UFC 272: Covington vs. Masvidal
March 5, 2022
Emrick’s UFC Fighter Pick Record (15-8)
Early Prelim Predictions:
LHW: Dustin Jacoby (16-5-1) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4)
- Pick: Dustin Jacoby (-180)
LW: Devonte Smith (11-3) vs. Ľudovít Klein (17-4)
- Pick: Devonte Smith (-150)
FLY: #13 Tim Elliott (18-12-1) vs. #15 Tagir Ulanbekov (14-1)
- Pick: Tagir Ulanbekov (-250)
FW: Brian Kelleher (24-12) vs. Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0)
- Pick: Umar Nurmagomedov (-900)
W FLY: Maryna Moroz (10-3) vs. Mariya Agapova (10-2)
- Pick: Mariya Agapova (-170)
LHW: Nicolae Negumereanu (11-1) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-2)
- Pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu (-135)
W STRAW: #3 Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) vs. #4 Yan Xiaonan (13-2, 1 NC)
- Pick: Marina Rodriguez (-275)
LW: Jalin Turner (11-5) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (14-4)
- Pick: Jamie Mullarkey (+120)
Main Card Predictions:
HW: Sergey Spivak (13-3) vs. Greg Hardy (7-4, 1 NC)
- Deciding Factor: Hardy’s gas tank just can’t keep up, especially against proven fighters like Spivak. As long as Spivak doesn’t get caught, such as the Tom Aspinall fight, he should be able to outwrestle and drain Hardy. I’m thinking a submission or UD in play for Spivak Saturday night.
- Pick: Sergey Spivak (-190)
WW: #14 MW Kevin Holland (21-7, 1 NC) vs. Alex Oliveira (22-11-1, 2 NC)
- Deciding Factor: Holland’s cut down to welterweight makes him arguably more dangerous than before. His size and striking ability, along with some improved grappling/wrestling skills, should help him shutdown a less-skilled Oliveira within the distance. This is unfortunate matchmaking for Oliveira, who is seeing a 3 fight losing streak, 2 of which coming via 1st round submission. Neither fighter has won since 2020 and I expect Holland to drop his skid via TKO with his 4” height and 5” reach advantage.
- Pick: Kevin Holland (-410)
FW: #10 Edson Barboza (22-10) vs. #11 Bryce Mitchell (14-1)
- Deciding Factor: Mitchell is going to bring the pressure, but will his abilities on the mat surpass Barboza’s takedown defense? Barboza has historically been great with his takedown defense, posting a statline in that category of 78% in the UFC. However, he did struggle against wrestle-heavy opponents in Kevin Lee and Khabib Nurmagomedov, as he was outstruck 76-231 and also taken down a combined 8 times in those two matches. Barboza has also been down a rough stretch, losing 6 of his past 9 bouts, mostly against high-caliber ranked opponents. Mitchell is another opponent who is considered a solid prospect at the #11 ranked featherweight spot. He only lands just under 50% of his takedowns, but the pressure is constant. Mitchell has landed 14 of 30 takedown attempts in his undefeated UFC career thus far, averaging over 3 takedowns per fight. He’s attempted to make the most of his work in the clinch, as Mitchell has attempted 10 submission attempts and has outstruck opponents in 4 of his 5 fights. I respect the power that Barboza possesses, as he has a good opportunity to win this in a standup battle, but I think time may have caught up to him as he enters his 27th UFC fight. Almost a coin flip, I have to side with the clinch-specialist in Mitchell to wear down Barboza for 15 minutes or gain a potential submission before time runs out.
- Pick: Bryce Mitchell (-160)
CW (160 lbs.): #6 LW Rafael dos Anjos (30-13) vs. Renato Moicano (16-4-1)
- Deciding Factor: It’s been so hard to pick a fighter coming in on short notice lately (ex: Dan Hooker and Bobby Green), and I think the trend continues here. RDA is no joke, posting an admirable career thus far as a champion and racking up fights in the promotion since 2008. However, Rafael Dos Anjos may have been cold lately, losing 4 of his past 6 between 2018 and 2020. Although this looks brutal, these losses came to top contenders in Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards, and Michael Chiesa. In 43 professional fights, he’s only been stopped on 3 occasions, most recently being 2016 to Eddie Alvarez. I am worried that his long layoff from the promotion – RDA didn’t fight in 2021 – could put him in a funk to start the fight, this 5 round co-main event gives him plenty of time to find his groove. Moicano is a great prospect in the UFC, but his chin has been in an issue against ranked opponents such as Jose Aldo, Chan Sung Jung, and Rafael Fiziev. If Moicano can’t get a submission early, we’ll get to see a fresher and well-accustomed to 5 rounds RDA push the pace and drain Moicano’s gast tank with time. RDA has also been past the 3rd round 8 times in his career, something that Moicano has yet to do. Look for a UD victory or a TKO in the championship rounds by Rafael dos Anjos against the less experienced fighter on short notice.
- Pick: Rafael dos Anjos (-170)
WW: #1 Colby Covington (16-3) vs. #6 Jorge Masvidal (35-15)
- Deciding Factor: Although I disagree with the current odds being as heavy as they are on Covington, his ability to go through the deep waters with the P4P champ in Kamaru Usman was damn impressive. Masvidal has the skills to go out and chase a finish, but he hasn’t been able to win via decision since 2016. There’s some mystery to how Masvidal will bounce back from his TKO loss to Usman in his previous fight, which is why I just feel like Covington is the safer and more confident play. Expect this headliner to go past the halfway mark and Covington to look to shoot multiple takedowns in a potential UD.
- Pick: Colby Covington (-335)