UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler

Preview and Predictions for UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 
UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler goes down this Saturday LIVE from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Action starts with:
       Prelims 12:00PM/ET  ESPN    Main Card  3:00PM/ET  ESPN 
UFC Newark Main Card Predictions
Darko Stosic (-130) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (+110)
Darko Stosic (13-2-0) will throw down with  Kennedy Nzechukwu (6-1-0) in a Light Heavyweight matchup to kickoff the ESPN Main Card. After a successful promotional debut at UFC Hamburg last June, Darko Stosic was unable to keep his momentum rolling and dropped a Unanimous Decision to Devin Clark two months ago at UFC Stockholm. The decision loss put an end to the hard hitting Serbian’s nine fight win streak. Kennedy Nzechukwu earned his UFC contract by defeating Dennis Bryant via First Round TKO last summer on the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Nzechukwu came up short in his official debut at UFC on ESPN 2 in March, losing to Paul Craig via Third Round Submission in a bout he was ahead of on the scorecards. Conditioning played a factor in Kennedy’s third round defeat to Craig, but I don’t think this fight has the chance of entering the final frame as both Stosic (eight knockouts) and Kennedy (four knockouts) throw with fight ending intentions. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Stosic via First Round KO 
D’Bo’s Pick: Nzechukwu via First Round TKO


Scott Holtzman (-440) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (+350) 
“Hot Sauce” Scott Holtzman (12-3-0) will face “The Maestro” Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3) in a Lightweight contest as both fighters look to rebound from a loss in their last Octagon appearance. Scott Holtzman, who is known for his wrestling ability and for applying a relentless pace on his opponents, was actually out wrestled by Nik Lentz en route to a Unanimous Decision loss at UFC Phoenix in February. Holtzman had previously won three straight and four of his last five and currently holds a UFC record of 6-3 since joining the promotion in 2015. “The Maestro” Dong Hyun Ma had also ripped off three consecutive victories before losing to Devonte Smith via First Round TKO at UFC 234 in February. Ma is 3-3 in the UFC to date, with a win over a veteran like Holtzman,  “Maestro” would be feeling good about this stage in his development as a professional. Determining who will be able to avoid a second straight defeat should make this an entertaining and competitive affair. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Maestro via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Holtzman via Decision 

Trevin Giles (-175) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+150)
Trevin “The Problem” Giles (11-1-0) will be looking to bounce back from his first professional loss as he takes on veteran Gerald “GM3” Meerschaert (28-11-0) in a Middleweight matchup. Previously undefeated as a professional, Trevin Giles was outclassed throughout his bout with Zak Cummings at UFC Rochester in May, eventually losing the bout via Third Round Submission. Giles enters the last fight on his UFC with a 2-1 record inside the Octagon following a pair of KO wins against Antonio Braga Neto and James Bochnovic in 2017. While Gerald Meerschaert is currently on a two fight skid, and has lost three of his last five, two of the three losses have come against top contenders in Jack Hermansson and Thiago Santos. The durable Meerschaert has twenty career wins by Submission and has only been KO’d once as he prepares for his 40th professional bout. With both Giles and Meerschaert hoping to get back into the win department, I expect this fight to end with a stoppage as both fighters seek a finish and to get back on the winning track. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Meerschaert via Second Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Meerschaert via Decision  

 Joachim Silva (+200) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (-250)
Joachim “Netto BJJ” Silva (11-1-0) meets Nasrat Haqparast (10-2-0) in a contest between rising Lightweight prospects. Silva, a former contestant on TUF Brazil, improved his record to 4-1 in the UFC last December with a Third Round KO finish of Jared Gordon at UFC Milwaukee. Nasrat Haqparast, a German with Afghani roots trains at the prestigious Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada, picked up a Unanimous Decision victory over Thibault Gouti in his most recent bout at UFC Moncton last October.  Haqparast has put on display his striking prowess and looks to be coming into his own heading into his showdown with Joachim Silva. If the Main Event does not take the cake, this is my pick for Fight of the Night. Should be fireworks. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Haqparast via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Haqparast via First Round TKO

Jim Miller (-160) vs. Clay Guida (+140)
In the Co-Main Event, New Jersey’s own Jim “A10” Miller (30-13-0,1NC) faces Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (35-18-0) in a Lightweight matchup of Octagon veterans. Jim Miller has had a resurgence of sorts as of late finishing two of his last three fights via Submission and appears to be in top physical condition. As Miller enters the Octagon for the 33rd time in his career Saturday, he will surpass Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone for the most Octagon appearances in UFC history. Miller currently holds the record for most wins in UFC Lightweight history (18) and sits in fifth place all time overall in UFC wins (19). Clay “The Carpenter” Guida just keeps on ticking. Preparing for his 28th Octagon appearance, Clay Guida has won three of his last four fights and most recently defeated BJ Penn via Unanimous Decision at UFC 237 in May. This should be a fun scrap between two fan favorites. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Guida via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Miller via Second Round Submission 

UFC NEWARK MAIN EVENT 
#2 Colby Covington (-230)  vs. #11 Robbie Lawler (+180)
Colby “Chaos” Covington (14-1-0) takes on former UFC Welterweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (28-13-0,1NC) in the UFC Newark Main Event. Former teammates at American Top Team (ATT) in Coconut Creek, Florida, Colby Covington, as per the usual, has voiced his criticisms as to why Lawler is no longer training with ATT. Covington returns to the Octagon following a fourteen month layoff to address health concerns and after having been stripped of the Interim UFC Welterweight title that he won by defeating Rafael Dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision at UFC 224 in June 2018. Robbie Lawler would miss all of 2018 after injuring his knee in his five round battle with RDA in the Main Event of UFC Winnipeg in December 2017. Lawler returned in March 2019 at UFC 235 losing to Ben Askren via a controversial Submission stoppage. Lawler looked like the same wild maniac that we have all grown to love in the bout with Askren, picking up and slamming Askren and raining down punches and was perhaps moments away from a TKO finish. Although Lawler has great takedown defense, Ruthless has had difficulty in the past against high level grapplers and wrestlers.  Colby has yet to face a ferocious striker like Ruthless Robbie LawIer in his MMA career to date. I expect this fight, with its potential Welterweight title shot implications, to be a battle from start to finish. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction: Covington via Third Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Lawler via First Round KO 

Next week the UFC travels South to Montevideo, Uruguay 🇺🇾 for UFC on ESPN+ 14: Schevchenko vs. Carmouche 2. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below, and enjoy the fights!! 

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