bantamweight action. Yes, you read that correctly — the legend Faber is opening the main show. Yan (13-1) has won eight fights in a row to establish himself as a serious contender at 135 pounds. Faber (35-10) returned after 31-month layoff to knock out Ricky Simon in just 46 seconds in July. Yan has a chance to cement his place in a big way; Faber can catapult himself into a title shot. Goosebumps.
9:43 p.m.: Geoff Neal closes out the UFC 245 prelims in style by blasting Mike Perry in just 90 seconds. It all started when a high kick by Neal staggered Perry. Neal took his time until he dropped Perry to the canvas and became the first man to beat him by strikes. That’s seven consecutive wins for Neal, with five of those coming in the UFC. Neal feels he’s two to three more fights away from a title shot at welterweight. There’s something special in Neal. Watch out, because he’s coming for whoever has the gold after UFC 245.
9:21 p.m.: What a knockout by Aldana, finishing Vieira with nine seconds remaining in the first round. A picture-perfect left hook followed by two devastating right hands sent Vieira packing. A new contender has emerged at 135 pounds, and with new opposition lacking, this could be a fresh foe for Nunes if she gets by de Randamie.
9:10 p.m.: Significant fight right now between No. 2-ranked women’s bantamweight Ketlen Vieira against No. 10-ranked Irene Aldana. The winner, especially Vieira, will be in prime position for the winner of the Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie title bout later in the show.
8:27 p.m.: Matt Brown gets it done after a two-year layoff to rehab injuries, knocking out Ben Saunders in the second round. The finish puts Brown in a tie for second all time in UFC with 11 knockouts, one behind Vitor Belfort.
8:15 p.m.: Bruce Buffer gets an A-plus for the outfit.
8:11 p.m. ET: Welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage of UFC 245. An exciting night of action is ahead of us. Grab everything you will need for the evening and join SN for all the fun.
UFC 245 undercard results
- Geoff Neal def. Mike Perry at 1:30 of the first round; welterweights.
- Irene Aldana def. Ketlen Vieira by knockout at 4:51 of the first round; women’s bantamweights.
- Omari Akhmedov def. Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28); middleweights.
- Matt Brown def. Ben Saunders by knockout at 4:55 of the second round; welterweights.
- Chase Hooper def. Daniel Teymur via TKO at 4:34 of the first-round; featherweights.
- Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28); flyweights.
- Jessica Eye def. Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28); women’s strawweights.
- Punahele Soriano def. Oskar Piechota by knockout at 3:17 of the first round; middleweights.
UFC 245 fight card
- Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Colby Covington for Usman’s welterweight title
- Max Holloway (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski for Holloway’s featherweight title
- Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Germaine de Randamie for Nunes’ women’s featherweight title
- Marlon Moraes vs. José Aldo; bantamweights
- Petr Yan vs. Urijah Faber; bantamweights
- Geoff Neal vs. Mike Perry; welterweights
- Ketlen Vieira vs. Irene Aldana; women’s bantamweights
- Ian Heinisch vs. Omari Akhmedov; middleweights
- Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders; welterweights
- Chase Hooper vs. Daniel Teymur; featherweights
- Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France; flyweights
- Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araújo; women’s flyweights
- Punahele Soriano vs. Oskar Piechota; middleweights
UFC 245 latest news
— Kamaru Usman has made his disdain for Colby Covington well known. The 170-pound champion tells Sporting News he’s ready to put end to the charade of the ” studio gangster .”
— It’s safe to say Covington and UFC president Dana White won’t be exchanging Christmas cards. Covington tells SN heading into the biggest fight of his career that White “absolutely” wants him to lose to Usman.
— Amanda Nunes makes perfectly clear to SN her thoughts about Covington, her teammate at American Top Team.
— Who wants to see Nunes against arguably the best female boxer in the world, Claressa Shields ? Nunes tells SN that if the megafight occurs, it will be on her terms.