UFC on ESPN 5 Report: Colby Covington dominates Robbie Lawler

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/08/03/ufc-on-espn-5-report-colby-covington-dominates-robbie-lawler/

UFC on ESPN 5 Report: Colby Covington dominates Robbie Lawler

Submitted by: Eric Marcotte

The UFC returned to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for the first time since 2016 for their fifth card on ESPN. This event was headlined by former interim welterweight champion and top contender Colby Covington, facing fan-favorite “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, who was coming off a controversial loss to Ben Askren. Covington won the interim welterweight title with a win over Rafael dos Anjos last June but was passed over for a shot at the undisputed title twice, by Darren Till and (now champion) Kamaru Usman respectively. Lawler was scheduled to rematch the man who beat him for his title back in 2016, Tyron Woodley, in late June, but a Woodley injury resulted in the fight being canceled.

With a new champion in Usman, and Jorge Masvidal gaining a great deal of mainstream attention, Covington needed a statement victory to keep his name next in line for a title opportunity. Conversely, Robbie Lawler had fallen out of the top ten for the first time since their inception in the UFC, and a win over Covington would prove he is still an elite fighter in the division.

Jon Anik called the event alongside former UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Performance bonuses were awarded to Narsat Haqparast and Matt Schnell. Fight of the Night bonuses went to Antonina Shevchenko and Lucie Pudilova. The reported attendance for the event was 10,427 and had a gate of $687,778.


*Miranda Granger def. Hannah Goldy by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Claudio Silva def. Cole Williams by rear-naked choke in 2:35 of Round 1

*Lauren Murphy def. Mara Romero Borella by TKO at 1:46 of Round 3

*Matt Schnell def. Jordan Espinosa by triangle choke at 1:26 of Round 1

*Antonina Shevchenko def. Lucie Pudilova by rear-naked choke at 1:20 of Round 2

*Mickey Gall def. Salim Touahri by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Kennedy Nzechukwu def Darko Stosic by unanimous decision (29-26, 28-27, 28-27)

*Scott Holtzman def. Dong Hyun Ma by TKO at 5:00 of Round 2

*Gerald Meerschaert def. Trevin Giles by guillotine choke at 1:49 of Round 3

*Narsat Haqparast def. Joaquim Silva by TKO at 1:49 of Round 2

*Jim Miller def. Clay Guida by guillotine choke at 0:58 of Round 1

*Colby Covington def. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)


Both women connected often and early in the first, and the battle appeared to be the significant reach advantage of Granger against the power of Goldy. They would circle each other for a period of time, and then meet in the middle and begin trading. Granger landed more strikes, and seemingly the bigger strikes towards the end of the round. In the second Granger was really finding her timing and utilizing her reach advantage, and stumbled Goldy with a left hook which was the most significant blow of the fight thus far. Goldy landed an impressive pair of kicks to the head of Granger as she entered the pocket but did not appear to have much effect. The third round was close, with Goldy taking the center of the octagon and moving forward. The most significant moment of the round came towards the end with Granger let loose with a flurry of strikes to Goldy against the cage.

WINNER: Miranda Granger by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

I saw this fight the same way as the judges. Granger looked sharp in there, gauging Goldy’s timing well, and landing impactful strikes at a higher rate. She took this fight a weight division higher than she normally fights, and on short notice. I would not mind seeing her fight at 135 again in the future.


Williams took this fight on short notice and missed weight by 5 pounds. Silva came into this fight riding a 13-fight win streak.

Both men started aggressively, landing strikes that you could hear across the arena. Silva shot in and brought Williams to the ground, and immediately took his back. Silva continuously threw punches down upon Williams to open up the choke, and he succeeded, finishing him with a rear-naked choke.

WINNER: Claudio Silva by rear-naked choke in 2:35 of Round

This looked like it could have been a competitive fight on the feet, but the second Silva went for the takedown you could see the writing on the wall. Silva has now won his last 14 fights, and in his post-fight interview, he stated that he was finally injury-free. He looked fantastic here, he is now 5-0 in the UFC and he is certainly a name to remember amongst currently unranked fighters in the division


Murphy’s best weapon in the first was her looping counter hooks which continuously found their target throughout the round. Borella threw some solid leg kicks early, and circled Murphey throughout the round, fighting behind her jab. Borella succeeded on her first takedown attempt in the second round, but Murphy quickly worked her way back to the feet and they wrestled in the clinch against the cage, with Murphy holding her there for the rest of the round. In the third round, Murphy connected with a right uppercut as Borella was moving in that clearly hurt Borella. Borella shot for a desperation takedown that Murphy stopped and countered with a perfectly timed knee that knocked Borella down, and she ended the fight with a trio of heavy elbows on the ground.

WINNER: Lauren Murphy by TKO in 1:46 of Round 3

I had Murphy up on the scorecards going into the third, but both of the first two rounds were close enough that there were no sure bets as to what the judges saw. This was a beautiful finish by Murphy, with both the uppercut and the knee being perfectly timed to hurt Borella and get the finish. Murphy is now 3-3 in the UFC.


Kamaru Usman joined the commentary team for this fight.

Espinosa moved right in and landed a huge right hand that Schnell didn’t react to. Espinosa shot in for a takedown that Schnell countered with a guillotine attempt, before transitioning to a triangle choke and finishing the fight.

WINNER: Matt Schnell by triangle choke in 1:23 of Round 1

This couldn’t of went much better for Schnell. He has won his past 4 fights in the UFC and will be looking at a place in the top ten after this performance. He sounded great in his post-fight interview, definitely coming off as a very charismatic individual.

Usman did not exactly get a ton of time to show off his commentary chops here, but I am personally high on him as a member of the panelist team and would be interested to see him get a proper opportunity at commentary in the future.


Pudilova engaged Shevchenko in the clinch early and ate a series of knees to the body for her efforts. Shevchenko backed her into the cage rather easily and continued to work her knees to the body. They were separated after an accidental knee from Shevchenko to the groin area of Pudilova, but they quickly returned to their previous clinch battle, with Shevchenko continuing to utilize her knees. Pudilova landed a pair of elbows that cut Shevchenko open, and Pudilova brought her to the ground. Shevchenko fully applied an armbar that Pudilova somehow worked her way out of. The commentators had all but called the fight, and it was amazing that Pudilova got out of this. In the second round, Pudilova heavily pursued the takedown, succeeding in bringing the fight back to the ground, but Shevchenko controlled her position on the landing, taking the back of Pudilova, sinking in the rear-naked choke and choking Pudilova unconscious.

WINNER: Antonina Shevchenko by rear-naked choke in 1:20 of Round 2

This was a very entertaining fight. Shevchenko showed off her dominance in the clinch and much improved grappling when the fight went to the ground. Shevchenko improves to 2-1 in the UFC and hopes to kick the week off strongly for the Shevchenko sisters, as her sister Valentina Shevchenko defends her flyweight title in seven days.


The crowd was firmly behind their hometown fighter in Mickey Gall. Gall pressured Touahri early and found success with his jab and straight right. Touahri landed a clean hook as Gall moved in, but he recovered quickly. There was some confusion shown by the fighters in regards to the legality of a knee that grazed the shoulder of a grounded Touahri, which further demonstrates the ridiculousness of the current ununified ruleset. Gall ended the round in dominant position on the ground, likely sealing the round in his favor.

Gall landed some significant strikes against the cage in the early portion of the second round. Both men are swinging when they exchange. Whenever Gall applies pressure he moves in a straight line, and when Touahri moves to the side he is stopping the combinations of Gall. Touahri was in dominant position with Gall beneath him near the cage and landed some heavy ground and pound, but Gall brought the fight back to the feet and appeared to hurt Touahri with his barrage of elbows towards the end of the round, but Touahri again managed to put Gall on his back, and ended the round on top.

Both men were exchanging heavy blows on the feet in the third round, landing cleanly at a high rate. Touahri stopped the takedown attempts of Gall, but as the round progressed Gall appeared to have a bit more in the gas tank and was connecting more with his strikes. Both men were fighting wildly in this round. I scored the fight 30-27 Gall.

WINNER: Mickey Gall by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was another entertaining fight, and Mickey Gall picked up a much-needed win in his home state here. After the Sanchez fight, Gall’s cardio was heavily questioned, and while he clearly tired as the fight wore on, he went the distance and looked proficient in multiple areas of the fight. In his post-fight interview, Gall called for a rematch with Diego Sanchez, stating his performance in that fight was due to sickness.


Stosic opened up the contest by throwing a series of leg kicks that all landed cleanly. Stosic shot for the single-leg which Nzechukwu defended well. Stosic is tearing apart the legs of Nzechukwu, forcing him to alternate stances. With seconds to go in the round, Stosic let loose with a series of hooks that made Nzechukwu cover-up, but the fight moved into the second round.

Nzechukwu ate a clean shot to the groin in the opening seconds of the round. The first half of the round was all Nzechukwu, who pressured forward, fought behind his jab and controlled the pace of the fight. Stosic did succeed on a takedown, but Nzechukwu got right back up. Stosic was repeatedly touching his nose, indicating that it was bothering him. Referee Gary Copeland took a point from Stosic after a second groin strike.

In the third round, Stosic connected cleanly with a groin strike one more time and Nzechukwu had to crawl back to his neutral corner in pain. Copeland took another point from Stosic. As the action resumed Stosic engaged Nzechukwu in the clinch and took him to the ground shortly thereafter, but Nzechukwu quickly returned to his feet. The crowd voiced their displeasure as the fight ended. Taking the point deductions into account, I scored this 28-27 Nzechukwu.

WINNER: Kennedy Nzechukwu by unanimous decision (29-26, 28-27, 28-27)

After the first round, this was not a great fight. The two deducted points cost Stosic the fight, as he would have won on the scorecards of two judges otherwise. The crowd booed Nzechukwu heavily, and he seemed very disappointed in his own performance.


Dong Hyun Ma missed weight by 2 pounds.

The first minute was a feeling-out process between the two men, with lots of feinting, trying to gauge the timing and reaction speed the other man. Holtzman dropped Ma with a well-timed straight right hand and followed him to the ground. Holtzman looked to transition to a submission attempt but Ma managed to keep Holtzman from advancing into a position to finish the fight.

The first minute of the second round was intense, with both fighters brawling until Ma brought Holtzman to the ground briefly which halted the wild exchanges between the two. This moment of respite did not last long, as they returned to trading hands not long after. Ma knocked Holtzman down with one of his wild strikes, but Holtzman returned to his feet quickly and somehow, they went right back to trading in the pocket, no movement or blocking to be spoken of. Holtzman ended the round on top landing elbows to Ma after a clean takedown. This round was wild. Ma’s left eye was swollen completely shut by the end of the second round, and he told the doctor he could not see out of the eye and the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Scott Holtzman by TKO at 5:00 of Round 2

This fight was phenomenal. Both men were landing clean shots, both men were knocked down and neither man offered much in the way of defense. As noted by Jon Anik, it often feels anti-climatic when the fight stops between rounds due to doctor stoppage, but it undoubtedly the right decision here. I highly recommend this fight to anyone who missed this card. Holtzman called for a top 15-20 ranked opponent in his next fight.


About twenty seconds in Giles connected with a lead right hand that Meerschaert clearly felt. Giles easily took Meerschaert down, but Meerschaert expertly worked his way into a dominant top position. Eventually, Meerschaert postured up and Giles used that moment to scramble out, and he returned to the side mount that he had Meerschaert in after his initial takedown. Giles worked his way into the full mount in the second, and as Meerschaert slid out, Giles attempted to transition to a triangle choke to no success. Meerschaert threw some strikes at Giles from inside Giles’s guards as his corner screamed at him. Noticeable booing from the audience at this point in the fight. Into the third, the fight returned to the ground and Meerschaert pursed the guillotine, which Giles momentarily escaped from, but the choke was reapplied in a stronger position. Giles tapped out, but this was missed by referee Herb Dean and Meerschaert choked Giles unconscious.

WINNER: Gerald Meerschaert by guillotine choke at 1:49 of Round 3

This fight took place almost entirely on the ground, and while the first two rounds were close, Meerschaert looked to be the higher-level grappler and sealed the deal with an impressive finish. Meerschaert improved to 5-3 in the UFC with this win.


Georges St Pierre is alongside Firas Zahabi in the corner of Nasrat Haqparast.

Silva was rather tentative early, looking to counter the offense of Haqparast, which Haqparast took advantage of by being the more aggressive fighter, and moving out of striking range before Silva could connect cleanly. Silva did land a clean knee about halfway through the round. In the second round, Haqparast threw a ducking left hook moving towards Silva that knocked Silva down hard, and Haqparast gave Silva no time to recover, forcing referee Keith Peterson to stop the fight with some brutal ground and pound.

WINNER: Nasrat Haqparast by TKO at 0:39 of Round 2

There was a huge “GSP” chant as the broadcast returned from the commercial break. I thought this was the best Haqparast has looked in the UFC, showcasing powerful high level striking, alongside impressive defensive awareness. Haqparast has now won his last 3 fights inside the octagon.

JIM MILLER (30-13, 1 NC, 155) VS CLAY GUIDA (35-18, 154.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT

This is Jim Millers 33rd fight in the UFC, adding to his record number of octagon appearances.

Miller missed a high kick and Guida countered with a right hand that rocked Miller, and as Guida rushed in to capitalize on the moment Miller threw a counter left hook that hurt Guida and swiftly jumped on a guillotine, choking Guida unconscious.

WINNER: Jim Miller by guillotine choke at 0:58 of Round 1

This was a big win for Jim Miller in front of his home crowd. Miller is 3-1 in his last 4 fights. Cruz pointed out that this was the third submission on this card that was stopped late, and Anik noted that this was the second one tonight from Herb Dean.


Coming into this fight, Covington was on a 6-fight win streak. Covington’s last fight was in June of 2018. Lawler had gone 1-2 since losing the UFC welterweight championship to Tyron Woodley in 2016. Covington entered to Kurt Angles WWE theme song and naturally received the “you suck” chants from the audience.

The fighters did not touch gloves to start the fight. Wild first twenty seconds of the fight with both fighters swinging. Lawler displayed good takedown defense early, but it did not take long for Covington to begin to work his game plan on Lawler, taking his back and dragging him down to the ground multiple times, looking for the rear-naked choke. Covington looked like he was having very little trouble with Lawler once the grappling exchanges began. The pace in which Covington is fighting with is amazing and continues to be the strongest asset of his game. Covington looks comfortable on the feet against Lawler as well. An easy first round for Covington.

In the second round, Covington threw a quick combo against a defensive Lawler and changed levels, bringing Lawler back to the ground. Lawler seemed to be having trouble with the level changes and pace of Covington. 10 minutes into the fight, this fight was all Covington, who was dominating wherever the fight went. Clear 20-18 Covington going into the third round.

Covington shot a double leg and took Lawler down once more to start this round. Lawler always manages to get back to his feet, but Covington’s speed and pace are allowing him to dictate where the fight takes place. Lawler is clearly not as quick as he once was, and it almost feels like Covington is fighting on a times speed faster. This was Lawler’s best round so far, landing his most notable strikes of the contest inside the pocket, but I thought Covington still won this round rather clearly.

Most of round 4 took place on the feet, and the story continued to be the dominance of Covington, who was winning this fight on the ground and on the feet. Lawler’s defense and endurance were impressive, but offensively, he had nothing to offer Covington. A clear 40-36 score for Covington heading into the fifth and final round.

The fifth round may have been Lawler’s best, as he began to apply pressure, knowing he needed a finish, but Covington’s offense continued to be too much for Lawler, who couldn’t mount any significant offense against the non-stop attack of Covington. Covington connected with a back fist in the final seconds of the fight that cut Lawler open above his left eye, and I scored this fight 50-45 in his favor.

WINNER: Colby Covington by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)

In his post-fight interview, Covington took a dig at Matt Hugh’s incident with the train, thanked the Trumps and the United States Military, and called out Kamaru Usman.

This was an incredible performance by Covington who has not missed a beat since his last fight in June of 2018. He showed proficiency in every area of his game and displayed what might be the best pace and cardio in martial arts. He should be looking at an undisputed title shot in his next fight.

Covington is a talented fighter but he really is a dumb as fuck, trashy piece of shit.

I understand that none of this is new information.

Covington would be a draw if he could actually cut a promo without butchering his rehearsed lines.

He’s basically GSP on red kryptonite. Where everything is virtually identical except for the attitude

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It hasn’t moved PPV numbers or ratings and it hasn’t gotten him a shot at the title. It generates talk online, but that’s about it. When the facade is so comically transparent, I don’t think it will ever bring him further then where his talent already does.

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