Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Newark, N.J., last night (Sat., Aug. 3, 2019) for UFC on ESPN 5. For what seems like the fourth or fifth weekend in a row — dating back to UFC 239 at least — UFC “Newark” was hardly the best card on paper, but an excellent main event match up helped guarantee fans would tune in. Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques of the night!
Colby Covington is one of the best fighters on the roster.
Most people don’t like Covington. It’s understandable — he’s annoying. Most people would also love to see him lose — makes plenty of sense given his obnoxious heel persona. However, it is unfortunate that those same fans absolutely refuse to see his talent, because “Chaos” is a special fighter.
Against one of the most dangerous Welterweights in history, Covington showed no fear. He fought perfectly, forcing an exhausting wrestling match for almost the entire first round. By the time Lawler did eventually create separation, there were very few knockout punches flying Covington’s way. Lawler was too busy trying to fill his lungs with air.
Past opponents, notably Johnny Hendricks, of Lawler have made the mistake of building a lead then resting. As a result, Lawler is able to surge back into the fight. Covington made no such error, always keeping a jab, collar-tie, or double leg on his opponent. Lawler was never able to replenish his energy, as Covington kept his heart rate high and forced him to work for the entire 25-minute bout.
It may not have been fun to watch, but it was brilliant and technical fighting.
Germany’s Best Hope
Nasrat Haqparast is the real deal.
Just a couple weeks before his 24th birthday, the German Lightweight picked up his first knockout inside the Octagon, dropping a massive left hand into the jaw of Joaquim Silva (watch it). It was not Haqparast’s first knockdown or striking showcase inside the Octagon, but this was by far the most complete showing of his young UFC career.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win was how well Silva fought. The Brazilian bruiser was not wild or sloppy. In fact, he arguably won the first round with volume, picking his shots well and chopping at his foe’s lead leg. It did not deter Haqparast, however, who slowly found his timing and created an opening for the knockout blow.
Haqparast is damn fast, athletic, and has a great camp behind him in Tristar. It may be early, but the German has already proven his ceiling tremendously high — expect him to break into the title mix within the next couple years.
- Jim Miller defeats Clay Guida via first-round guillotine choke (HIGHLIGHTS): One of the better fights you’ll see that clock in under a minute! Guida cracked Miller first with a big right hand, but Miller returned the favor with a massive left when Guida tried to swarm. As Guida was stunned, Miller wrapped up the neck and finished the bout.
- Gerald Meerschaert defeats Trevin Giles via third-round guillotine choke (HIGHLIGHTS): In a really strange fight, Giles willingly grappled with the jiu-jitsu ace for three rounds. He spent enough time in top position to take the first round, but he played in the fire for too long, eventually falling into a slick guillotine choke from the veteran grappler.
- Scott Holtzman defeats Dong Hyum Ma via second-round doctor stoppage: Holtzman is a slick, powerful fighter. He was drawn into a brawl a few too many times for his own safety, but for the most part, Holtzman relied on feints, false starts, and head movement to really get a read on Ma’s movement. Commonly, Holtzman would show a big burst of athleticism, wait for Ma’s reaction, then crack him with a massive right hand. Those rights added up over two-rounds, swelling Ma’s eye completely shut.
- Antonina Shevchenko defeats Lucie Pudilova via second-round rear naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): She took a few shots, but this was the best performance of Shevchenko’s MMA career. In the clinch, she showed off her excellent posture control to land big knees. Pudilova turned the tide a bit with some massive elbows of her own and a double leg take down — Shevchenko still needs to improve her shot defense — but Shevchenko did immediately throw up an armbar that nearly finished the fight. In the second, Pudilova looked for a single leg takedown, but Shevchenko was able to cut the corner and snatch up her neck in the process.
- Matt Schnell defeats Jordan Espinosa via first-round triangle choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Now on a four-fight win streak, Schnell has really turned around his UFC career. In this bout, Schnell showed off his transitional jiu-jitsu game once again, latching onto the neck as Espinosa dropped into a takedown. The guillotine wasn’t going to happen, but Schnell used the threat to that choke to throw up a triangle choke. Espinosa partially had his hand in, but Schnell was nevertheless able to secure the angle and finish the strangle.
- Lauren Murphy defeats Mara Romero Borella via third-round TKO (HIGHLIGHTS): This was not the most entertaining fight, but it was definitely a strong showing for Murphy to get back into the win column. There was a lot of clinch grinding and the rare takedown, but Murphy was getting the better strikes in with more control. The finish was abrupt, as Murphy promptly countered a poor shot with a perfectly placed knee.
- Claudio Silva defeats Cole Williams via first-round rear naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Williams failed to make weight and had a striking edge, but it was hardly enough to combat Silva’s jiu-jitsu advantage. Once the Brazilian took top position, he pretty quickly moved into the back mount, dropped some punches, and locked in the choke,
For complete UFC on ESPN 5: “Covington Vs. Lawler” results and play-by-play, click HERE!