UFC on ESPN 5 - New Jersey Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC on ESPN 5? Saturday 3rd August, 2019 - 18:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC on ESPN 5? Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
What channel is UFC on ESPN 5? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC on ESPN 5? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ which can you sign up to here!
Are tickets still available for UFC on ESPN 5? https://www.ufc.com/tickets
Colby Covington vs Robbie Lawler
The only thing chaotic about Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington of late is his social media activity but thankfully he has buckled and accepted a fight that is not a title shot. Even better, it is against the legend Robbie ‘Ruthless’ Lawler.
We haven’t seen Covington since his impressive domination of Rafael dos Anjos over a year ago to claim the interim welterweight championship. That usually means you are guaranteed a title shot but it did not pan out that way for Covington which led to a spot of beef between him and Dana White.
In the meantime, Kamaru Usman got his chance against Tyron Woodley and made a huge statement in mauling him for five rounds to become the new king of the division. To keep his title hopes alive, the UFC have handed Covington Robbie Lawler, and we can’t help but think Dana secretly wants a ‘Ruthless’ win.
Lawler is war-tested and since losing the strap to Woodley three years ago has scraped past Donald Cerrone in a decision and then lost to Dos Anjos in another decision. He returned to the octagon after 15 months but lost to Ben Askren via submission.
Covington is certainly more entertaining outside of the cage relying on his wrestling to take the fight away from his opponents but it works, with only one loss on his record. Askren is similar but Lawler reminded everyone how threatening he is by suplexing the Olympic wrestler and almost finishing him with strikes early in their first round.
Lawler is a different class on the feet and has great takedown defence which will create openings to land but if ‘Ruthless’ doesn’t knock Covington out early, expect to see Covington’s elite-level wrestling grind out a decision. Covington has the gas tank to suck the life out of Lawler but only if he can avoid the incoming damage.
Winner: Covington via Decision
Jim Miller vs Clay Guida
Two veterans square-off in Newark, New Jersey for their combined 61st UFC fight. Clay Guida makes his 28th appearance and Jim Miller steps out in his home state for his 33rd show in the octagon.
They have both fought a 'who’s who?' of lightweight killers but even though they have descended past their prime, they are still fighting at the highest level. Miller had the pleasure of fighting Dustin Poirier, Anthony Pettis, Francisco Trinaldo and Dan Hooker in a row and lost them all. He bounced back with a vintage rear-naked choke against Alex White, suffered the same fate against Charles Oliveira, and then got back to old choking ways against Jason Gonzalez in his last outing.
After getting finished by Thiago Tavares and Brian Ortega, Guida bounced back impressively with a decision over Erik Koch and a knockout over fellow veteran Joe Lauzon. However, Oliveira inflicted another submission loss but Guida is coming off a decision win over the ageing BJ Penn.
Charles Oliveira is a beast so we cannot really judge their performances too heavily. They are both coming off wins but while Miller’s performance against Gonzalez was more impressive, this is a very tough fight to call.
They both prefer to grapple and it will be a fascinating exchange between Miller’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Guida’s wrestling. However, we could easily see these skill sets cancel each other out forcing a stand-up battle with little knockout power. A decision is likely, with Guida’s cardio just giving him the edge.
Winner: Guida via Decision
Joaquim Silva vs Nasrat Haqparast
Joaquim Silva flies up to New Jersey fresh from putting Jared Gordon to sleep on his feet but the highly touted Nasrat Haqparast meets him to stop any momentum as he is desperate to get more cage time and fulfil his potential.
Silva put on a great performance against Gordon, digging deep in the third round to get the finish, and it was a great response after suffering the first loss of his career to Vinc Pichel.
Kelvin Gastelum’s lookalike Haqparast earned his UFC shot after stringing eight knockouts in a row. However, he got a full taste of the elevated level of competition losing a decision to Marcin Held on his debut. Now, he is coming off two wins, decisions over Marc Diakiese and Thibault Gouti, discovering knockouts are harder to come by at this level.
Both men are exhilarating strikers and will look to get the job done on the feet. This will make it a war and as they both pack a lot of power a knockout is likely.
Haqparast is the crisper striker as Silva throws more wild and looping punches. If the German can avoid these then he can counter with more precision but he has to be patient, especially as the Brazilian has a habit of emptying his gas tank in search of the knockout and tiring himself out.
Judging on how well Haqparast employed his game plan against Diakiese, who is also a wild and dangerous striker, the youngster gets the nod and may even secure his first finish in the UFC.
Winner: Haqparast via KO/TKO
Trevin Giles vs Gerald Meerschaert
Trevin Giles and Gerald Meerschaert head to Newark, New Jersey looking to get back to winning ways. Giles suffered the first loss of his career in his last fight and Meerschaert has suffered two losses on the bounce.
Giles is only 26 years old and has bags of potential. He caught the attention of the UFC brass with nine finishes in a row and announced himself in the UFC with a knockout over James Bochnovic and Antonio Braga Neto but suffered his first loss in his last fight, getting submitted by Zak Cummings.
The experienced Meerschaert is 4-3 in the UFC and the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt got a taste of his own medicine by getting submitted by Jack Hermansson and lost a very tight decision against Kevin Holland in his last outing.
Both men are extremely well-rounded and hopefully we will see a high-level mix of striking and grappling. That said, Giles will prefer to keep the fight standing and although Meerschaert will be happy to trade as a terrific kickboxer he will take any excuse to finish the fight on the mat.
On two losses in a row we could easily see Meerschaert play it safe and try and keep the fight on the floor and as Giles is a quality grappler himself, Meerschaert may gas out like he did against Holland to leave the door open for Giles, but this fight could go either way.
Winner: Giles via Decision
Scott Holtzman vs Dong Hyun Ma
Scott Holtzman and Dong Hyun Ma are both desperate to bounce back from a loss after getting their three-fight winning streaks snapped.
Scott Holtzman is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Nik Lentz but hopes this will be a minor blip after an impressive streak, earning decisions over Michael McBride and Darrell Horcher before mercilessly finishing Alan Patrick with elbows.
Dong Hyun Ma’s streak included a decision over Brendan O’Reilly, a knockout over Takanori Gomi and a tight decision over Damien Brown but felt the wrath of Devonte Smith who inflicted the third knockout of the South Korean’s career.
We have two more well-rounded fighters here who are more than capable of a knockout or submission. They are more evenly-matched than the stats suggest, especially in the grappling department.
Ma is a very high-level judoka and these skills will be crucial to prevent Holtzman taking him down and delivering brutal ground-and-pound like he did against Patrick.
This fight will depend on how they turn up on the night and after seeing Ma’s chin failing the test for a third time, Holtzman will fancy his chances. If he doesn’t find the knockout he will pile on enough damage to sway the judges.
Winner: Holtzman via Decision
Darko Stosic vs Kennedy Nzechukwu
Two light heavyweight knockout artists head to New Jersey off the back of rare losses. Darko Stosic and Kennedy Nzechukwu love collecting scalps but now they need a win to get back on track and make a dent in the division.
Stosic suffered his first loss in 10 fights in his last outing. The Serbian met Devin Clark after winning his UFC debut with a violent knockout of Jeremy Kimball. However, Clark derailed the powerhouse to close out a unanimous decision.
Big things were expected from Nzechukwu, earning a second chance on Dana White’s Contender Series with five wins. He knocked out Dennis Bryant to earn a contract but was below par on his UFC debut, getting submitted by Paul Craig.
Looking at the stats you may expect a slugfest but Stosic is also a phenomenal grappler and may utilise his elite-level judo to negate the height and reach advantage. We have not seen Stosic’s judo and grappling skills yet in the octagon as the stocky Serbian has relied on the ferocious power in all of his limbs.
That said, either of them are capable of a knockout with the power they possess but Stosic has more strings to his bow and we expect to see him chop Nzechukwu down with thunderous leg kicks, and take him down if required.
Winner: Stosic via KO/TKO
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.