Weekend Warrior: UFC on ESPN 5 Gets Welterweight Shootout

Cover Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

Colby Covington has one more hurdle to clear, and it figures to be a doozy. The American Top Team standout will meet Robbie Lawler in the UFC on ESPN 5 headliner this Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, where a win would likely cement the former NCAA All-American wrestler as the No. 1 contender for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title. Meanwhile, Jim Miller battles Clay Guida in a co-main event showdown between two of the lightweight division’s elder statesmen.

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Colby Covington kicks Rafael Dos Anjos. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

Covington wrestled collegiately at Oregon State University, where he was a two-time conference champion and compiled a 65-10 record. He transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2012 and soon established himself as one of the sport’s top prospects. Covington has won nine of his 10 fights since joining the UFC roster a little less than five years ago, including victories over Dong Hyun Kim, Demian Maia, and Rafael dos Anjos. He last appeared at UFC 225 in June 2018, when he took a unanimous decision from dos Anjos and laid claim to the interim welterweight championship. Covington was later stripped of the title after undergoing sinus surgery.

Lawler finds himself on a two-fight losing streak and has not competed since his controversial submission defeat to former Bellator MMA champion Ben Askren at UFC 235 on March 2. The 37-year-old Hard Knocks 365 representative remains one of MMA’s most devastating punchers, with 20 of his 28 professional wins coming by knockout or technical knockout. Lawler’s resume includes victories over Rory MacDonald (twice), Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit, and Donald Cerrone.

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Robbie Lawler lifts Ben Askren. Photo: Isaac Brekken (Getty Images)

UFC on ESPN 5 “Covington vs. Lawler”—which airs live on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT—also features a middleweight scrap matching Trevin Giles with Gerald Meerschaert, a light heavyweight battle pitting Darko Stosic against Kennedy Nzechukwu and a pair of lightweight affairs, as Joaquim Silva confronts Nasrat Haqparast and Scott Holtzman faces Dong Hyun Ma. ESPN will also carry the entire six-fight undercard at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.

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