Colby Covington Returns With Dominant Victory Over Tyron Woodley
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, September 20, 2020
In a battle of bitter welterweight rivals, Colby Covington dominated former champion Tyron Woodley, earning a fifth round victory, when Woodley couldn’t continue due to a rib injury early in the final stanza.
Both fighters came into this one with something to prove. Woodley suffered back to back losses to Kasmaru Usman and Gilbert Burns raising questions about the former champ’s future. Covington was looking to reestablish his presence after losing decisively to Usman.
Despite the hype leading to the fight between the two former sparring partners, the first three rounds were largely uneventful, Covington the busier fighter and holding a decided edge in significant strikes. The last three minutes of the third round were particularly unexciting with Woodley pressed up against the fence defending Covington’s takedown attempts.
The championship rounds told the story. Covington got Woodley to the mat early in round four and landed a barrage of blows, opening a serious cut on Woodley’s right eye with some vicious elbow strikes. As was the case in his previous two fights, Woodley seemed unable to launch any serious offense and unwilling to press the issue. The end came in round five when Woodley, with Covington on top of him, yelled in pain, with an apparent rib injury while attempting to apply a guillotine. Referee Dan Miragliotta promptly called an end to the fight.
The win improves Covington’s UFC record to 11-2 and after the fight, following a congratulatory phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump, Covington renewed his war of words with Usman, calling for a rematch.
In the co main event, Niko “The Hybrid” Price and veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerone fought to a majority draw in a highly entertaining welterweight slugfest. It was a record setting 36th UFC appearance for the Cowboy who served notice that he still has a lot left in the tank.
Price battered Cerone early and often from the start, landing forty significant strikes in the first two and a half minutes. But Price had a point deducted by referee Jason Herzog after poking Cerone in the eye for a second time and the round ended with Cerone clearly having weathered the storm. The second round was more closely contested, with both fighters landing some heavy blows. Cerone landed a crushing right elbow to Price’s left eye but Price regrouped and finished the round strong, landing a flurry of punches and knee strikes. The third round was delayed briefly following a double eye poke and when the fight resumed it appeared the final three minutes could be the decider. In the end, the majority draw was the just decision, the point deduction in the opening round ultimately costing Price the victory.
In other action from the main card, middleweight Kevin Holland earned a hard fought split decision victory over Darren Stewart. Holland enjoyed a significant strike advantage which gave him the first two rounds but Stewart had a lot left for the final frame. He managed to get Holland to the canvas and deliver some serious ground and pound but Holland survived to capture his nineteenth victory against five losses.
In a spirited light heavyweight scrap between ranked fighters, Johnny Walker recovered from an early knockdown to score an impressive knockout of Ryan Spann at 2:42 of the opening round. Spann landed a vicious left that floored Walker, but Walker avoided further damage and managed to get back to his feet. Both fighters then simultaneously landed staggering blows and Span tried to follow up, pressing Walker against the fence. But Walker landed a series of elbows that left Span crumpled on the mat, bringing an end to the bout.
With the light heavyweight title vacated by Jon Jones, the win moves Walker up the ladder in the contender conversation. He could be a likely opponent for the winner of the light heavyweight championship fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253 next Saturday.
Rounding out the card, in a stunning display, it took seventeen seconds and one punch - a devastating right hand- for middleweight Khamzat Chimaev to knock out Gerald Meerschaert and remain unbeaten.
In a women’s strawweight scrap, MacKenzie Dern earned a first round submission victory via an arm bar over Canadian Randa Markos.
The UFC presents what promises to be another exciting card, returning to Fight Island next Saturday with UFC 253. In the headliner, Israel Adesanya defends his middleweight title against Paulo Costa, and in another title bout Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz battle for the vacant light heavyweight title.