UFC Fight Night 178: Covington vs. Woodley Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2020

Colby Covington arrives for a welterweight mixed martial arts bout against Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Guida stopped Miller in the first round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

There's no love lost between Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington, and fans will finally get to see the two lock horns in the main event of UFC Fight Night 178 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The feud between the accomplished welterweights stems all the way back to Covington's work as Woodley's sparring partner early in his career. Woodley has since had a reign as a world champion, while Chaos went from complete unknown to interim champion and title challenger.

On Saturday, the two will finally get to settle their beef in a bout that isn't as big as it could have been but still makes for a good Fight Night headliner.

Elsewhere, Donald Cerrone will make an appearance against Niko Price. It's another interesting fight in the welterweight division, and at middleweight, Khamzat Chimaev tries to take the next step to contention.

Here's a look at the complete offering and a closer look and predictions for the biggest fights on the card.

                     

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Main Card (8 p.m. on ESPN+)

  • Colby Covington (-360; bet $360 to win $100) vs. Tyron Woodley (+275; $100 bet wins $275)
  • Donald Cerrone (+125) vs. Niko Price (-155)
  • Khamzat Chimaev (-400) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+300)
  • Ryan Spann (+100) vs. Johnny Walker (-125)
  • Mackenzie Dern (-177) vs. Randa Markos (+140)
  • Kevin Holland (-265) vs. Darren Stewart (+205)

            

Prelims (5 p.m. on ESPN+)

  • David Dvorak (-112) vs. Jordan Espinosa (-112)
  • Mirsad Bektic (144.5) vs. Damon Jackson (145.5)
  • Mara Romero Borella (+195) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (-250)
  • Sarah Alpar (N/A) vs. Jessica-Rose Clark (N/A)
  • T.J. Laramie (-335) vs. Darrick Minner (+245)
  • Randy Costa (+110) vs. Journey Newson (-197)
  • Andre Ewell (-230) vs. Irwin Rivera (+180)
  • Tyson Nam (-190) vs. Jerome Rivera (+150)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

              

Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley

Both Covington and Woodley are known for their extensive wrestling backgrounds, but they couldn't have more disparate fighting styles.

Woodley is the ever-cautious counter-striker. He's always looking to uncork his massive right hand, but he will patiently wait to use it as a counter while employing his wrestling to make sure he keeps the fight standing.

Conversely, Covington is about living up to his nickname, Chaos. He doesn't have elite power or even impressive technique in the striking game, but what he does have is pressure—unrelenting, unceasing volume. He's as close as it gets to a button-mashing video game fighter come to life.

He looks to mix takedown attempts, clinches and strikes to overwhelm any defense mechanisms a fighter has in place. For all of his divisiveness as a personality, he pairs it with a frustrating style for opponents.

This creates an interesting dynamic in the cage Saturday night. Woodley looked bad in back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. He only attempted three takedowns between the two fights and didn't look anything like the man who once captured the title.

Maybe fighting someone he seems to have genuine disdain for in Covington lights the fire. But it's difficult to see the 38-year-old version of Woodley dealing with the pressure that the 32-year-old Covington will bring to the table.

Prediction: Covington via decision.

                  

Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price

The co-main event is the odds-on favorite to take home Fight of the Night honors, even if that's to the detriment of Cerrone. Cowboy has made a career out of being an action fighter who is down for a scrap wherever, whenever. But lately that has meant taking brutal losses.

To be fair, those defeats have come against a murderer's row. His four-fight losing skid consists of TKO losses to Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor with a decision loss his last time out against Anthony Pettis.

That's three elite fighters and a high-quality striker and former champion in Pettis. Price doesn't have nearly that kind of resume, but he does have a high-paced style and a similar penchant for getting into violent fights.

Just one of Price's career fights has gone to a decision, and he's alternated knockout wins and losses in each of his past six fights.

Cerrone is in a catch-22 at this point in his career. The best and most effective version of himself is the hard-charging kickboxer who brings the fight to his opponents. However, his worst performances have come when he chooses to sit back and let things come to him.

So the best-case scenario for him is to come out swinging and make this a slugfest. But it's fair to wonder whether his chin can still take that after three knockout losses in his past four fights.

Prediction: Price via second-round TKO.

                     

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Few people have taken advantage of the unique and ever-changing landscape of MMA in 2020 quite like Chimaev. In a world where fights are being canceled and remade on a week-by-week basis, the Swedish wrestler made himself known on Fight Island in July.

Chimaev made history with two wins in 10 days. The first being a one-sided beatdown that lead to a Brabo Choke in the second round against John Phillips, and the second was a TKO win over Rhys McKee.

If you're asking "who?" about either of those opponents, that's fair. Chimaev garnered attention for how he beat his opponents, not the identities of his opponents. Truth be told, he's going to see a huge step up in competition when he faces Gerald Meerschaert on the main card.

Meerschaert has been in the UFC since 2016 and has proved himself a plucky middleweight. What's most intriguing about him in regard to a matchup with Chimaev is his proficiency on the ground. He has 23 career wins by submission, so he brings an element to the table we haven't seen his opponent deal with yet.

Still, the odds would indicate that Vegas believes this is a mismatch. At 8-0, there isn't a huge body work we can base a prediction on, but it's still safe to say that if Chimaev continues on the path he established on Fight Island, he could climb the rankings quickly.

Prediction: Chimaev via second-round TKO.