Let’s take stock for a second. 2019 has delivered some blistering moments. Who can forget Jorge Masvidal’s demolition jobs of Darren Till and Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier bowing out of the Octagon with Stipe Miocic collecting the Heavyweight belt, and Amanda Nunes showing everyone she’s the baddest woman on the planet.
But 2019 isn’t done yet, no sireee. In the early hours of Sunday morning the last main event of this year’s Ultimate Fighting Championship commences.
UFC 245 kicks off at 1am on BT Sport, with the stacked main card starting at 3am. And here’s what you can expect...
Usman v Covington - The Battle of Backgrounds
The event itself is headlined by one of the most intense rivalries the sport has seen in years, between Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman, the current Welterweight champion, and Colby “Chaos” Covington, an NCAA Wrestling graduate.
Both fighters have wrestling-based games, both have held the belt, and both have identical records in the cage, fighting 16 times, winning 15 and losing only once.
But that’s where the similarities end. They come from very different backgrounds.
At just eight years old, Usman emigrated to the USA from Nigeria. He started wrestling in high school based in Texas where he compiled a 53-3 record. He stays away from the political sphere, unlike his opponent.
“Chaos” is a massive supporter of President Trump, showcasing his love for the POTUS on his Instagram and inviting Eric and Donald Trump Jr to his win over Robbie Lawler. He thrives off the so-called ‘haters’ and continues to excel in the cage. He’s the kind of bloke that walks out of a midnight screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and tweets his 105,000 followers telling them who dies in the film. There’s always one.
Who wins? Very tough call this, both fighters are excellent wrestlers and it could simply be won in the clinch. It could go either way but Usman is the current champion for a reason and it seems like he might have the extra ability to pull out a fourth or fifth-round submission to get Covington to tap.
Holloway v Volkanovski - The Unstoppable Force vs the Immovable Object
The second main event of the night is Featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway, facing Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski. The Australian Volkanovski might be a recent star but he’s beaten some pretty tough fighters to get to this title shot, including former champion Jose Aldo by unanimous decision and Chad Mendes via TKO. He also used to be a rugby player, something that’s definitely helped him as he switched to mixed martial arts.
Max Holloway on the other hand seems quite focussed on his future in the UFC, after losing the interim Lightweight title fight to Dustin Poirier earlier in the year.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports on December 9th, the Hawaiian said: “I’m about building a legacy and living a legacy and letting the ‘Blessed Era’ continue. All these money fights are going to come. It’s going to come. It’s going to happen.”
We predict Volkanovski wins by decision. Max Holloway will last well in the stand-up but will get dominated on the ground by a more offensive opponent, who’s going to open him up with his powerful overhand right.
Nunes v de Randamie - The Greatest meets the Fiercest
The third part of the intense trilogy is Brazilian Bantamweight & Featherweight champion Amanda 'The Lioness' Nunes facing up against Germaine 'The Iron Lady' de Randamie.
Nunes, coming off the back of nine consecutive victories against the likes of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm, will be looking to cement her fifth defence of the Bantamweight championship.
Speaking on the UFC’s official website, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White said: “She’s the greatest female fighter of all time and she’s one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live.”
In the other corner, former psychiatric nurse and police officer in the Netherlands, Germaine de Randamie, has only lost three fights previously, one of them being a TKO by the current champion and her next opponent.
Speaking at the UFC 245 athlete panel Q&A on Wednesday, de Randamie said: “She made me wake up. I can say I’m a mixed martial artist now, not just a kickboxer. The difference will be I’m a mixed martial artist and not a kickboxer.”
That’s no discredit to the 35-year-old though, she shares the record for the fastest knockout in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division from when she TKO’d Aspen Ladd in just 16 seconds.
For this one, it’s tough to see Amanda Nunes losing a fight after the dominant performances she’s been churning out recently. De Randamie is an excellent fighter but the Brazilian will have the skills on the ground and on her feet to take the Dutchwoman out in one way or another. Round 1 TKO by Nunes.