Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman attempted to keep the mood respectful with Colby Covington in the final news conference ahead of their meeting on Saturday in the main event of UFC 268. However, as most observers anticipated, the challenger was having none of it and instead worked the assembled crowd into a frenzy by unleashing a gauntlet of outrageous insults towards the champion. Their rematch tops the main UFC 268 fight card (10 p.m. ET) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Although Covington might have gotten the better of media day, Usman had the edge in their first meeting. He scored a fifth-round stoppage two years ago and has promised to send Covington into irrelevance with another dominant victory over his rival.

How to watch UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 (MMA 2021)

Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to dissect the X’s and O’s of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.

With more than 1,200 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 10 percent return on investment for his followers. In 2020, $100 bettors who tailed his picks were up $9,200. Just last week at UFC 267, Gombas called the massive upset for Glover Teixeira (+240) against Jan Blachowicz (-280) for the light heavyweight title in the main event. Anyone who has followed Gombas already has seen massive returns.

UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 preview

Usman (19-1) is undefeated in 13 UFC appearances, and his recent run of dominance has many MMA observers suggesting he is in the conversation alongside the likes of Georges St. Pierre as the most dominant UFC welterweight of all time.

The Nigeria-born fighter won the title with a lopsided decision over former champion Tyron Woodley in March 2019, and his four defenses include a pair of dominant wins over fan favorite Masvidal. Usman was once criticized for his wrestling-heavy style, but his improved striking has shown with three stoppages in his last four fights.

His most competitive title fight to date came against Covington (16-2), the outlandish trash-talker whose larger-than-life persona often overshadows his formidable skill set.

Covington and Usman went toe-to-toe for four-plus rounds in their first meeting, and most observers had the fight at two rounds each heading into the fifth. Kamaru floored the challenger with a series of punches and Covington protested the stoppage at 4:10 of the fifth round, though he appeared to be in peril.

UFC 268 predictions

We’ll share one of Gombas’ UFC 268 picks here: He is backing Bobby Green (-170) to get past Al Iaquinta (+150) in a matchup of veteran lightweights. Both fighters are fan favorites who have been slated to face each other on previous occasions, only to see the matchup fall through for various reasons.

Iaquinta (14-6-1), 34, should have plenty of fan support since he is native New Yorker who has never been shy about taking pride in his roots. He is a fast talker and straight-ahead brawler who once reached as high as No. 3 in the lightweight rankings. However, he has dropped three of his last four and hasn’t fought since dropping a lopsided decision to Dan Hooker in October 2019.

Green (27-12-1) is an eight-year veteran who is known for his nonstop pace and resilience in the face of adversity. The 35-year-old Californian is 4-4 in his last eight appearances but has dropped two straight fights. He lost a decision to Rafael Fiziev in August.

How to make UFC 268 selections

Gombas also has strong picks for Usman vs. Covington 2 and the other fights on the UFC 268 card. He’s also backing one fighter “to take over late” and emerge with a dominant victory.┬áThose UFC picks and MMA predictions are only available at SportsLine.

UFC 268 odds, fight card

Kamaru Usman (-290) vs. Colby Covington (+245)
Rose Namajunas (-115) vs. Zhang Weili (-105)
Justin Gaethje (-185) vs. Michael Chandler (+165)
Shane Burgos (-185) vs. Billy Quarantillo (+165)
Frankie Edgar (+145) vs. Marlon Vera (-165)
Alex Pereira (-250) vs. Andreas Michailidis (+210)
Al Iaquinta (+150) vs. Bobby Green (-170)
Phil Hawes (-300) vs. Chris Curtis (+250)
Edmen Shahbazyan (+105) vs. Nassourdine Imamov (-125)
Ian Garry (-340) vs. Jordan Williams (+280)
Gian Villante (-105) vs. Chris Barnett (-115)
CJ Vergara (+150) vs. Ode Osbourne (-170)
Dustin Jacoby (-330) vs. John Allan (+270)

By rajib