Five Takeaways from UFC 245: Was Colby Covington’s Gimmick Good For Business?

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The final UFC Pay Per View of 2019 is in the books, and UFC 245 delivered a plethora of memorable highlights, and more than a handful of unforgettable knockouts.

With champions Kamaru Usman and Amanda Nunes retaining their belts, Alexander Volkanovski become the new featherweight king, winning the UFC title three years after he made his debut for the promotion.

Bookended by a pair of knockouts, the UFC 245 fight card closed out with one of the top fights of the year, as Usman settled the score with heated rival Colby Covington.

Over the course of five rounds, Usman and Covington, a pair of fighters known for their wrestling prowess, opted to stay on the feet, battering each other with punches and kicks for more than 24 minutes, earning the UFC 245 Fight of the Night in the process.

In the end, however, Usman landed the heavier shots, dropping Covington twice in the final frame. Brutalizing Covington’s jaw during the course of the bout, Usman poured on the ground strikes late in the fifth to successfully defend his welterweight title for the first time.

And with Usman firmly cementing his place as the king of the 170 pound division, it’s important to review the biggest stories to come out of UFC 245.

Here are four more …

Covington and Bad Blood was Good for Business

Love him or hate him, Colby Covington found a way to get people emotionally invested in his UFC 245 main event against Kamaru Usman.

Wearing his MAGA hat, pushing Donald Trump Jr.’s “Triggered,” and trolling fans, Covington embraced his role as MMA’s villain. And, while he suffered the first knockout loss of his career, Covington still managed to get people to tune in and watch.

It’s unclear where Covington’s career will go from here, as he’s essentially been ostracized from the majority of the mixed martial arts community, but he dominated the ratings and numbers during UFC 245 fight week, and his promotional work definitely helped raise his profile, the magnitude of the event, and even Usman, who is now a UFC hero after shutting Covington’s mouth.

The Volkanovski Era Begins

Entering UFC 245, former featherweight king Max Holloway was the most tenured male champion on the roster, but in line with the major turnover at the top of half of the divisions in the UFC, Australia’s Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski played the spoiler, claiming the title via decision.

While the decision was decisive, it was Volkanovski’s game plan that was perfect at UFC 245. He put together an impressive strategy to beat Holloway, one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts, implementing leg kicks to slow down the former champ, while staying out of Holloway’s striking range.

Volkanovski becomes the fourth featherweight champion in UFC history, joining the impressive ranks of Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, and Max Holloway, and now that he’s at the top of the division, it’s fair to start wondering who he will face next.

There has already been talk of Volkanovski defending the belt in his native Australia. There’s also a looming rematch with Holloway, not to mention a pool of worthy contenders like Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez, and Chan Sung Jung.

With the Volkanovski era officially underway, the featherweight division is as exciting as it’s ever been.

Who will be next for Amanda Nunes? Claressa Shields?

It may not have been the finest performance of her career, but UFC dual champ Amanda Nunes successfully defended her bantamweight title at UFC 245, earning a decision over Germaine de Randamie.

With the win, Nunes continues her run as the UFC’s longest tenured champion, but having cleared out most of the names at 135 pounds, it’s unclear who will be next for Nunes.

Fellow bantamweight Irene Aldana picked up a fight night bonus at UFC 245 after starching Ketlen Vieira, who was heavily considered to be the favorite to earn the next shot at Nunes’ title. However, another name that joined the list of potential contenders is Claressa Shields. Yes, that’s two time Olympic champion boxer Claressa Shields, who was in attendance at UFC 245 to start floating the idea of a possible boxing vs. MMA series with Nunes.

Following the fight, Nunes instantly dismissed all talk of taking on Shields, but with very few names remaining at bantamweight, it’s a mystery who will fight for the belt next.

Petr Yan Has Earned His Title Shot

While it’s still unclear who the next contender at women’s bantamweight will be, on the men’s side of the division, Russia’s Petr Yan made his case as the next challenger to Henry Cejudo’s title.

Taking home $50,000 for his UFC 245 Performance of the Night, Yan delivered the finest performance of his career at exactly the right time, finishing UFC hall of famer Urijah Faber with a head kick, but only after he beat him up for the majority of the nearly 11-minute contest.

Now 6-0 in the UFC, and 14-1 overall, Yan joins a short list of contenders that apparently includes Jose Aldo, according to UFC president Dana White. Yan is only a year-and-a-half into his UFC run, but has already shown signs that he’s the next serious threat at bantamweight. He’s also shown signs of tremendous power, becoming the first person to knock Faber out in more than five years.

A New Crop of Up-and-Coming Contenders

While the UFC previously used its The Ultimate Fighter reality series to groom champions like Forrest Griffin, Michael Bisping, T.J. Dillashaw, and Rose Namajunas, the promotion has shifted its focus to the Dana White Contender Series as its main vehicle for developing new talent.

The format is already showing dividends.

Former DWCS competitor Geoff Neal earned the biggest win of his career at UFC 245, knocking out fan favorite Mike “Platinum” Perry in just 90 seconds. The victory should help Neal, who is 5-0 inside the Octagon, gain a larger platform and hopefully secure a fight against a top-15 opponent.

Additionally, another pair of DWCS alums, Chase Hooper and Puna Soriano, won their Octagon debuts at UFC 245. With Soriano kicking off the event with a massive knockout, it was 20 year old Hooper who withstood some early adversity, eating a few heavy punches from opponent Daniel Teymur before using his slithering jiu jitsu moves to force the action in his favor.

In the end, Hooper won the bout via TKO, but it was his creative jiu jitsu that put him in the position to win at UFC 245, a position he never would have been in if not for the Dana White Contender Series. But the real question is, who will become the first DWCS alum to win a UFC belt?

Stay tuned to BroBible for more coverage of UFC 245 and upcoming UFC events.

UFC 245 Official Results
Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington via TKO (punches) R5, 4:10
Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)
Amanda Nunes def. Germaine de Randamie via unanimous decision (49-44, 49-46, 49-45)
Marlon Moraes def. Jose Aldo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Petr Yan def. Urijah Faber via KO (head kick) R3, 0:43
Geoff Neal def. Mike Perry via KO (punches) R1, 1:30
Irene Aldana def. Ketlen Vieira via KO (punches) R1, 4:51
Omari Akhmedov def. Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Matt Brown def. Ben Saunders via KO (elbows and punches) R2, 4:55
Chase Hooper def. Daniel Teymur via TKO (elbows) R1, 4:34
Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jessica Eye def. Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Punahele Soriano def. Oskar Piechota via KO (punches) R1, 3:17