Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back to the pay-per-view (PPV) market later TONIGHT (Sat., March 5, 2022) to stage UFC 272 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Welterweight bout between former interim champion, Colby Covington, taking on “BMF” champion, Jorge Masvidal. In the revamped co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos battles Renato Moicano in a Catchweight fight of 160 pounds.
It’s been a long time coming, and though some may say the fight between Covington and Masvidal is perhaps one or two years too late, the grudge match is still one that should hopefully live up to expectations. The rivalry is well-publicized, it’s real, it’s deep and — whether you want to admit it or not — will get you to tune in. Is Covington’s shtick corny by now? Sure, but at least he is making the effort to sell the fight and as cringe as some (or most) of his material is, it does enough to pique your interest. It also revs up Masvidal’s motor, which is likely the reason Covington is trying to cause as much “Chaos” as he can leading up to fight night.
As for the contest itself, Covington has the wrestling on lock. Masvidal has admitted in the past that his former training partner-turned rival would get the best of him in straight-up wrestling matches, as time went on “Gamebred” said the tides did turn in his favor at times. The thing is, Covington is not a one-trick pony. He has cardio for days and he can stand-and-bang with the best of him, evidenced by his two fights against current division champion, Kamaru Usman. And while things didn’t work out in his favor, Covington gave “The Nigerian Nightmare” all he could handle, which means if Masvidal wants to pull out the win, he is going to have to be prepared to work overtime.
As far as his best bet to win the fight, that will boil down to the striking game. Masvidal isn’t exactly a slouch with grappling, but Covington wins that match up nine out of 10 times. “Gamebred” is a grinder, a brawler and if he tags you enough times, he can inflict the damage needed to hurt you while boosting his confidence. On the flip side, Covington has taken Usman’s best shots on more than one occasion, and if he starts dishing out his own, it could be a long night for Masvidal. And that’s just what I expect from this fight: A five-round war that will start out competitive, but ultimately fall into Covington's favor in the later rounds.
Have you ever wondered why a lot of fighters create a schtick, talk a lot of trash to get their names out there, as corny as it may be? The answer is obvious: to get attention, raise his/her stock. Sure, you have to win to keep that momentum, but winning alone sometimes isn’t enough. Case in point, take a look at Dustin Jacoby, who has won four of his first five fights inside the Octagon since making his return to UFC in Oct. 2020, with his lone blemish being a draw against Ion Cutelaba. He only got back into the UFC ranks via the Contender Series. My point is, he has been putting in the work and deserves a bit more love than opening up the preliminary portion of the card against Michal Oleksiejczuk, winner of two straight. He doesn’t talk a whole lot, he just takes care of business, which in this line of work just isn’t enough sometimes.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Originally, a championship trilogy fight between Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and Max Holloway, as well as a Bantamweight championship rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, were set to be featured at this event. Instead, the promotion pulled a complete 180, shifting both of those bouts to UFC 273, which is set to go down on April 9, 2022.
The co-main event was set to feature a Lightweight fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev. But, after Fiziev came down with COVID-19 the fight was canceled for the second time. As a result, Moicano made the trip from Brazil to Las Vegas to step in on short notice to fill the void. It seemed as if Islam Makhachev was ready to make a quick turnaround to take the fight, but after he allegedly turned down the fight last-minute, Dana White and Co. went with Moicano.
Believe it or not, it’s been more than 16 months since we last saw dos Anjos compete inside the Octagon, which was a split decision win over Paul Felder in Nov. 2020, snapping his two-fight skid in the process. As for Moicano, as we mentioned earlier, he competed a little less than one month ago, scoring a win over Alexander Hernandez at UFC 271. Moicano gave a powerful post-fight speech demanding bigger fights and bigger paychecks, so stepping up on short notice against a veteran such as “RDA” will go a long way in reaching his goals. Especially if he can pull out the win.
Erick Gonzalez suffered a foot injury and was forced out of his fight against Devonte Smith and was ultimately replaced by Ludovit Klein, Also, Jessica Eye was forced out of her scheduled fight against Manon Fiorot due to an eye injury.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Tim Elliott will attempt to snap Tagir Ulanbekov’s five-win streak when the two scrappy Flyweight’s collide in what should be an exciting affair. Ulanbekov only has one loss on his otherwise perfect MMA record and is 2-0 so far inside the Octagon. As for Elliott, he is simply trying to get back on track after suffering a loss at the hands of Matheus Nicolau in his previous fight.
While Makhachev is doing his thing at Lightweight, Umar Nurmagomedov is trying to make a name for himself in the deep Featherweight division. After making his successful UFC debut in Jan. 2021 — a rear-naked choke win over Sergey Morozov — his return has been delayed. Now, the undefeated (13-0, 1-0 UFC) 145-pound contender is out to make another statement in his sophomore effort inside the Octagon when he battles six-year UFC veteran Brian Kelleher, who is currently riding a two-fight win streak.
In women’s Flyweight action, Maryna Moroz will attempt to pick up a huge win representing her home country of Ukraine — which is currently embroiled in a terrible war with Russia — by putting up her two-fight win streak against Mariya Agapova, who is coming off a big win over Sabina Mazo via rear-naked choke.
In the Light Heavyweight division, Nicola Negumereanu will attempt to pick up his third straight win inside the Octagon when he battles Kennedy Nzechukwu. “The African Savage” is eyeing a bounce-back effort after he was viciously knocked out by Da Un Jung in Nov. 2021. Also, two Strawweight contenders — Marina Rodriguez (No. 3) and Yan Xiaonan (No. 4) — will battle in what should be dubbed a title eliminator fight. Rodriguez has picked up three straight wins over Mackenzie Dern, Michelle Waterson, and Amanda Ribas, so her body of work is more than enough to get a shot at the strap if she can take on Xiaonan, who is trying to bounce back after suffering her first loss in over a decade against current No. 1 contender, Carla Esparza.
And finally, the featured fight of the undercard will be a Lightweight bout between Jalin Turner and Jamie Mullarkey. Turner has won three straight, while Mullarkey is on a two-fight win streak. Both men are currently sitting outside of the Top 15 looking in, and while a win won’t necessarily get them in, it will be a huge step toward that goal.
No newcomers will be making their debuts at this event.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
It’s easy to say that both Covington and Masvidal need a win in the worse way, but they are both stars — one with a fat new contract, and the other with the backing of Dana White — so they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon with another loss. Kevin Holland, though, needs to start racking up the W’s. After a blistering start to his UFC career, which saw him earn a record of 8-2, “Trailblazer” has gone winless in his last three fights. After dropping back-to-back fights to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori, his last bout against Kyle Daukaus was ruled a “No Contest.” As he goes up against Alex Oliveira, a win is a must. Speaking of which, “Cowboy” has actually fared worse, losing three in a row, so he is in a must-win situation himself here, too.
Interest Level: 7.5/10
Yes, the fight between Masvidal and Covington is highly-anticipated, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it has lost some of its luster. And that forgettable press conference (see it here), didn’t do much to help the cause of drawing eyeballs. Still, people will tune in hoping that it lives up to the hate they have toward each other.
Bryce Mitchell raised more than a few eyebrows throughout fight week, but all conspiracy theories aside, “Thug Nasty” can scrap. Undefeated at 14-0, Mitchell is 5-0 so far in his young UFC career. While he has picked up some good wins along the way, his bout against Edson Barboza will be his stiffest to date. Barboza is still one of the most devastating strikers in the game today and if Mitchell isn’t careful, he could himself on his back seeing stars.
Can you believe that this will be Greg Hardy’s tenth fight inside the Octagon? I’ll be honest, I thought he was going to be one-and-done. Instead, the former NFL player has secured his spot amongst the UFC big men, though he hasn’t had a win in his last two tries, coming up short against Tai Tuivasa and Marcin Tybura. Up next, he will attempt to get back in the win column against Sergei Spivak, who recently had his three-fight win streak snapped by rising 265-pound contender, Tom Aspinall. Spivak is a bit more polished than Hardy, but let’s not count out the “Prince of War’s” tenacity and willingness to throw caution to the wind in order to engage in a brawl. He has the power, so Spivak needs to use his fight IQ here to avoid the bombs that will be coming his way.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC 272 PPV Main Event:
170 lbs.: Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal
UFC 272 PPV Main Card:
160 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Renato Moicano (not Rafael Fiziev)
145 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Bryce Mitchell
170 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. Alex Oliveira
265 lbs.: Greg Hardy vs. Serghei Spivac
UFC 272 ESPN/ESPN+ Late ‘Prelims’ Undercard:
155 lbs.: Jalin Turner vs. Jamie Mullarkey
115 lbs.: Marina Rodriguez vs. Yan Xiaonan
205 lbs.: Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Nick Negumereanu
125 lbs.: Mariya Agapova vs. Maryna Moroz
UFC 272 ESPN+/Fight Pass Early ‘Prelims’ Undercard:
145 lbs.: Brian Kelleher vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Tagir Ulanbekov
125 lbs.: Jessica Eye vs. Manon Fiorot— CANCELED (details)
155 lbs.: Devonte Smith vs. Ludovit Klein
205 lbs.: Dustin Jacoby vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 272 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 272: “Covington vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.