Combat sports fans are in for a treat on Saturday as Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley go head-to-head at UFC Fight Night 178 in Las Vegas.
The two fighters have made no secret of their disdain for each other and that bitterness is fully expected to come to the fore when the bout gets underway.
Covington and Woodley head into the contest on the back of comprehensive defeats in their most recent outings and they will be eager to regain the winning thread. Read on as we preview the fight.
Woodley in the Last-Chance Saloon
Woodley has a major point to prove this weekend having suffered defeats in his last two contests against Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns.
The former welterweight champion is priced at 11/4 to beat Covington and there will be plenty of punters using the BetMGM bonus code to back him to win at what appear to be generous odds.
The 38-year-old had looked to be on a downward spiral in those two fights and he will need to step up his game when he faces Covington.
Another loss could see Woodley drop out of the top 10 in the rankings for the first time since 2014 and he simply has to win if he has designs on securing another title shot.
Covington on a Recovery Mission
Covington failed in his attempt to win the welterweight title following a bruising encounter with Usman at UFC 245.
Usman broke Covington’s jaw during the contest and it will be interesting to see whether he will be able to withstand an onslaught from Woodley.
Covington’s questionable political views have generated plenty of heat around the UFC, making him one of the most hated fighters in the company.
The Californian-born fighter has repeatedly bad-mouthed Woodley in the past and the animosity should lead to a brutal bout this weekend.
The Beef is Real for Woodley
Woodley has predicted a bitter end to the fight with Covington, highlighting just how real the beef is between the pair.
During a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Woodley forecasted that his big rival would be left to regret stepping into the Octagon with him.
“I want to knock him out to the point that when they’re raising my hand and they’re talking, they’re still gathering him,” he said. “Hopefully, they’re stretchering him out and trying to get his legs to unstiffen, and still trying to get the mouthpiece out of his mouth.
“No, I’m not gonna shake his hand. I’m not gonna shake his coach’s hand most likely. This is for real for me.”
Covington Says Rivalry is ‘Beyond Personal’
Covington is the odds-on favorite with William Hill to defeat Woodley and he is supremely confident that he will achieve the feat.
The 32-year-old desperately needs to bounce back from losing against Usman and believes that his former training partner will provide him with a route back to the big time in the UFC.
“This rivalry is beyond personal - you know this is for bragging rights for the rest of our lives,” he said. “This fight sells in so many different ways you know, we used to be teammates you know - The Republican, liberal angle.
“The hatred we genuinely have for each other, so I think we will see the best Tyron Woodley we have seen in this fight.”
UFC Fight Night 178 Line-Up
Colby Covington vs Tyron Woodley – Welterweight
Donald Cerrone vs Niko Price – Welterweight
Khamzat Chimaev vs Gerald Meerschaert - Middleweight
Johnny Walker vs Ryan Spann - Light Heavyweight
Mackenzie Dern vs Randa Markos - Women’s Strawweight
Kevin Holland vs Darren Stewart - Middleweight
Mirsad Bektic vs Luiz Garagorri - Featherweight
Mayra Bueno Silva vs Mara Romero Borella - Women’s Flyweight
Jordan Espinosa vs David Dvorak - Flyweight
Jessica-Rose Clark vs Sarah Alpar - Women’s Bantamweight
Journey Newson vs Randy Costa - Bantamweight
Andre Ewell vs Irwin Rivera - Bantamweight
Darrick Minner vs T.J. Laramie – Featherweight
Covington vs Woodley Prediction: Woodley cannot afford to lose another fight and that makes him a dangerous opponent for Covington.
However, his talents appeared to be waning against Burns and Covington should be able to pick up the win inside the distance.