Everything you need to know about UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2

Publish Date
Friday, 5 November 2021, 6:19AM


ACC UFC contributor Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2.

As we reel from the results of last weekend's crazy UFC 267, the next PPV (Pay-Per-View) event is already here. And UFC 268 promises to be just as shocking as UFC 267 was.

In the main event welterweight champion Kamaru "Nigerian Nightmare" Usman once more defends his title against the supervillain Colby "Chaos" Covington - Donald Trump's favourite fighter and greatest advocate. The co-main event showcases the enthralling Women's strawweight division with champion "Thug" Rose Namajunas rematching former champion (and the first Chinese champion) Zhang "Magnum" Weili. In the fan favourite fight devastating brawler Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje faces former title challenger "Iron" Michael Chandler.

At the top of the billing, the "Nigerian Nightmare" Kamaru Usman (19-1) defends his belt once again against the chaotic Colby Covington (16-2).

Kamaru "Nigerian Nightmare" Usman is the reincarnation of the recently-retired welterweight 'GOAT' (Greatest Of All Time) Georges St-Piere. The French-Canadian great GSP had a base in striking (Karate) and Jiu-Jitsu, and he used his unique understanding of the timing involved in striking to subsequently build the greatest 'MMA wrestling' ever seen. Kamaru Usman, on the other hand, has a dominating wrestling base on top of which he has built an incredibly precise and powerful boxing style. Whether you perfect striking or grappling first doesn't matter. Once you've perfected both, you're a truly unstoppable mixed martial artist. And Kamaru Usman has damn near perfected both. His wrestling is unquestionably ranked among the very best in MMA, and his newly-acquired (master coach Trevor Whitman-developed - who also coaches Namajunas and Gaethje, on this card alone) boxing jabs and straights are explosive weapons capable of finishing fights on their own.

Usman's extensive resume includes wins over Leon "Rocky" Edwards, Sean "Tarzan" Strickland, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron "T-Wood" Woodley, Colby "Chaos" Covington via KO/TKO, Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Burns via KO/TKO (power jab to ground-and-pound), and Jorge Masvidal again via KO/TKO this time (right cross KO - the first in Masvidal's illustrious MMA career).

Colby "Chaos" Covington represents the newest wave of WWE/professional wrestling crossover appeal that MMA has always inexplicably had. Covington's career and descent into "chaos" is easily charted. An elite wrestler (much like his opponent and arch-nemesis Kamaru Usman) Colby Covington was always a boring MMA fighter. His impressive cardio and wrestling skillset only allow him to clinch and grind out decisions or secure the occasional submission or ground-and-pound TKO. He did what he did well, but nobody cared to watch. Amid a run of unanimous decision wins that the UFC promotion was allegedly unimpressed with, Covington decided to "turn heel" (become an intentional bad guy in professional wrestling). After beating Brazilian welterweight great Rafael dos Anjos via decision, Covington was upset at the typical Brazilian hometown crowd's disrespect and notoriously called them all "filthy animals". The social media backlash and the ignominy of Brazil only inspired Covington. He decided then and there that playing the villain was the easiest way to get paid, boring or not. Colby Covington then vocalised his support for the failed Trump presidency and the "Chaos" Covington troll was born. In his subsequent performance, Covington beat welterweight great "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision and took the opportunity to joke about Lawler's teammate (and a legendary welterweight) Matt Hughes and his then-recent life-threatening train crash injuries. Classy. Covington also visited the Trump White House to parade his interim (temporary) welterweight belt. Humiliating.

In his next bout to unify the welterweight belt, Colby Covington faced the champion, Kamaru Usman. 24 minutes and 10 seconds of warfare ensued. In the end, Usman's newfound boxing prowess had broken Covington's jaw (his best weapon) and left Colby broken, but unbowed. Covington vehemently protested the referee's TKO stoppage, even as his broken jaw flopped about uncontrollably. He might be dumb as dirt, but he's also tough as nails.

The first fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington was a war. In the time since they last fought in late 2019, the vitriol and hate have only grown. This second war should be even more violent than the first - and even more significant to the flagship UFC welterweight division. As usual, the spicier the trash-talking beforehand, the hotter the fight itself. And this one is California Reaper hot.

In the co-main event, Women's strawweight champion "Thug" Rose Namajunas (10-4) defends her belt against the former champion from China Zhang "Magnum" Weili (21-2).

"Thug" Rose Namajunas is the Lithuanian-American champion at strawweight. "Thug" Rose is a black belt in both Karate and Taekwondo, as well as a brown belt (just below black belt) in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Her finish-heavy resume includes rear naked chokes, a flying armbar, Kimuras, punches, and a head kick against her last (and next) opponent Zhang Weili. That shocking head kick finish in a minute and eighteen seconds was the second upset title win in "Thug" Rose's already legendary MMA career - the first a KO/TKO of former Polish champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk, also in the first round. Zhang Weili might've been flatlined in their first fight, but that is exactly the reason she has a greater chance of success in this rematch. And if the strong, stocky Zhang Weili can land strikes or grab ahold of the American champion, "Thug" Rose could be in serious trouble. The strawweight division is easily the best in Women's MMA and is among the best in MMA overall. See why with this fight.

Further down the main card is the fan favourite fight between Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje (22-3) and "Iron" Michael Chandler (22-6). In a fight that could determine the next challenger for Charles Oliveira's lightweight title (after Dustin Poirier, of course), "The Human Highlight Reel" Justin Gaethje faces former Bellator champion Michael Chandler. Among the funnest fighters in history, Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje is a vendor of violence - and he sure makes a killing! His leg kicks are devastating, his boxing shell guard is as impenetrable as a turtle's shell, and his ability to take a shot is only surpassed by his ability to deliver one right back. "Iron" Michael Chandler is a great fighter with powerful wrestling and boxing, but he did steal Mike Tyson's "Iron" nickname, then added it to Michael, and in doing so created the cringiest, most frustrating nickname in MMA history. If "Iron" Michael is the white "Iron" Mike Tyson, then I prefer the original myself.

Also on this stacked fight card, we have legendary lightweight champion Frankie "The Answer" Edgar facing the future at bantamweight in Marlon "Chito" Vera. And, most excitingly, Alex "Poatan" Pereira makes his UFC debut on the preliminary card against Andreas Michailidis. Pereira, as I've discussed before, is the only person to have KO'd Kiwi middleweight champion Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya in kickboxing. If he can make a big enough splash in the middleweight division quickly, me and an army of hardcore fans will demand a rematch between Adesanya and Pereira within an MMA cage as opposed to a kickboxing ring. What a beautiful possibility that is. It might not even happen, and I still can't wait.

The UFC 268 main card starts at 3:00 PM this Sunday for us here in New Zealand, with the early prelims starting as early as 12:00 PM (midday). Enjoy! It'll be hard not to.

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