The Octagon heads back to the Big Apple when UFC 268 takes place this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The card features 14 fights in total including an incredible five-fight card only on pay-per-view. Below, take a look at our complete main card betting preview here at The AllStar.
Main event welterweight title bout: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 (five rounds)
Kamaru Usman (-300)
Usman is the UFC welterweight champion. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, Usman is a perfect 14-0 in the UFC. He has been beating the best welterweights in the world and destroying them with ease. Two years ago, he finished Covington at UFC 245. After that, he beat Jorge Masvidal twice and Gilbert Burns. Right now, Usman is at the top of his game. When it comes to the sport’s best male P4P fighters, Usman is right at the top of the list.
Colby Covington (+250)
Covington is the No. 1 contender in the UFC welterweight division. The former interim UFC welterweight champion is 11-2 overall in the UFC and he is coming off of a TKO win over Tyron Woodley in his last outing. A grinding wrestler with five-round cardio, Covington has also improved his striking in recent years. He is now one of the most well-rounded welterweights on the planet, and this Saturday, he’ll look to capture the UFC title.
Total rounds (4.5) Over -120 vs. Under +100
The total rounds for this bout have been set at 4.5, with a slight lean towards the fight OVER 4.5 rounds. The first fight between these two went OVER 4.5 rounds but finished right before the end of the final bell. Given the first fight went OVER 4.5 rounds, it makes sense that the rematch would have a slight lean towards that. But given Usman has been flashing knockout power early in his fights as of late. So perhaps this one is going to UNDER instead.
I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the first fight at UFC 245 and it was one of the best fights of 2019. I expect this one to be a lot of fun, too. That being said, you have to go with Usman to win this fight. He has been so dominant in the UFC over the last five years and he has shown very few holes in his game. It’s nearly impossible to pick against him at this point. Given that Usman already has a win over Covington by knockout, there’s no reason to think he can do the same again here in this rematch.
Co-main event women’s strawweight bout: Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang 2 (five rounds)
Rose Namajunas (-110)
Namajunas is the two-time UFC women’s strawweight champion. In her last outing, she knocked out Zhang with a head kick to re-capture the belt. Namajunas has been one of the best women’s strawweights for years and showed that once again against Zhang. She has incredible striking to go along with slick submissions, making her very dangerous. Namajunas is a very well-rounded fighter and a very worthy champion for the women’s 115bs division.
Weili Zhang (-110)
Zhang is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion. She dropped her belt to Namajunas in her last outing, which snapped a 21-fight win streak. Zhang showed against Jessica Andrade two years ago that she is one of the best in the world. But it’s possible the war against Joanna Jedrzejczyk took a lot out of her because she was finished with one high kick by Namajunas in her last outing. Zhang is a great fighter, but there are many question marks.
Total rounds (4.5) Over -120 vs. Under +100
The total rounds for this fight have been set at 4.5, with a slight lean in the odds towards the fight going OVER 4.5 rounds. It is interesting that the odds are leaning towards the OVER when the first fight between them went UNDER 1.5 rounds. The fact that UNDER 4.5 rounds are now available at plus-money in the rematch seems like the value side.
These two met back in April and I picked Namajunas to win that fight, though I was expecting her to win a decision. The fact that she got the knockout was just the icing on the cake. Given how easy Namajunas made the first fight look, I just have trouble going against her in the rematch. There really is no reason to pick against her unless you thought it was a total fluke. Personally, I thought it was just an incredible knockout, and I think Namajunas is an incredible fighter. I expect a tougher fight this time around, but Namajunas will win again.
Two of the best lightweights in the world meet when Justin Gaethje takes on Michael Chandler. Gaethje hasn’t fought since a submission loss to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov last year, but he is the former interim champ and a great fighter in his own right. Gaethje is also one of the most exciting fighters in the business. He is an incredible striker who walks forward with reckless abandon throwing a ton of volume. Although he takes a lot of damage in his fights, he can often dish it back even more at his foes.
Chandler is a former Bellator lightweight champion and so far in the UFC, he is 1-1 with a KO win over Dan Hooker and a TKO loss to Charles Oliveira. We saw his incredible KO power against Hooker, something we saw from him for many years in Bellator, but we also saw him get finished by Oliveira. As good as Chandler is, he is someone who has shown some durability issues throughout his career, having been finished multiple times with strikes. Going up against someone like Gaethje, I’m just not convinced that Chandler can survive the onslaught of strikes that will come at him. Look for Gaethje to score a highlight-reel KO here.
In what could be a “Fight of the Night” contender, Shane Burgos meets Billy Quarantillo in a featherweight bout. Burgos is coming off of a TKO loss to Edson Barboza back at UFC 262 earlier this year. It was a competitive fight until the third round when Burgos got caught on the temple, stumbled backward, and collapsed. It was a bizarre way to lose and it makes you wonder if Burgos is on the decline now due to all the damage he has absorbed in his career. He’s a wonderful striker on the feet and he has some submission skills too. But he keeps his hands really low and his striking defense can be exploited against skilled strikers.
Quarantillo is a bit of an underrated featherweight in the UFC. He’s gone 4-1 so far in the promotion but is only finally getting a ranked opponent. After winning “Fight of the Night” against Gabriel Benitez in his last outing, Quarantillo deserved this opportunity. He has won nine of his last 10 fights overall. Aside from a decision loss to Gavin Tucker, he has been unbeaten in the UFC. Quarantillo is a really good striker with a ton of power and he has some submission skills on the ground, too. I also feel like he has more momentum coming into this fight than Burgos. I’m expecting a war, but I think Quarantillo will get the finish.
Kicking off the main pay-per-view card at UFC 268 is an exciting bantamweight bout between Marlon Vera and Frankie Edgar. These are two of the most exciting fighters at 135lbs so this should be a great fight for as long as it lasts. Vera is coming off of a decision win over Davey Grant in a “Fight of the Night” in his last outing. Although he lost a close decision to Jose Aldo before that, Vera has been looking really good overall as of late. If he can go in there and beat Edgar, it would be the biggest win of his career and help him break into the top-10.
Edgar is a legend of the sport but at age 40 he is in the latter stages of his UFC Hall of Fame career. Edgar has lost three of his last four fights. He was finished in a devastating fashion by Cory Sandhagen in his last outing when he got nailed in the face with a flying knee. Now down at 135lbs, Edgar doesn’t seem to have as much durability. That could pose a problem going up against someone who causes as much damage as Vera does. Although Edgar could perhaps make things interesting here if he wrestles, Vera has been improving that part of his game. While I expect a competitive fight, I am leaning towards Vera to win a decision.