UFC 245 fight card, predictions -- Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington: Expert picks, odds, date

The plethora of trash talk has come to an end, and the time for promotion and buzz has finished. It's time for UFC 245 as the 2019 calendar year reaches its conclusion as well. In Las Vegas on Saturday night, UFC 245 will bring us a main event for the welterweight championship featuring 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman defending against the controversial Colby Covington. Not enough? Well, there are two additional title fights on tap as Max Holloway puts his featherweight title on the line against Alexander Volkanovski and Amanda Nunes defends the women's bantamweight championship against Germaine de Randamie. 

Not only will you get three incredible title bouts on the marquee, but UFC 245 will also feature some legendary names looking for one last shot at UFC gold. Former featherweight king Jose Aldo is making the journey 10 pounds south to challenge Marlon Moraes at bantamweight where he hopes to one day secure the 135-pound title. Despite looking a bit slight during media day, Aldo had no issues making it to the 136-pound limit on Friday. Plus, UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber is back, also looking to get into the bantamweight title conversation when he takes on top contender Petr Yan.

Can't get enough UFC? Subscribe to our podcast State of Combat with Brian Campbell where we break down everything you need to know in the Octagon, including an in-depth preview of UFC 245 below.

Buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride. Let's take a closer look at the rest of the card with the latest odds from MGM.

UFC 245 fight card

FightWeight Class

Kamaru Usman (c) -165 vs. Colby Covington +135

Welterweight championship

Max Holloway (c) -200 vs. Alexander Volkanovski +160

Featherweight championship

Amanda Nunes (c) -340 vs. Germaine de Randamie +270

Women's featherweight championship

Marlon Moraes -200 vs. Jose Aldo +160 Bantamweight
Petr Yan -500 vs. Urijah Faber +360
Bantamweight
Geoff Neal -240 vs. Mike Perry +190 Welterweight
Matt Brown -350 vs. Ben Saunders +280 Welterweight
Ian Heinisch -140 vs. Omari Akhmedov +110Middleweight
Ketlen Vieria -185 vs. Irene Aldana +155 Women's bantamweight
Viviane Araujo -220 vs. Jessica Eye +170 Women's flyweight
Chase Hooper -130 vs. Daniel Teymur +100 Featherweight
Kai Kara France -160 vs. Brandon Moreno +130 Flyweight
Punahele Soriano -120 vs. Oskar Piechota -110
Middleweight

With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card with latest odds from Westgate. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer), Matthew Coca (producer), Jack Crosby (editor), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (editor).

UFC 245 picks


CampbellBrookhouseCocaCrosbyMormileWise

Usman (c) vs. Covington

Usman

Usman

Usman

Covington

Usman

Covington

Holloway vs. Volkanovski

Holloway

Holloway

Holloway

Holloway

Holloway

Volkanovski

Nunes vs. De Randime

Nunes

Nunes

Nunes

Nunes

Nunes

Nunes

Moraes vs. Aldo

Moraes

Moraes

Aldo

Moraes

Moraes

Moraes

Yan vs. Faber

Yan

Yan

Yan

Yan

Yan

Yan

Campbell on why Usman will win: Two of the best wrestlers in the entire sport will square off in this grudge match to declare an undisputed champion at 170 pounds. The most important question then becomes what happens if their respective grappling skills cancel each other out and this becomes more of a battle on the feet. That's where Usman should have more success as the harder striker in a fight that could very well be a 25-minute track meet. Covington has speed and relentlessness in his favor, but Usman's killer instinct is the difference.

Crosby on why Covington will win: Pushing to the side the controversial nature of his character during promotion, Covington has proven time and time again that he's in the upper echelon when it comes to not only wrestling in UFC, but being loaded with a full arsenal. We saw during his systematic breakdown of Robbie Lawler in his last outing that he can be outstanding defensively while avoiding trouble, and while it may not be his calling card, he can bring it with the strikes when necessary. To the dismay of many, Covington likely comes out of this one doing just enough to hold Usman's takedown attempts at bay to walk out with the welterweight title on points.

Campbell on why Holloway will win: In the six years since we last saw him lose at 145 pounds, it has become increasingly difficult to bet against it ever happening against as Holloway continues to build an almost legendary resume. As far as difficult tests on paper go, Volkanovski is about as tough as they get. He can punch and he's equally smart and tough. Holloway appears to just be a different breed, however, and a fighter who controls distance so well while virtually removing his opponent's chances of bringing the fight to the ground. This one will feature plenty of action but Holloway's output will be enough via decision.

Wise on why Volkanovski will win: This is almost more of standing by your man pick than anything else. I've been on the Volkanovski train since he made the jump into the UFC and will ride this into the ground. With his elite cardio and wrestling ability, Volkanovski is a nightmarish matchup for just about anyone. Despite being just 5-foot-6, the former Australian rugby player who once tipped the scales at over 200 pounds will be able to get inside the length of Holloway and be one of the first successful fighters to take him to the ground and force him to fight off his back. The size difference may be a peculiar one for a title fight, but don't let that fool you in this high speed chess match.

Brookhouse on why Nunes will win: While I wouldn't curse her with the "invincible" tag, Nunes is certainly special. What's more important than anything in this fight is that nothing has really changed since the two women met the first time. Nunes has more avenues to victory than de Randamie and the difference on the ground tilts heavily in her favor. I don't expect Nunes to look to engage on the feet as much as normal, much like the first fight. Instead, she'll likely wait for the opening to present itself to take de Randamie to the mat and overwhelm her defenses for another stoppage win.

Brookhouse on why Moraes will win: We've all seen the pictures of Aldo in camp, right? The man looks skeletal. He looks to be bordering on malnourished. It was already a rough cut for Aldo to make 145 pounds. Dipping even further seems dangerous and I don't expect him to benefit from trying to fight against his body in the drop. Moraes will be more comfortable at the weight, likely have more energy and strength and that will be key in this fight from the opening bell to the final second.

Wise on why Yan will win: You could have said the same thing going into his last fight, but this is an even tougher challenge for the UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber. Parachuting into a division that has become one of the deepest in the sport seems nearly impossible. Add in that he's now going to the deep end of the pool at 40-years old with just 46 seconds of Octagon time in the last three years and it's hard to make a case for the "California Kid". Yan is a Russian robot hellbent on getting his title shot who will use his pressure and speed to outwit the MMA legend and score a decisive decision victory.

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