Weekend Warrior: Title Tripleheader Fronts UFC 245
A feud that has thus far consisted only of words will finally turn physical when Kamaru Usman defends his undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight crown against American Top Team’s Colby Covington in the UFC 245 headliner on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Two other title fights flank the five-round Usman-Covington showdown, as Max Holloway puts his featherweight championship on the line against Alexander Volkanovski and Amanda Nunes risks her women’s bantamweight belt against Germaine de Randamie.
Cover Photo: Dylan Buell / Stringer (Getty Images)
Usman, 32, enters the cage on a 14-fight winning streak that covers nearly six full years. The Hard Knocks 365 rep burst on the Ultimate Fighting Championship scene by winning Season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, then rattled off eight straight victories before removing Tyron Woodley from the 170-pound throne in March. Usman was a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler for the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he won a national championship at the Division II level in 2010.
One of MMA’s most polarizing figures, Covington’s stock has never been higher. The 31-year-old Clovis, California, native finds himself on a run of seven consecutive wins, the last three of which have come against 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and onetime UFC welterweight titleholder Robbie Lawler. Covington was a two-time Pac-10 Conference wrestling champion at Oregon State University, where he earned All-America honors in 2011.
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UFC 245 “Usman vs. Covington”—which streams live to ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—also features a pair of pivotal bantamweight battles, as Marlon Moraes meets Jose Aldo and Petr Yan faces Urijah Faber. ESPN2 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the eight-fight undercard: Geoff Neal vs. Mike Perry, Ketlen Vieira vs. Irene Aldana, Ian Heinisch vs. Omari Akhmedov, Matt Brown vs. Ben Saunders, Chase Hooper vs. Daniel Teymur, Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France, Jessica Eye vs. Viviane Araujo and Punahele Soriano vs. Oskar Piechota.