UFC 272: Masvidal and Covington fight highlights card

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UFC 272 is built entirely around its main event, which has the potential to be explosive – or a huge disappointment.

Welterweight No. 1 contenders Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington meet in a grudge match to settle long-standing issues. While some of the back and forth is contrived (I’m jaded, I guess, from my years covering pro wrestling), there’s a big enough core of truth in their frustrations with each other to make it legit. Yet even with a compelling backstory, they must also deliver in the cage. That won’t be the case if Covington pins Masvidal against the cage for 25 minutes. While this could be a successful path to victory for Covington, it would lead to an extremely boring fight.

There are also questions about the rest of the map. Without a title fight, 272 lacks some excitement. Maybe that will change if Sergey Spivak puts Greg Hardy to sleep, or if Bryce Mitchell can pull off the biggest win of his career against Edson Barboza. If Islam Makhachev had returned to the cage a week after dismantling Bobby Green, it would have added a whole new air of anticipation currently missing from 272. There will be no doubting Makhachev with Renato Moicano, a talented but not likely fighter to steal the show in his fight against Rafael dos Anjos.

As we dig deeper into the map, here are some of the most pressing questions and issues regarding 272:

What is at stake for Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington?

With or without the ceremonial BMF title, this fight represents a chance for both fighters to stay relevant atop the welterweight rankings.

Covington is currently the highest ranked contender at welterweight. If he racks up two or three straight wins, he’ll instantly re-enter the title chase. A win would also be incredibly meaningful for Masvidal, who would create chaos in the division if he took out Covington.

Neither fighter is on Kamaru Usman’s list of potential upcoming opponents. But that may start to change with a convincing win at 272.

Does Islam Makhachev’s absence from UFC 272 open a window for Conor McGregor to receive a title shot at the lightweight championship? And how does this affect the 272 card?

Let’s tackle this one in reverse order. There will be some entertaining fights at 272 but at a cost. The card lacks a title fight as well as any sort of high stakes.

The opener is Sergey Spivak against Greg Hardy, who will ignite the crowd if Hardy is eliminated. Neither Spivak nor Hardy are close to title contention, and even a convincing victory for either won’t change that. In addition to the main event, the second welterweight fight on the card is Kevin Holland vs. Alex Oliveira. It would be a shock if Holland didn’t get the win here, which would be his first since December 2020. Oliveira is heading in the wrong direction, dropping his last three fights, and he’s set to suffer his fourth straight loss. .

The potential for real excitement exists in the Edson Barboza – Bryce Mitchell featherweight bout. It’s a packed opportunity for the undefeated Mitchell to earn his 15th straight win and begin his climb up the top 10 in the standings, starting with Barboza, who is No. 10. But it’s an extremely difficult task. Mitchell doesn’t hold a win against anyone close to Barboza’s skill level. Unless Barboza has aged since the Shane Burgos fight last May when he looked exceptional, he’s going to give Mitchell an introduction to the Octagon he has yet to receive.

The co-main was originally supposed to be Rafael dos Anjos against Rafael Fiziev, but that was canceled once Fiziev tested positive for COVID-19. There was a chance to generate real power for 272 by bringing Islam Makhachev back into the cage after battling last Saturday. Makhachev dominated Bobby Green, and a clash against dos Anjos could have been spectacular. UFC president Dana White says Makhachev turned down the offer, which is hugely disappointing for fight fans.

And all of that brings us to Conor McGregor. White also revealed that Makhachev’s next opponent will be Beneil Dariush, who he was originally supposed to fight last week before Dariush missed out with injury. Would Makhachev have been more likely to receive a title shot had he taken this fight? It’s hard to say for sure, as there was no guarantee he would have defeated dos Anjos. All of this opens the door for someone to challenge lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. While he certainly hasn’t won a title from his recent victories, it suddenly appears that McGregor now has a real shot at a title. There are more deserving fighters, but no one owns the value of the McGregor name.

Unfortunately for the 272 pay-per-view, there’s more excitement away from it than on the card.

What does Joe Rogan’s return to the broadcast booth mean for UFC 272?

Dana White has confirmed to Barstool Sports’ Robbie Fox that the hugely popular Joe Rogan will return to the broadcast team for UFC 272.

Despite being available, Rogan was not part of the call-up during last month’s UFC 271 event on ESPN+. Multiple sources close to the situation revealed to Sports Illustrated that it was ESPN executives who called for Rogan to be removed from that show, cautiously applying a wait-and-see approach to developments in Rogan’s controversial news cycle. While most of the headlines have died down, Rogan continues to have huge reach with his audience. Bringing it back is a smart choice for the UFC, especially since an overwhelming number of their fighters want it on helmets.

Beyond a passing note, Rogan’s absence from 271 is unlikely to be mentioned. He shares an incredible rapport with play-by-play man Jon Anik, so there’s a slight possibility it could be discussed on-air, but nothing for long.

Who will cut the better post-fight promo: Covington or Masvidal?

Masvidal is one of the most compelling interviews in sport. If he wins, the Las Vegas crowd will be hooked on his every word. It’s not impossible that he would call out McGregor, and he would no doubt go after Covington for his unethical marketing tactics.

If Covington wins, expect his typical rhetoric. Covington rarely strays from this persona he has made, although there was a momentary mistake when he and Usman exchanged words of respect for each other after their five-round fight last November. . Covington won’t be getting another shot at Usman anytime soon, so if he wins, the focus of his attention will be Dustin Poirier.

Continued mma Blanket:

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Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @justin barrasso.

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