Colby Covington bested his bitter rival Jorge Masvidal tonight at UFC 272 by outwrestling him for much of the five rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory.
Masvidal bursts forward and fakes as if he’s going to go for a jumping knee, but doesn’t commit to it.
Covington comes up short with a punch. Leg kick from Masvidal and Covington seemed to feel that.
Covington drives into his first takedown attempt and Masvidal complains of an eyepoke. Nevertheless he’s trying his best to stay upright against the cage as Covington tries to bring him down.
Covington does partially get him down but the battles continues as Masvidal throws a few elbows backwards as he rises back up.
Covington working to his back and gets him down to his knees again. He stays patient and works from half-guard as he looks to get to a stronger position.
Eventually Covington gets to full mount, but then Masvidal is able to escape and rises up soon afterwards, with Covington landing an elbow on the way.
Striking range now and Masvidal grins. They look to strike in the final seconds of the round, with nothing landing too meaningfully.
Covington gets a warning for his early eyepoke which ref Herb Dean saw in a replay inbetween rounds.
Head kick from Covington is blocked and he slipped to the mat off that, but gets back up.
Solid low kick from Masvidal and tries to land a punch behind it. Inside leg kick for Masvidal. Covington partially gets through with a head kick, but Masvidal doesn’t flinch.
Solid body kick from Masvidal after the jab. Another body kick with less power. Right hand for Masvidal. Hook from Covington and then drives into a takedown against the cage. Masvidal counters with elbows to the head though.
Covington sticks to his task and Masvidal works hard to stay upright. Knee from Covington strays to the groin and forces a brief stoppage.
Masvidal recovers fairly quickly and they go back to it. Wide right hook lands for Covington. He throws hard again and tries for a knee that doesn’t land.
Covington with a takedown attempt and Masvidal turns him into the cage and disengages.
Masvidal lands a couple of solid punches and Covington fires back. Leg kick from Masvidal knocks Covington off his feet. Masvidal also on the mat and trying to back away, but Covington spins around to try and get his back and keep him on the mat.
Masvidal able to stand though. Jab from Covington and tries for a takedown that doesn’t work out. A couple of nice punches land for Masvidal.
Knee to the body from Masvidal, but then he eats a couple of hard punches from Covington, who then clinches up against the cage for the final few seconds.
Head kick attempt from mavidal is blocked. Now Covington tries for one of his own and Masvidal backs away.
Covington with a takedown attempt and Masvidal stuffs it this time. Covington marching forward and Masvidal lands a straight punch.
Covington pumps the jab then a right hand to set up a takedown attempt that he gets this time.
Covington settles into full guard with four minutes to work. Covington lands to the body and then connects with some hard elbows to the head.
More elbows and now a hook too. Heavy right hand lands too. Back to the body work. Covington passes to half-guard. Masvidal tries to get out from under him, but Covington passes to side-control.
He’s soon working from half-guard again and landing more punches. Masvidal giving up his back and Covington tries to get a rear-naked choke, but he’s not got it under the chin. He gives up on that, but soon after tries again and has a crank, but Masvidal turns into him and tries for a takedown of his own.
However, it’s Covington who ends up back on top with Masvidal turtling up. Masvidal does manage to stand though and lands a hard left hand.
Now a right hook from Masvidal that backs up Covington, but the round ends before he can capitalize on that further.
They both feel out with punches. Two leg kicks for Masvidal. Head kick attempt from Covington is blocked. Covington tries for a takedown and it’s stuffed.
Covington with a couple of punches to set up another takedown attempt against the cage. Masvidal defending for now and gets away as Covington fails on a single leg.
Covington punches his way back into the clinch against the cage though. Covington disengages but then lands a good uppercut. He tries to duck into a takedown immediately after, but Masvidal is defending it for now.
A couple of knees to the body from Masvidal as they continue to battle in the clinch. Masvidal breaks free. He tries for a knee to the body but misses. jabs for Covington and then a head kick attempt.
Flurry of punches from Covington against the cage and Masvidal seems a bit dazed from that and has to cover up. More punches follow, but Masvidal survives.
In close Masvidal lands an elbow upstairs and then a body kick. He lands a big right hook and Covington’s knees buckle, but he just about stays upright.
Masvidal lands a couple of punches, but not showing as much urgency as perhaps he should here. Covington starts to punch back again as he gets his second wind and Masvidal looks a bit tired as he attempts a telegraphed spinning kick to end the round.
Left hands land from Covington and gets into the clinch. Masvidal trying to land strikes, but gets taken down in the process.
Masvidal trying to get his back to the cage, but Covington spins around to his back. Now Covington tries to sink in a choke, but doesn’t quite get it and Masvidal rises to his feet. Covington still has his back though and is trying to drag him back down.
Masvidal goes to his knees. Covington shifts position. Masvidal turtled up and Covington trying to get his hooks in.
Covington gets some punches through under the arms as Masvidal remains turtled up. They scramble and Masvidal almost latches onto a single-leg, but Covington spins around and has the back again as Masvidal is trying to sit against the cage.
Final minute of the fight and Covington has almost secured full mount. He’s not quite able to though and so he moves around to the back again and looks for the choke again.
He gives up on that to go for full mount again. There’s a scramble in the final seconds and Covington goes for a few last ground and pound punches, while Masvidal aims an upkick at him as the bell sounds.
So Covington was able to implement his clinch work and takedowns to control the action and managed to endure after being rocked by a powerful right hook in the fourth round on his way to a unanimous decision win over his rival (49-46, 50-44, 50-45).