Colby Covington remained on track to a welterweight title shot after he dominated Robbie Lawler in the UFC on ESPN 5 main event on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
While Lawler is always a threat to knock his opponent out, Covington gave him little opportunity to unleash one of his patented, powerful blows.
Throughout the first two rounds, Covington continuously took Lawler to the canvas and picked him apart with a steady diet of punches. Even after Lawler began defending the takedowns better, Covington never left him any openings, steadily feeding him punch after punch throughout the fight.
Lawler opened strong on his feet in the first frame, so Covington did the smart thing and quickly started working for takedowns. It took him the better part of the first couple minutes of the fight, but Covington got Lawler to the canvas, where he worked for the rear-naked choke for most of the remainder of the round.
Round two started much the same as round one ended with Covington attacking with takedowns and working for the rear-naked choke. Lawler continued to defend and return the fight to the feet, but in the final couple minutes, Covington unloaded on him with a steady diet of punches. Lawler pressed forward, but ate the shots instead of firing back.
Covington scored a few takedowns at the beginning of round three, but Lawler was quickly back to his feet each time and then finally started stuffing the attempts. Lawler seemed to awaken with his punches early in the round, but again went back into a move forward and eat the shots approach, as Covington continued to be the busier fighter.
Covington continued to press the fight in round four with an unending stream of punches. He scored another takedown in the latter half of the round, but Lawler was right back to his feet, albeit still just hanging back, throwing the occasional jab.
Round 5 followed the same script as the fourth frame with Covington continuing to feed Lawler punch after punch, not really doing much to end the fight, but maintaining complete control.
Lawler caught Covington with an uppercut, smelled blood and pressed forward, but just couldn’t find the shots he needed to win the fight.
That hard shot slowed Covington a bit, but he remained the busier fighter going into the final minute of the bout. Lawler tried to find a home for the power punch, but Covington was too elusive and kept putting fists in Lawler’s face to evade the knockout blow that Lawler was relying on to win the fight.
It was an impressive performance and a landslide victory for Covington, who took a unanimous decision from the judges.
“I was truly inspired when the first family came in the building and came and seen me backstage. Let’s give it up for the Trumps, they’re keeping America great! I also want to thank the troops. Without the troops none of this would be possible. They sacrifice their lives for our freedom. I wouldn't be able to do this today without them,” said Covington, before taking a bit of a dark turn with his assessment of Lawler.
“Hey, let's talk about the lesson we learned here tonight. It's a strong lesson that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy Matt Hughes. You stay off the track when the train is coming through, junior,” said Covington.
"Don't matter if it's the Trump train or the Colby train. Get out the way!"
Not leaving anyone out, Covington shifted his focus to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, whom UFC president Dana White has said Covington would fight later this year if he got past Lawler.
“Marty Fake Usman, I don’t need to wait for Nov. 2 in Madison Square Garden. We can do it tonight. We can do it right now. Where you at? Let’s do it right now!”
Jim Miller defeats Clay Guida in the first round
Jim Miller and Clay Guida are two veteran fighters that have been UFC fan favorites for years, but Saturday was the first time they shared the Octagon. Miller made it a short-lived occurrence though, as he quickly submitted Guida.
Miller opened with a head kick that Guida blocked and countered with a hard right hand. Miller was rocked backward for a moment, but found his feet and landed a couple good punches on Guida, who then started to change levels. As he did, Miller sank a guillotine choke and dropped to the canvas.
Almost as soon as they hit the canvas, Guida was out, although it took referee Herb Dean a few moments to wave off the fight. Guida was unconscious as Miller released the hold and jumped up to his feet, celebrating his 20th victory inside the Octagon.
Miller has had a very public battle with Lyme disease over the years, but is coming out of that and fighting as well as he ever has. He’s just about to turn 36 years of age, but Miller has no plans in slowing down.
“He drilled me with that right. I’m just a guy from North Jersey, any time adversity shows its ugly face, I’m not backing down. So here I am getting my 20th win in the Octagon,” Miller said after the fight.
“I’m healthy. I’m looking to get in another one. My battle with lyme disease has been very public and I’m coming out of it.”
Nasrat Haqparast wins with Georges St-Pierre in his corner
Nasrat Haqparast scored his third consecutive victory on Saturday afternoon with former UFC two-division champion Georges St-Pierre in his corner. Haqparast was searching for an opening for his left hand the entire first round with Joaquim Silva, but couldn’t find it. That opening came early in the second round, when he landed a single left hand that put Silva down and out.
UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler full results
Main Card (ESPN)
Colby Covington def. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)
Jim Miller def. Clay Guida by technical submission (guillotine choke) at 0:58, R1
Nasrat Haqparast def. Joaquim Silva by knockout (punch) at 0:35, R2
Gerald Meerschaert def. Trevin Giles by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:49, R3
Scott Holtzman def. Dong Hyun Ma by TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 5:00, R2
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Darko Stosic by unanimous decision (29-26, 28-27, 28-27)
Mickey Gall def. Salim Touahri by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Antonina Shevchenko def. Lucie Pudilova by technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:20, R2
Matt Schnell def. Jordan Espinosa by submission (triangle choke) at 1:23, R1
Lauren Murphy def. Mara Romero Borella by TKO (knees and elbows) at 1:46, R3
Claudio Silva def. Cole Williams by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:35, R1
Miranda Granger def. Hannah Goldy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)