Covington backs up talk, becomes interim champ

COVINGTON vs DOS ANJOS

Colby Covington did a lot of talking before his UFC 225 co-main event against Rafael Dos Anjos Saturday night, but he walked the walk when it counted as he put together a five-round unanimous decision victory that earned him the interim UFC welterweight title at United Center in Chicago.

Scores were 49-46 and 48-47 twice for Covington, who improves to 14-1. Dos Anjos falls to 28-10.

Covington swarmed Dos Anjos at the start, taking the fight to the canvas almost immediately. Dos Anjos made it back to his feet fairly quickly, but Covington kept the heat on, using his striking to set up clinches against the fence that kept the Brazilian from implementing his offense. As the round progressed, Dos Anjos began to land with shots to the body, then moving upstairs when the openings presented themselves.

Opening the second with another takedown, Covington’s pressure was impressive, even if he couldn’t keep his opponent grounded for long. And even at range, Covington was holding his own with Dos Anjos, with his volume of strikes keeping him a step ahead. With a minute left, Covington scored yet another takedown, adding to his lead, and he extended it further in the third round with another pressure-filled round.

RDA opened the fourth with a hard left hand, and while Covington was unbothered by it, Dos Anjos parlayed into a takedown in the opening minute. Covington would rise, but RDA put him back down twice more. Covington did get his own takedown in the closing minute, not winning the round, but at least keeping Dos Anjos from getting too confident.

The fifth was close as well, but as the round wore on, Covington’s mix of striking, grappling and pressure earned him the frame, the fight and a world championship.

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