Considering what the striking game of Rafael dos Anjos has done to the likes of Anthony Pettis, Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone, among others, a lot of folks believe Colby Covington will look to the fight down tonight at UFC 225. But, it sounds like Dana White isn’t in that camp.
Dos Anjos and Covington are going to square off in the co-main event of tonight’s card, and the winner will walk away with the interim welterweight title. The bout is going down after the former lightweight champ, dos Anjos, has gone 3-0 since returning to 170. Covington, meanwhile, is riding a five fight winning streak.
Following the weigh-ins for UFC 225, White was asked for his take on RDA – Covington, while speaking to the media. Here’s what the UFC President had to say:
“It’s interesting. One of the first thing, everytime there’s a grudge match and the two guys hate each other, the fight usually sucks. So, hopefully that’s not the case tomorrow. You’re always expecting these guys to run right out and start attacking each other, and it never happens. I think that it’s pretty obvious Colby Covington is a good wrestler; he’s going to try to keep the thing standing, and he’s going to try to use that low leg kick to the calf that he did on Demian Maia, to RDA.”
“I just think that RDA is a very well rounded fighter; has a ton of tools, and it should be a good fight. Hopefully. Hopefully the break the trend.”
First off, White is definitely right about the fact that far too often, ‘grudge matches’ fail to deliver on the hype. Often, because of the animosity, they’re hesitant to fire and take risks, and it leads to a disappointing contest.
But, White’s belief that Covington will try to use his wrestling in reverse, and keep the bout is standing is pretty interesting no? Could this happen? It’s possible. While Covington isn’t known exactly for his striking, you don’t get to where he’s at, without being competent on your feet. Further, if dos Anjos appears to be overly concerned about Covington’s take downs, maybe “Chaos” will find some holes in RDA’s defense that he can exploit standing.
That said, while RDA is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and is certainly a threat on the ground, most would agree that he’s not the force Demian Maia is off of his back. Further, RDA’s stand-up is significantly better and more comprehensive than Maia’s. Dos Anjos has a punishing left straight as well as nasty, nasty kicks. Covington bested Maia on the feet during their bout, but the striking exchanges did prompt some to question how “Chaos” would do against dangerous strikers, if he wasn’t able to get the fight down. Like say against Tyron Woodley.
So, if Covington does go out tonight and beats RDA without turning to his wrestling game, it will certainly deliver a compelling message that he’s a much more dangerous fighter than most people thought.