Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom Demian Maia was described by Darren Till last week as the toughest fight in the welterweight division, but the bookies are rating his opponent Colby Covington as the favorite to get the W in Sao Paulo in their co-main event bout.
Covington’s brand of smothering, high-pressure wrestling has seen him move up the welterweight ranks, but against Maia he faces not only a two-time former world title challenger, but also the most dangerous submission artist in any weight class in the UFC.
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Covington has the game to take Maia to the mat and keep him there for three full rounds, but does he have enough smarts to keep out of trouble on the mat for 15 full minutes?
That’s the big question here, as the trash-talking American makes the biggest step up in class of his MMA career to date.
As for Maia, he’s a perennial contender and remains a serious threat at the sharp end of the UFC’s 170lb division.
It’s a pick’em fight, so we’re going with the underdog. Maia offers more fight finishing possibilities than Covington, for whom a decision win seems his most likely route to victory. And the Brazilian has a significant experience advantage, having operated at a much higher level than Covington throughout his UFC career.
A win for Covington would see him break into the upper echelons of the welterweight division, but in a head-to-head comparison, Maia offers by far the best value here.
PICK: MAIA BY SUBMISSION
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