Love him or hate him, Colby Covington cemented his spot as the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division after a lopsided performance against Robbie Lawler in the UFC Fight Night main event from Newark.
Covington kept a blistering pace throughout all five rounds mixing up a volume striking attack with a suffocating grappling game to stifle Lawler in virtually every exchange over 25 minutes. When the fight was over, Covington knew he had secured the victory with the scorecards reading 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45.
“Let’s talk about the lesson we learned tonight,” Covington shouted while being showered in boos from the Newark crowed. “It’s a strong lesson that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy Matt Hughes — you stay off the tracks when a train’s coming, junior.
“Don’t matter if it’s the [Donald] Trump train or the Colby train, get out the way!”
Following more than a year away, Covington didn’t skip a beat coming after Lawler on the feet before then transitioning to his suffocating wrestling game.
Time and again, Covington pressured Lawler against the cage before grabbing on the legs and then dumping the former welterweight champion down on the ground. Covington was smothering Lawler with his pressure on the canvas, constantly moving and working to improve his position.
The pace was relentless with Covington doing more of the same in the second round while pushing Lawler backwards with his takedown attempts. Covington refused to give Lawler a second to breathe as he was constantly in his face, keeping the pressure ratcheted up during every exchange.
While Covington had to be wary of Lawler’s power, he even showed willingness to trade strikes with a notorious knockout artist. Covington was throwing punches in bunches and even managed to land a kick to the body that reverberated throughout the Prudential Center.
The volume of strikes just continued to chip away at Lawler as Covington’s confidence continued to swell. Covington’s fearlessness to stay on the feet with Lawler was incredibly impressive not to mention the sheer volume of strikes he mounted round after round.
Any time Lawler found an opening to show any kind of aggression, Covington would stifle him with another takedown attempt before grinding him against the cage while dishing out even more punishment.
In the end, Covington’s pace, conditioning, wrestling and volume striking attack just got the better of Lawler in virtually every minute of every round over 25 minutes.
With his seventh straight win, Covington will now almost assuredly get his long awaited shot at the undisputed welterweight title as champion Kamaru Usman kept a watchful eye on the fight from the broadcast booth.
“Marty Fake Newsman, I don’t want to wait until Nov. 2 in Madison Square Garden, we can do it tonight,” Covington said. “We can do it right now. Where you at? I’m coming for you.”
Covington and Usman have engaged in a bitter war of words over the past couple of years and now it appears they are finally on a collision course for a title fight later this year.