Two former welterweight champions will square off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 178 on Saturday in Las Vegas as Colby Covington takes on Tyron Woodley in a fight that once could have headlined a pay-per-view card.
Covington (15-2) once held the interim UFC welterweight title while Woodley (19-5-1) held the official welterweight championship from 2016 to 2019.
Culture War Dominates Pre-Fight Hype
The leadup to the bout has progressed more as a culture war than as a traditional back-and-forth between two men who want to knock each other out. Covington continues to play up his conservative, Donald Trump-loving persona both in and out of the Octagon. Woodley, on the other hand, answered all of his questions at the virtual media day with some variation of “Black Lives Matter.”
The two even showed their respective perspectives right on their hats: Covington wore a “Keep America Great” hat for media day while Woodley’s read “Make Racists Catch the Fade Again.”
As usual, Covington has even incorporated his political leanings – seemingly genuine but exaggerated for his UFC persona – into his promotional banter.
“[Woodley] wants to knock the MAGA out of me and I’m going to drop MAGA bombs on his head,” Covington told Ben Fowlkes of The Athletic. “This is a typical red vs. blue fight. This is MAGA vs. maggot. This is me, capitalism, vs. him, communism. It’s going to be a great show for the fans on ESPN Saturday night.”
When the two welterweights enter the Octagon on Saturday, it’ll be their respective skill sets on display rather than their ideological leanings. And while both are coming off losses, its Woodley who looks to be worse for wear.
Covington, Woodley Both Coming Off Losses
Kamaru Usman thoroughly dominated Woodley in their 2019 title fight, winning every round on each card in a unanimous decision victory. It was the same story in May when Gilbert Burns again swept all five rounds against Woodley in another crushing defeat for the former champion.
Covington is also coming off a loss, as Usman stopped him in the fifth round of their title fight at UFC 245 last December. While Covington remains the No. 2 contender in the welterweight division and will likely see more title shots in his future, Woodley is at no. 5 and fading fast.
UFC Fight Night 178 Odds
- Colby Covington (-360) vs. Tyron Woodley (+290)
- Donald Cerrone (+130) vs. Niko Price (-154)
- Khamzat Chimaev (-405) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+320)
- Johnny Walker (-118) vs. Ryan Spann (+100)
- Mackenzie Dern (-174) vs. Randa Markos (+146)
- Kevin Holland (-260) vs Darren Stewart (+215)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
The stylistic matchup favors Covington as well. Both Usman and Burns dominated Woodley through superior wrestling skills. There’s no reason to think that Covington can’t win in the same way as he’s outwrestled nearly everyone he has ever faced in the UFC.
Those factors combined to make Covington a clear -360 favorite over Woodley (+290), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Woodley’s most obvious path to victory is via knockout, with FanDuel offering +500 odds that he stops Covington.
The UFC Fight Night 178 co-main event should also draw plenty of betting interest as fan-favorite Donald Cerrone (36-15) takes on Niko Price (14-4) in another welterweight clash. Cerrone enters the bout on a four-fight losing streak, and FanDuel lists him as a +130 underdog against Price (-154), who’s the type of knockout artist “Cowboy” has struggled with late in his career.