Colby Covington backed up the trash talk at UFC 225 on Saturday, claiming the interim welterweight championship against Rafael Dos Anjos.
Former Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos had found new success since moving up to Welterweight, having gone an undefeated 3-0 since the move. At UFC 225 dos Anjos met trash talking Colby Covington, the self proclaimed “super villain” of the UFC. Covington entered the night after on a five fight win streak defeating Damian Maia at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida. He was on a roll, more importantly to the UFC promotional machine, he was willing to say anything to get noticed.
However, Colby Covington proved Saturday that he could back up the talk when it mattered most. With the action underway, Covington came out fast and got the take down early. dos Anjos worked to his feet but Covington stuck to him and took him back down. Again, dos Anjos got back his feet quickly. They broke and engage briskly; Covington pressed the action and dos Anjos fired back. Covington fired a high kick, dos Anjos landed a solid knee to the body. Covington continued to press the action but dos Anjos looked to have some answers as he worked Covington’s body. Covington’s pace looked to have slowed since the opening barrage. Still, he pressed the action and pressured dos Anjos into the fence, not giving him any time to set up. If there was any surprise, it was the fast start of Covington.
In round two, Covington again came out fast with a flurry that transitioned into a takedown. dos Anjos was quick to get back to his feet but Covington stuck to him. dos Anjos broke free and Covington again pressed forward securing the clinch into the fence and then the take down. dos Anjos scrambled back to his feet and made room. The two exchanged and dos Anjos landed a solid shot to the body. Covington shrugged it off and pressed forward. Covington found the uppercut connecting on dos Anjos and continued to press the action. The next exchange saw Covington land another takedown and secure dos Anjos’ back. The Brazilian worked to his feet, and the two traded punches as the round came to an end.
Colby Covington had another quick start in the third. He pressured dos Anjos and put him into the fence; dos Anjos escaped but Covington was quick to press him back into the cage again. Covington landed a nice kick to the body when they broke and went right back for the take down. dos Anjos quickly popped back to his feet but Covington was still there to keep the pressure on. After they broke apart, Covington landed a groin kick that brought a pause to the action. dos Anjos recovered quickly and the action resumed. Again, Covington quickly secured the clinch and pressed dos Anjos into the cage. dos Anjos landed a solid punch off the break but Covington drove through again for the clinch into the fence. Covington kept walking dos Anjos down into the fence and clinch, right to the bell. It would go to the championship rounds, with RDA arguably down three rounds.
He’d do his best to battle back. dos Anjos opened with a superman punch that caught Covington off guard and the two exchanged. Covington looked to have recovered, and he shot the take down. dos Anjos sprung to his feet and shot his own take down that brought Covington to the mat. The tables had turned. Covington made it back to his feet only for dos Anjos to get the second take down, again Covington worked back to his feet and again dos Anjos took him back to the mat. Covington finally made it back to his feet and escaped to the center of the cage. The two exchanged take down attempts. dos Anjos looked to be getting things going but Covington again brought the pressure and drove dos Anjos back, he then shot the take down and brought dos Anjos down to the mat to end the round.
Another quick start for Covington in round five saw him take the back of dos Anjos standing against the cage. dos Anjos broke free and Covington just missed a flying knee. Covington landed and went right back to the pressure game that had worked so well for him throughout the fight. Covington again looked for the take down against the cage and worked into getting dos Anjos’ back. Dos Anjos spun out and they broke with Covington throwing punches before they clinched again. Dos Anjos landed a looping left that looked to have hurt Covington, but he shot the take down and recovered against the cage. They broke and started to exchange as the round came to an end, with both fighters landing multiple punches before the horn sounded.
A worthy title fight for an interim belt of questionable worth, what with welterweight champ Tyron Woodley due back soon. Covington, however, proved he could hang with the best, and should be in line for a shot to unify the titles against Woodley in the coming months.
Colby Covington def. Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)