UFC 268 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Usman vs. Covington 2

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2021

UFC 268 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Usman vs. Covington 2

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    UFC 268 comes to Madison Square Garden in New York City with a massive card including two title fight rematches and a key lightweight battle. 

    In the main event, Colby Covington will get another chance to unseat reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. The two fought for the first time in December 2019 when Usman knocked out Covington in the fifth round and kicked off his current title reign. 

    The co-main event features a women's strawweight bout between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili. "Thug" Rose scored a first-round knockout in their first fight before things even really got started. Now she'll have to show that win was legitimate with another victory over the former champion. 

    The main card will kick off with a crucial lightweight matchup between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler. Both are coming off losses in title fights so the winner will jump right back in line while the loser will have a long way to climb. 

    Here's a look at the whole card along with odds and the biggest questions that the big fights will answer. 

UFC 268 Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—November 6

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    Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

    • Kamaru Usman (c) -320 vs. Colby Covington +250—welterweight championship fight
    • Rose Namajunas (c) +100 vs. Weili Zhang -120—women's strawweight championship fight
    • Shane Burgos -200 vs. Billy Quarantillo +170
    • Marlon Vera -160 vs. Frankie Edgar +140
    • Justin Gaethje -210 vs. Michael Chandler +175

    Prelims (ESPN News/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)

    • Alex Pereira -250 vs. Andreas Michailids +200
    • Bobby Green -180 vs. Al Iaquinta +155
    • Phil Hawes -310 vs. Chris Curtis +245
    • Nassourdine Imavov -125 vs. Edmen Shahbazyan +105
    • Ian Garry -400 vs. Jordan Williams +300

    Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 6 p.m. ET)

    • Chris Barnett +110 vs. Gian Villante -130
    • Ode Osbourne -190 vs. CJ Vergara +160
    • Dustin Jacoby -380 vs. John Allan +290
    • Melsik Bahgdasaryan -335 vs. Bruno Souza +260

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Can Covington Bring Anything New to the Table?

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    There's no denying that the first fight between Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman was an all-out war. But the bottom line is that Usman proved to be just a little bit better that night. 

    Since that fight, we've seen Usman show off his versatility and progress with two wins over Jorge Masvidal and a win over Gilbert Burns. 

    We haven't seen much from Covington. He has fought just once with a fifth-round win over Tyron Woodley where T-Wood suffered a rib injury. That fight looked quite a bit like his previous fights. He relied heavily on his wrestling and pressure game to just stay in Woodley's face and he eventually got his way. 

    Since the loss to Usman Covington has switched camps. So it's possible that he has grown and will bring a new challenge to the table. 

    For now, Usman's record is hard to argue with and his striking skills will likely be the difference between the two on Saturday night. 

    Prediction: Usman via fourth-round TKO

Will Zhang Have an Opportunity to Impose Her Will?

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    On paper, Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas is a great matchup. Zhang is the best pressure fighter in the division. Her ability to keep pressing forward and force her opponent to deal with her overwhelming pace is her best asset. 

    Power is often a great answer to pressure. All of that forward movement creates opportunities for counters and getting hit with heavy punches and kicks can dissuade even the most aggressive pressure fighters. 

    Before Zhang even really cranked up the heat on Namajunas she was put out by a perfect head kick from the new champion. It was a good strike to be sure, but it didn't really tell us anything about how these two would match up over the course of five rounds. 

    The biggest question in this fight is how Zhang fights her fight but closes the distance safely. 

    She has the skills to do it and will certainly look to. The longer this thing is in close quarters the bigger her advantage becomes. 

    But every move to the inside comes with the risk of getting countered and that's where this fight will be decided. 

    Prediction: Namajunas via third-round TKO

Can Chandler Follow the Nurmagomedov Blueprint?

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    There are two options when fighting Justin Gaethje: Get lured into a slugfest which is his preferred style of fight or neutralize his striking through grappling. 

    When you look at Gaethje's losses they either came against fighters who were able to outstrike him in a slugfest like Dustin Poirier or were able to finish him through grappling. Eddie Alvarez falls into that camp with a knockout in the clinch and Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted the Highlight.

    Chandler's striking is good. But going down the road of a high-paced striking match with Gaethje isn't advisable. 

    Instead, Chandler's best path to victory is probably through his wrestling. He's solid in that area, averaging two takedowns per 15 minutes and 1.6 submission attempts, per UFC Stats

    If Chandler can mix things up and lean on his wrestling, things will get interesting. But Chandler has a history of slugfests of his own going back to his days in Bellator. If that's the case, it's hard to pick against Gaethje. 

    Prediction: Gaethje via third-round TKO

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