Colby Covington told Sporting News earlier this week that his UFC Newark headliner against Robbie Lawler was personal. He promised to punish his former teammate for leaving the American Top Team gym.
Covington was a man of his word as he combined constant pressure, excellent conditioning, great wrestling and volume striking for 25 minutes to soundly defeat the former welterweight champion by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45) on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The win extends Covington's winning streak to seven.
“Let’s talk about the lesson we learned tonight,” Covington said in his postfight interview to a chorus of boos. "It's a strong lesson that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy Matt Hughes — you stay off the tracks when a train’s coming, junior.
"Don’t matter if it’s the [Donald] Trump train or the Colby train, get out the way."
Lawler swung for the knockout in the opening moments, and Covington temporarily obliged him with an exchange before securing a couple of takedowns. He eventually took Lawler's back and tried for a rear-naked choke. Lawler got up with about a minute to go in the round, but Covington kept up the pressure and connected on a couple of strikes.
Covington set the tone for the remainder of the fight at the start of Round 2 when he threw a couple of strikes and took Lawler back down to the ground. Once Lawler got back to his feet, Covington surprisingly controlled the action on the feet by continuously throwing and not letting the former champion get off any strikes.
The relentless pace continued for the last 15 minutes of the bout as Covington (15-1) stayed on his feet and went into Lawler's domain. He threw punch after punch, kick after kick, and never let Lawler get into a rhythm.
UFC president Dana White said before the fight that Covington would get a crack at welterweight champion Kamaru Usman if he could beat Lawler (28-14). "Chaos" held up his end of the bargain and then began the hype for that matchup with some words for Usman, who was in the building working as an analyst for ESPN.
"Marty Fake Newsman, I don’t want to wait until Nov. 2 in Madison Square Garden, we can do it tonight,” Covington said. "We can do it right now. Where you at? I’m coming for you."
Co-main event: Jim Miller chokes out Clay Guida in thrilling fashion
This highly anticipated bout lived up to the billing as Miller defeated Guida by technical submission (guillotine choke) 58 seconds into the first round.
Miller and Guida came out looking for action as they met in the center of the cage at the opening horn. Miller came out with a left head kick. Not fazed in the slightest, Guida blocked it and rocked Miller with a counter right hand. Miller took a moment and stepped back to gather his bearings. Guida came in and popped Miller with a short straight left hand.
Miller immediately grabbed Guida, dropped him to the mat and locked in the guillotine choke, squeezing as hard as he could. A few seconds later, Guida was out, but referee Herb Dean was late getting to him and had to pull Miller off of him.
The 35-year-old Miller (31-13, one no-contest) becomes the fifth fighter in UFC history to reach 20 victories inside the Octagon. He also has won back-to-back tilts.
UFC Newark results
Nasrat Haqparast def. Joaquim Silva via knockout at 0:36 of the second round; lightweights.
Gerald Meerrschaert def. Trevin Giles by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:49 of the third round; middleweights.
Scott Holtzman def. Dong Hyun Ma via TKO at 5:00 of the second round; lightweights.
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Darko Stosic by unanimous decision (29-26, 28-27, 28-27); light heavyweights.
Mickey Gall def. Salim Touahri via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28); welterweights.
Antonina Shevchenko def. Lucie Pudilova by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:20 of the second round; women's flyweights.
Matt Schnell def. Jordan Espinosa via submission (triangle choke) at 1:23 of the first round; flyweights.
Lauren Murphy def. Mara Romero Borella by TKO at 1:46 of the third round; women's flyweights.
Claudio Silva def. Cole Williams via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:35 of the first round; welterweights.
Miranda Granger def. Hannah Goldy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27); women's flyweights.