UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington Full Preview

In 2019 the UFC saw lots of title changes. Some were returns to power like Stipe Miocic’s win over Daniel Cormier. Others were, of course, a continuation of past success, like Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov. And of course, there were new names added to the mix like Israel Adesanya and Weili Zhang being crowned champions. Before the year concludes, the promotion will put on one last pay-per-view event, including three championship bouts.

Live from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, UFC 245 will be headlined by Colby Covington facing Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman. In the co-main event of the card, Featherweight Champion Max Holloway will attempt to defend his belt against Alexander Volkanovski. Also on the main card is Amanda Nunes putting her Bantamweight belt up against Germain de Randamie. Along with the three championship fights are also 10 other fights.

Full Card:

Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass / 6:30 PM EST)

  1. Punahele Soriano (6-0) vs. Oskar Piechota (11-2-1) (Middleweight)
  2. Jessica Eye (14-7) vs. Viviane Araujo (Flyweight)
  3. Brandon Moreno (15-5-1) vs. Kai Kara-France (20-7) (Flyweight)
  4. Daniel Teymur (7-3) vs. Chase Hooper (8-0-1) (Featherweight)

Prelims (ESPN 2, TSN 5 / 8:00 PM EST)

  1. Matt Brown (21-16) vs. Ben Saunders (22-12-2) (Welterweight)
  2. Ian Heinisch (13-2) vs. Omari Akhmedov (19-4-1) (Middleweight)
  3. Kelten Vieira (10-0) vs. Irene Aldana (11-5) (Bantamweight)
  4. Mike Perry (13-5) vs. Geoff Neal (12-2) (Welterweight)

Main Card (PPV / 10:00 PM EST)

  1. Petr Yan (13-1) vs. Urijah Faber (35-10) (Bantamweight)
  2. Jose Aldo (28-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) (Bantamweight)
  3. Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs. Germaine de Randamie (9-3) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
  4. Max Holloway (21-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (20-1) (UFC Featherweight Championship)
  5. Kamaru Usman (15-1) vs. Colby Covington (15-1) (UFC Welterweight Championship)

Bout 1: Punahele Soriano (6-0) vs. Oskar Piechota (11-2-1) (Middleweight)

Kicking off the evening on the UFC Fight Pass Prelims at 6:30PM EST will be Punahele Soriano and Oskar Piechota. Undefeated Soriano will be making his UFC debut, as he previously earned his contract through the last season of Dana White’s Contender Series. He had previously competed in well-known regional promotions like PFL, LFA and Titan FC. Piechota is 2-2 in the UFC, losing his last two.

Bout 2: Jessica Eye (14-7) vs. Viviane Araujo (8-1) (Flyweight)

When Viviane Araujo faced Talita Bernardo back at UFC 237, it was a short-notice appearance. At the same time, however, it was an impressive performance, putting eyes on her despite it being an early prelim performance. She has since won again, prevailing over Alexis Davis at UFC 240. This time she will challenge Jessica Eye, who is her biggest challenge in the promotion so far. Eye recently got her three-fight winning streak broken by a failed challenge to Valentina Shevchenko’s Flyweight Championship. She lost in the second round via a brutal head kick knockout. Attempting to bounce back from the loss, Eye finds herself on the early prelims of this show. Eye missed weight by five pounds for this fight, and will be fined 30% of her purse for going over the 126 pound flyweight limit.

Bout 3: Brandon Moreno (15-5-1) vs. Kai Kara-France (20-7) (Flyweight)

Keeping it in the flyweight division, red hot Kai Kara-France faces Brandon Moreno. France has had a great run since joining the UFC a year ago, going 3-0 in his appearances. Moreno recently fought his way back into the UFC with a win in regional promotion LFA. His previous UFC run finished with a record of 3-2. His returning fight to the UFC was a draw against Askar Askarov at UFC Mexico City. Moreno will aim to break into the win column finally at UFC 245.

Bout 4: Daniel Teymur (7-3) vs. Chase Hooper (8-0-1) (Featherweight)

Finishing off the early prelims, undefeated prospect Chase Hooper faces off against Daniel Teymur. Hooper first appeared on Dana White’s Contender series at the age of 18. He has since fought in CFFC, Island Fights and Titan FC, and finally has gotten a chance in the UFC. His opponent, Teymur, recently picked up his first win in the UFC, snapping a three-fight losing streak.

Bout 5: Matt Brown (21-16) vs. Ben Saunders (22-12-2) (Welterweight)

The preliminary card will continue on ESPN 2 (TSN 5 in Canada) at 8PM EST with four more fights. The first of four is a battle between two UFC veterans that have struggled lately. Saunders is currently on a three fight losing streak, last losing to Takashi Sato. Matt Brown will be returning from a two-year layoff, with his last fight being a win over Diego Sanchez. Before then, he had his own three-fight losing streak. Brown battled back from a torn ACL this year, which pulled him from a 2018 bout against Carlos Condit.

Bout 6: Ian Heinisch (13-2) vs. Omari Akhmedov (19-4-1) (Middleweight)

In the next bout, Ian Heinisch will aim to bounce back from his first lost since joining the UFC, but it won’t be easy against someone like Omari Akhmedov. Heinisch has a 2-1 record in the promotion, recently losing via decision to Derek Brunson. Akhmedov has a far more experienced of 7-3-1, but has avoided defeat in his last five in a row.

Bout 7: Ketlen Vieira (10-0) vs. Irene Aldana (11-5) (Bantamweight)

Five fights into her UFC career, Ketlen Vieira has yet to be defeated. She will be tested yet again on Saturday, going up against Irene Aldana. Aldana has been very active this year, with this fight being her fourth in 12 months. Aldana recently got a win over Vanessa Melo in September. Vieira hasn’t fought since 2018, with her last win being over Cat Zingano.

Bout 8: Mike Perry (13-5) vs Geoff Neal (12-2) (Welterweight)

Finishing off the preliminary portion of the card will be “Platinum” Mike Perry facing Geoff Neal. Perry has been 5-5 in his last 10, which isn’t the best record ever, but his entertaining fighting style and character has kept him at a high level. Neal of the other hand has been 4-0 since joining the UFC in 2017.

Bout 9: Petr Yan (13-1) vs. Urijah Faber (35-10) (Bantamweight)

Starting off the pay-per-view main card will be up and coming Petr Yan facing Urijah Faber. Yan surpassed five-straight wins in the UFC earlier this year, defeating Jimmie Rivera. This fight is Faber’s second since his return to MMA, which started in July when he beat Ricky Simon in under a minute. Placed as a large underdog for this fight, Faber winning this fight would turn a lot of heads in MMA.

Bout 10: Jose Aldo (28-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) (Bantamweight)

The final non-championship fight on the card will be a high-level bantamweight clash between Jose Aldo and Marlon “Magic” Moraes. This fight is Aldo’s official move from featherweight to bantamweight. In his last fight, Aldo lost via decision to Alexander Volkanovski. Moraes is also coming off a loss, failing to capture the vacant Bantamweight Championship against Henry Cejudo.

Bout 11: Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs. Germaine de Randamie (9-3) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)

The first of the triple header of fights features Amanda Nunes attempting to defend her bantamweight belt against Germaine de Randamie. Despite being the only two-division champion on the card and a fighter which many have argued is the best female mixed martial artist of all time, Nunes is being placed halfway through this main card. Nunes last defended her belt in July, defeating Holly Holm with strikes in the first round. She became a two-division champion just under a year ago, stopping Cris Cyborg with punches in under a minute.

This fight is a rematch, as de Randamie and Nunes first met in 2013 on a fight night card. In that matchup, Nunes won with elbows in the first round. However, that was the last time de Randamie has lost. She won the Featherweight Championship in 2017 against Holly Holm, but dropped it before defending it. Two wins later, de Randamie finds herself in another championship position. Whether she can follow through with the win again will be seen.

Bout 12: Max Holloway (21-4) vs. Alexander Volaknovski (20-1) (UFC Featherweight Championship)

For many years now, Max Holloway has been the king of the featherweight division. Earlier this year he flew too close to the sun when trying to compete in the lightweight division as well, losing to Dustin Poirier. But, in the featherweight division, Holloway has been undefeated since 2013. His more recent wins were against Brian Ortega and Frankie Edgar. In the co-main event of UFC 245, Holloway will see another challenger in Alexander Volkanovski. 

The Australian with an impressive pro record has yet to lose in the UFC, with a record of 7-0, Volkanovski has become one of the top names in the division. He most recently defeated Jose Aldo at UFC 237.

Bout 13: Kamaru Usman (15-1) vs. Colby Covington (15-1) (UFC Welterweight Championship)

In the main event of the evening, Colby Covington gets his well overdue Welterweight Championship shot against Kamaru Usman. Covington has been known more for his character lately as opposed to his fights. Known for outwardly showing his pro-Trump politics and flaunting things like girls on Instagram, Covington has made himself either genuine or ingenuine anti-hero. But whether his character is insufferable or not, his skill is undeniable. He defeated Rafael dos Anjos in 2018 to become the interim Welterweight Champion, but had that belt taken away from him when he couldn’t compete in a June fight due to injury. After a dominant win in August against Robbie Lawler, the fight against Usman was set.

Usman has been undefeated in his UFC run thus far. He took down longtime welterweight king Tyron Woodley back in March, going five rounds with him at UFC 235. Both with very scorecards depend backgrounds in wrestling, it will be interesting to see who puts on the better performance on Saturday.

UFC 245 is UFC’s second-last show of 2019, with its season finale taking place on December 21st in Busan, Korea, with UFC on ESPN+ 23.

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