In the Clinch: Covington vs. Usman, UFC 268In the Clinch: Covington vs. Usman, UFC 268In the Clinch: Covington vs. Usman, UFC 268 – Can Colby Covington strike back at Kamaru Usman? Either welterweight champion Usman or No. 1 contender Covington is going to get their lunch handed to them at UFC 268.

There’s some bad blood here.

Almost two years removed from suffering a stinging TKO loss and fractured jaw to the champion at UFC 245, Covington (16-2-0), 33, will get his long-awaited shot after some considerable online trash talk at “Marty.”

Call it a Bronx cheer. 

A big win by Covington on Saturday night could make America great again.

Usman, 34, took a chance engaging in a firefight with Covington the first time. He came out on top but took some shots that I think he will want to avoid this time around. We may see more of the patented Usman ground game once he can take some starch out of Colby. But then again, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

“The Nigerian Nightmare” went on to decision Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 in July, stop Gilbert Burns in similar fashion at UFC 258 in February and then highlight-reel Masvidal in a rematch at UFC 261 in April. By most accounts, he’s taken care of business since winning the belt, hence his No. 1 ranking in the UFC’s pound-for-pound list.

But Covington is presented with a rather unique challenge: Usman’s pride.

It was the prideUsman called it emotion in interviews this week – that jarred Usman to trade strikes for almost five rounds with nary a takedown landed. It was there in the Burns fight too, but I’m not so sure he will be able to do it again. Covington successfully baited Usman into striking and held his own until the final round in the first fight. But Usman appears to be ready for that bait this time. He needs to make Usman respect his grappling and come out guns a-blazing.

This chess game will be played out on the ultimate stage – the octagon.

What a time to be a fight fan in New York City.

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