article featured image background
Article preview

UFC 268 – Usman vs. Covington Betting Odds, Picks, and Preview

MMA Bets

Let’s take a look at the opening odds, early betting pick and breakdown of Saturday’s UFC 268 main event. UFC 268 takes place on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event is of course coming off the heels of UFC 267, which went down in Abu Dhabi last weekend and saw two tremendous title fights.

This weekend again provides two title fights, including the co-main event between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili as they rematch for the strawweight title. However, the main event for Saturday and one of the biggest fights of the year takes place in the welterweight division as Kamaru Usman will look to defend his title against Colby Covington for the second time, following Usman’s knockout victory over Covington at UFC 245 in December of 2019.
Here are the latest odds for Usman vs. Covington 2, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Usman enters this bout as a large favorite priced at -320, meaning you have to lay $320 to win $100 with a bet on the “Nigerian Nightmare.” Covington is entrenched as the underdog with a betting line of +2r50, meaning a $100 bet would profit $250 should the American be able to pull off the upset at the Garden. 



Usman vs. Covington fight breakdown

The UFC has an easy job this weekend when it comes to selling PPVs for UFC 268, as a rematch between Usman and Covington simply sells itself. These two men put on a tremendous title fight in their first matchup. Both Usman and Covington had moments of success in their first fight, but Usman went on to eventually win by knockout. On top of their previous fight, these two men have a genuine disliking for one another that should lead to a heated build-up over the course of fight week.

Usman is considered by many to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter currently in the UFC. He’s 19-1 as a professional and has won 18 consecutive fights while remaining a perfect 14-0 inside the UFC. Much like most champions, there are no clear holes in Usman’s game. He’s a former collegiate wrestler who’s an A+ athlete. Early on in his career, Usman was criticized for his lack of entertaining fights as he was able to just positionally dominate most of his opponents in the wrestling game. However, since moving to Colorado and beginning to train under head coach Trevor Wittman, Usman’s offensive striking has massively improved behind a very sharp jab. Usman has knocked out three of his last four opponents dating back to the first Covington matchup. 

Covington seems to be at the place in his career where he is clearly above every single welterweight on the planet outside of the current champion, similar to what it feels like at 185 pounds with Robert Whittaker having been largely dominant recently outside of his matchup with champ Israel Adesanya. “Chaos” is 11-2 in the UFC and is the former interim welterweight champion, which is a belt he secured against Rafael Dos Anjos in 2018 before being stripped of the belt prior to unifying his championship. Stylistically, Covington is a volume-based fighter in both the wrestling and striking facets of MMA and relies on pushing a ridiculous pace which he’s able to sustain due to having potentially the best cardio in MMA. In his most recent fight, Covington dominated Tyron Woodley en route to an injury finish. If there’s a knock on Covington, it’s his lack of finishing ability. The American wrestler has only one knockdown over the course of his UFC tenure and is more of a dominant volume-wrestler than a guy who is sustaining a massive amount of top time and getting offensive BJJ going in his fights.

MMA betting picks — UFC 268

UFC 268 is certainly a stacked card, and despite a bunch of exciting fights for us to comb through, the betting lines seem pretty efficient this week. I don’t currently have action on the main event, but I do think it’s a fascinating matchup to dissect. When we look back at the first fight between Usman and Covington, we see a close fight that was ultimately decided in the standup for the entirety of the 20-plus minutes the fight lasted. The deciding factor in that first fight was ultimately the power that Usman possesses. Neither man even attempted a takedown in their first matchup, which brings us to the main question that must be answered this weekend: What has changed for both men coming into this rematch? The answer for Usman is obvious — his striking is clearly improving with each time he steps in the cage. He was able to out-jab Covington throughout the fight (although he absorbed plenty of jabs himself) yet it was his power that put the fight away. The answer as to what has changed for Covington is much more difficult. We have only seen him in the octagon one time since that first fight and although his performance was mostly dominant against Tyron Woodley, it’s fair to criticize the fact that Woodley was at the end of his career at that point and didn’t offer much resistance. I think it’s fair to assume that Covington will try to switch things up for this rematch, he attempted zero takedowns in the first fight and was out-struck (although marginally) against a striker who has shown a clear level-up since the original fight.

The bottom line here is that as of now, Covington is likely always going to be the hardest test in the division for Usman. Covington is able to match the wrestling skills and cardio of the Nigerian Nightmare, but the fact that he was outstruck two years ago makes it tough to see a clear path for the underdog. While it’s possible Covington has made massive strides while being inactive in the cage, it’s tough to quantify what he’s done without having a sample size proving it. At the same time, it’s tough to back Usman at north of a -300 price tag considering that their first fight was essentially neck and neck headed to the fifth and final round.

Pick: Kamaru Usman by Knockout

Bet: No official play, I thought the over 2.5 rounds at less than -150 was a good bet, but those prices have disappeared. I won’t have action on the moneyline. Many will consider Covington to have value in this spot, but I struggle to see a win condition for him outside of a razor-thin decision. However, this price tag is too much to pay on Usman considering that this fight is likely competitive for long stretches. 

Be sure to check out the FTNBets MMA page for the latest free content, picks, props and more for UFC 266. Want more free content? Check out the Undisputed MMA Show with Jon Kelly and Jonah Shiffman.

Previous Top 3 NFL DraftKings betting picks for Week 8 Next NFL betting trends entering Week 9