UFC 272: Covington vs. Masvidal Preview

UFC pay-per-view events are usually focused on high-profile title fights in the promotion, but that won’t be the case on Saturday night. Instead, UFC 272 will look at a grudge match in the promotion’s welterweight division.

The top bout on the card sees Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal compete. The event is being billed as “former friends [turned] bitter rivals,” and it’s set to go down at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Here’s a preview of the entire show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Early Prelims (6:00PM EST / 3:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)

Bout 1: Dustin Jacoby (16-5-1) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (16-4) (Light Heavyweight)

Rising light heavyweights Dustin Jacoby and Michael Oleksiejczuk will meet in the first bout of the night.

Jacoby has put together an impressive UFC run since re-joining the promotion in 2020. Through five fights, he has scored four wins and one draw. His last fight was in November 2021, where he beat John Allan via unanimous decision.

Oleksiejczuk is coming off a successful 2021, where he beat Modestas Bukauskas and finished Shamil Gamzatov in a fight.

Bout 2: Ludovit Klein (17-4) vs. Devonte Smith (11-3) (Lightweight)

Lightweights Ludovit Klein and Devonte Smith will attempt to get back into the win column in the next fight.

Klein suffered two defeats in 2021, losing to Mike Trizano and Nate Landwehr within a six-month period.

Smith is only coming off one loss, having been stopped by Jamie Mullarkey in October 2021.

Bout 3: Tim Elliott (17-12-1) vs. Tagir Ulanbekov (13-1) (Flyweight)

Searching for his third consecutive UFC victory, Tagir Ulanbekov will face Tim Elliott on the prelims.

Ulanbekov won his UFC debut in 2020, defeating Bruno Silva on scorecards. He returned in October of last year, where he worked towards a split decision victory against Allan Nascimento. On Saturday, he has a chance to score a win over a veteran of the UFC.

Elliott, a UFC vet of over 15 appearances, is fighting to come back from a decision loss he took to Matheus Nicolau in October 2021. Before then, he had a two-fight winning streak.

Bout 4: Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0) vs. Brian Kelleher (24-12) (Bantamweight)

Undefeated Umar Nurmagomedov will test his skills against Brian Kelleher in the next fight.

Nurmagomedov is an undefeated fighter with 13 wins thus far. This includes his UFC debut, which saw him secure a second-round rear naked choke against Sergey Morozov in early 2021.

Kelleher took this Saturday’s fight on short notice, filling in for undefeated prospect Jack Shore.

Kelleher has already competed once this year, defeating Kevin Croom via unanimous decision in January.

Preliminary Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 5: Maryna Moroz (10-3) vs. Mariya Agapova (10-2) (Flyweight)

Making her first appearance in nearly two years, Maryna Moroz will face Mariya Agapova in a flyweight bout.

This matchup is similar to the main event, in that there is some bad blood between both of the fighters. Their rivalry has been quite nasty in the past, including vicious threats and dangerous allegations being thrown around.

Moroz has been out of the cage for a long time due to numerous fights falling through between 2020 and 2021. She is returning on a two-fight winning streak that she developed with wins over Sabina Mazo and Mayra Bueno Silva.

Agapova’s entire UFC career has taken place during Moroz’s absence from the cage. Since her entrance in 2020, Agapova has won two fights via submission and lost another in a massive upset.

Bout 6: Nick Negumereanu (11-1) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-2) (Light Heavyweight)

Nick Negumereanu and Kennedy Nzechukwu will meet in a light heavyweight fight next.

Negumereanu lost his UFC debut in 2019, dropping a decision to Saparbeg Safarov. After not competing in 2020, Negumereanu turned things around in 2021. He started the year with a split decision win over Aleksa Camur. After that, he picked up a quick first-round finish against Ike Villanueva.

Nzechukwu is fighting to come back from a stoppage loss that he suffered to Jung Da-un late last year. Before then, he had three consecutive wins in the promotion.

Bout 7: Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) vs. Yan Xiaonan (13-2) (Strawweight)

High-ranked strawweights Marina Rodriguez and Yan Xiaonan are set to meet on the prelims.

Rodriguez had an incredibly successful 2021 that shot her up the strawweight ranks. It all started in January 2021, when she stopped the momentum of Amanda Ribas with a second-round stoppage.

Four months later, she won her first-ever UFC main event in a unanimous decision win over Michelle Waterson. She finished her run that year with another main event win, ending the four-fight winning streak of Mackenzie Dern.

Yan is coming off a loss she took against Carla Esparza last year. Before then, she had an impressive six-fight winning streak.

Bout 8: Jalin Turner (11-5) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (14-4) (Lightweight)

The prelims will wrap up with a lightweight fight between Jalin Turner and Jamie Mullarkey.

Turner is on a three-fight winning streak, a run that he has slowly attained since the start of 2020. His last performance was a quick submission victory, submitting Uros Medic in September 2021 with a rear naked choke.

Mullarkey showed his striking skills last year, stopping both Khama Worthy and Devonte Smith in fights.

Main Card (10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST) (PPV)

Bout 9: Serghei Spivac (13-3) vs. Greg Hardy (7-4) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweights that have lost their most recent outings will open the main card. In the first part of the PPV portion, Serghei Spivac and Greg Hardy will compete.

This fight was first booked for UFC 270 in January but was moved to this card after Hardy suffered an injury.

Hardy has lost two consecutive fights and currently has an even UFC record of four wins and four losses. He has been stopped in his last two fights, losing to Marcin Tybura and Tai Tuivasa.

Spivac had a three-fight winning streak broken in his last fight, getting put away in the first round of a fight by Tom Aspinall.

Bout 10: Kevin Holland (21-7) vs. Alex Oliveira (22-11-1) (Welterweight)

With a chance to get his mojo back, Kevin Holland will face veteran Alex Oliviera.

Holland was the most successful UFC fighter in 2020, earning five wins in the year. However, 2021 didn’t go his way as much. After losing back-to-back main events to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori, Holland’s next fight against Kyle Daukaus ended in a no contest. Now in the new year, Holland has the chance to get his first win in over a year.

He’s facing Oliveira, who has also struggled greatly as of late. The 34-year-old has lost three straight since 2020. His most recent fight was against Niko Price in October 2021, losing via decision.

Bout 11: Edson Barboza (22-10) vs. Bryce Mitchell (14-0) (Featherweight)

Undefeated featherweight Bryce Mitchell will get his biggest UFC challenge yet on Saturday night, facing Edson Barboza on the main card.

Mitchell has scored four victories in the UFC since winning Season 27 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2018. His last fight was now over a year ago, defeating Andre Fili via unanimous decision in October 2021.

Barboza is the most experienced name that Mitchell has faced thus far. The 26-fight UFC vet had a two-fight winning streak broken in his last bout, getting stopped in a main event fight against Giga Chikadze in August 2021.

Bout 12: Rafael dos Anjos (30-13) vs. Renato Moicano (16-4-1) (Catchweight 160 lbs)

Stepping in on just a few days’ notice, Renato Moicano will face Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event.

Dos Anjos wasn’t first scheduled to face Moicano. Matter of fact, he wasn’t even originally scheduled to be on this card. The initial plan from the UFC was that dos Anjos would meet Rafael Fiziev in the main event of a UFC card in February. However, after visa issues delayed Fiziev’s entry into the country, their fight was moved to UFC 272. And since it was originally meant to be a main event fight, it has remained a five-round bout despite being the co-main event now.

Plans became further complicated this week when Fiziev contracted COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the card. With Fiziev out of the lineup, Moicano stepped in and accepted a fight up at the catchweight of 160 pounds. This occasion is much like last week’s card, where Bobby Green stepped in to face Islam Makhachev in a five-round fight.

Moicano last competed a few weeks ago, scoring a submission victory against Alexander Hernandez. That was his second win since mid-2021.

Dos Anjos is fighting for the first time in over a year. His last fight was in November 2020, where he beat short-notice fighter Paul Felder via split decision in the main event of a card.

Bout 13: Colby Covington (16-3) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-15) (Welterweight)

A rivalry could potentially be put to an end in Saturday’s main event. A five-round fight will close out this weekend’s card, as welterweights Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will compete.

Covington and Masvidal used to train at the same gym, that being the prolific American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, USA. And as mentioned in promotional material, these two used to be friends. However, things have turned sour in recent years and now they are enemies. Or, at least that’s the story. They don’t train at the same gym anymore and are certainly not kind to each other in the public eye.

Besides a rivalry being settled, an important win could be picked up for either fighter here as well. Both fighters are currently returning after being on the losing side of things against current UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman.

Covington last fought Usman, losing to him for the second time late last year. This was his first appearance in a year, with his prior being a main event victory over former champ Tyron Woodley in 2020.

Masvidal has lost his past two fights to Usman. He first met him in 2020, stepping in on short notice after previously-booked challenger Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew. In that bout, Masvidal lost a somewhat sleepy unanimous decision result.

Masvidal fought Usman again in April 2021 last year, that time suffering a second-round knockout loss. He could take his third consecutive defeat on Saturday night.

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