Covington (16-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) meets former teammate-turned foe Masvidal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 272 main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and just as the oddsmakers are suggesting, Hardy sees Covington as the favorite.
Hardy explains that while Masvidal is durable, Covington’s relentless pace will eventually overwhelm him over the course of five rounds.
“What I expect is for Covington to drown him for five rounds or less,” Hardy told Submission Radio. “I think he’s going to really struggle to finish Masvidal, but I do think he’s going to be able to control him for good periods of time on the floor, and that comes down to Masvidal’s conditioning. I know as a lightweight, he was able to scramble and scramble.
“But as a welterweight, he’s a bit more calculated with when he expends that energy. He’s wise with it, but there are points where he does find himself stuck on the floor. … What’s most likely to happen is that Covington is gonna maul him and take a unanimous decision, probably 3-4 rounds to 1.”
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Hardy admits that despite predicting a victory for Covington, he thinks Masvidal has been continuously underestimated in fights and hopes he pulls it off.
“But I always root for the underdog,” Hardy said. “I think this is a bit of pattern for me: When the fans and the betting lines identify who the underdog is, I start to then try and make arguments for the underdog to win. One thing we’ve learned about Masvidal is that you can’t really bank on anything in his fights. …
“I except Covington to win, but I will be pleasantly surprised if I see Masvidal do something and turn the fight around. As a fan, I’m pulling for Masvidal, but I know what he’s up against, and I know how difficult Covington is gonna be to deal with.”
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