Taking on former friend turned bitter rival Jorge Masvidal on Saturday night, Covington depended on his wrestling to pour on the punishment round after round to secure a lopsided decision win after five rounds. Covington earned a unanimous decision with the scorecards all in his favor as the judges gave him the fight 50-44, 50-45 and 49-46.
There was definitely no hug or handshake afterwards but Covington was more than ready to put Masvidal behind him as he decided to then take aim at yet another ex-teammate he hopes to fight next.
“I just took care of Miami street trash, now it’s time to take care of Louisiana swamp trash,” Covington shouted. “Where you at Dustin Poirier, you c***. You said it’s on sight. Name the site, Dustin. Bring that jezebel of a wife and bring that little kid and I’ll see you soon. You’re next.”
Before calling out Poirier for a future fight, Covington first had to dispatch Masvidal, which he did in rather convincing fashion.
The strategy wasn’t flashy but it was definitely effective as Covington was resigned to rush forward, look for the takedown and then make Masvidal try to scratch and claw his way free from the canvas. For the majority of the fight, Covington was draped on Masvidal after dragging him to the ground and he barely gave his opponent any chance to break free.
While Masvidal was defending early, Covington was just stuck on top of him applying pressure as he continued to advance his position and peppering away with punches. It was evident that Covington was largely using his striking to set up his wrestling as he continuously looked for the takedowns against the cage.
In the moments when he got room to work, Masvidal was catching Covington with his punches including a shot that opened a cut over the eye. Still the time at distance was minimal as Covington was constantly advancing and trying to push Masvidal against the fence.
Masvidal was doing his best to land punches whenever Covington would rush forward but the aggression was nearly unavoidable. Again and again, Covington was snatching the takedown and that’s where he really started to do damage, especially when he was able to smash away at his former teammate with elbows.
It seemed with each passing minute that Covington was just inching closer and closer to a lopsided win but Masvidal refused to go away. The tides nearly turned when Masvidal clipped Covington with a hard right hand midway through the fourth round that dropped the former interim champion down to his knee.
With Covington wobbled, Masvidal tried to surge ahead but he couldn’t really mount anymore offense that would have allowed him to finish the fight. Ultimately that was the one moment where Masvidal could have potentially pulled off the upset because Covington had no intention of giving him an inch for the rest of the fight.
Much like the majority of the fight, Covington spent the final round hanging on Masvidal as he continued to pour on the punishment as he secured the victory in the grudge match. Deflated after a difficult loss, Masvidal admitted that his grappling failed him against the former All-American wrestler from Oregon State.
“I needed to wrestle harder,” Masvidal said. “My wrestling wasn’t there today, I was flat. Wrestling was off today, I didn’t have it today.”
The win settles a long standing beef between Covington and Masvidal that dates back to the days when they were both training at American Top Team in Florida. Obviously the loss will sting for Masvidal for quite some time while Covington appears ready to move onto another grudge match with Poirier, who has teased a potential move to welterweight in the past.
There’s no telling if the UFC will actually book that fight but Covington clearly wants Poirier next while still pursuing a future goal of becoming welterweight champion.