We have arguably the biggest card of the year this weekend, with two title rematches and an absolute barnburner between two powerhouses. In the main event, Kamaru Usman looks to solidify himself as the pound for pound best fighter in the world as he takes on Colby Covington.
In the co-main Rose Namajunas aims to go back-to-back against China’s first champion Weili Zhang and Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler are sure to provide fireworks in the third fight on the main card. Do not miss this weekend's card! We take a look at my three best bets below so you can cover the cost of the Pay-Per-View.
UFC 268 Betting Tips
Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
This is a fight that on paper doesn’t necessarily make sense as Covington has only beat a rapidly regressing Tyron Woodley since being finished by Usman back in 2019. However, what we have is a fan friendly match up, although I believe it won’t be a stand a bang fight like the first.
Kamaru Usman, is the best fighter in the UFC as it stands. His wrestling is dominant and his striking has improved to a point where he can knock out seasoned strikers. Covington since losing his title fight to Usman, has changed camps and says he is a new beast. I personally don’t buy it one bit and believe somewhat disappointingly this will be a one-sided rematch.
Let’s be honest, Usman was winning the first fight before he finished Covington and the finish was just the icing on the cake. Covington’s best weapon is the pace he can set thanks to his cardio. In this match up however, he can’t overwhelm Usman like he did Woodley and dos Anjos. I expect Usman to fight behind his jab and cause all sorts of problems for the American.
I simply just haven’t seen enough improvement from Covington to think this fight could go differently, largely because he has only fought once since, whereas Usman seems to have improved a great deal since their last meeting. I expect Usman gets the win and I think he knocks out Covington once more.
Value: Usman by KO/TKO ($2.70)
Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang
I am still frustrated at myself for talking myself out of backing Rose in their first encounter. However, I am not going to back her in the rematch either. Namajunas had a massive technical striking advantage in their first encounter as Zhang is often flat footed when she is not pressing forward. The key to victory here for Rose is the exact same as in their first fight, lateral movement.
Zhang is so physically strong for the Strawweight division and in close quarters she will win the exchanges hands down. I believe that this fight will be one that will be tight all the way to the end. I don’t believe Zhang will be finished again as she has shown throughout her career that she is a fast learner and makes adjustments fight to fight. Therefore I believe she would have gone away and worked on her footwork and movement before the rematch and will walk out this weekend a different fighter.
I am going to play this fight two ways, firstly I am going to go with the fight to go the distance as I believe it will be a back-and-forth technical war. Secondly, I am going to have a saver better on Zhang to win by knockout. I believe that her power may be too much for Rose if she can catch her clean. So main bet is on the fight to go the distance, with a wager to cover that bet on Zhang by KO/TKO.
Value: Zhang by KO/TKO ($4.33)
Fight to go distance
Gian Villante vs Chris Barnett
I am shocked to see Chris Barnett open as a small underdog in this fight as the matchup is perfect for him. Gian Villante was an underperforming Light Heavyweight so he decided to try his hand at Heavyweight. That hasn’t panned out at all well though, going 0-2 to mediocre Heavyweights, Maurice Green and former Middleweight Jake Collier. He gassed horrifically against Green and was badly outclassed on the feet by Collier. Villante also lacks the knockout power to turn a fight on its head, as shown by him not finishing a single opponent in the past five years.
His opponent, Chris Barnett, is far from great but his weakness is in his wrestling, something Villante is incapable of exposing. Barnett is skilled on the feet and his cardio is rather solid for a Heavyweight. He should be way too good for an oversized and one paced Villante. Back Barnett to get the win here with the most confidence you ever can for an early prelims Heavyweight bout.