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  1. Boxing

UFC: All you need to know ahead of UFC 272

Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal top the bill at UFC 272 as years of verbal taunts finally come to a head at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

What is the significance of the main event?

This weekend's headliner is a grudge match in the truest sense as former best friends and training partners throw down in the octagon.

Covington and Masvidal first crossed paths at American Top Team (ATT) - the famed gym that has helped the likes of Amanda Nunes, Tyron Woodley, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Junior Dos Santos to become UFC world champions.

Masvidal joined the team, which is based out of Coconut Creek, Florida, in 2007 and Covington arrived four years later as they looked to utilise the high-level training on offer.

The pair struck up a strong personal relationship and were even roommates for a period, while they were often seen in each other's corner on fight night.

However, things took a turn as both started to rise through the ranks and championship ambitions left their friendship in tatters.

Covington was subsequently evicted by ATT and the duo have been involved in a war of words ever since.

All of that has come amid the backdrop of unsuccessful title challenges with champion Kamaru Usman beating each of them on two occasions.

Feuds are often over-hyped in combat sports but there's no doubting the level of animosity between Covington and Masvidal.

What are their records?

Colby Covington - 19 fights, 16 wins (4 KOs), 3 defeats.

Jorge Masvidal - 50 fights, 35 wins (16 KOs), 15 defeats.

Where is the fight taking place?

Sunday's event takes place at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

What time is the fight?

The Prelims are scheduled to get underway at 01:00 GMT on Sunday, 6th March and the main card will begin at 03:00 GMT.

Who is fighting on the undercard?

Edson Barboza vs Bryce Mitchell
Kevin Holland vs Alex Oliveira
Sergey Spivak vs Greg Hardy

What are the odds?

Covington is ranked #1 in the welterweight division and he is priced up as the 3/10 favourite to win Sunday's contest, while Masvidal, ranked #6, can be backed at 5/2.

Covington to fulfil favourite's tag

Masvidal rebuilt his career after back-to-back defeats against Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson in 2017, stringing together three successive victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz.

His win over Askren hit the headlines as the fastest-ever KO in UFC history, stopping his opponent via a flying knee with just five seconds on the clock.

With Masvidal's reputation soaring, he shrewdly secured a fight with the legendary Diaz for the 'BMF' belt as the pair looked to prove their toughness.

Masvidal dominated the contest before it was stopped between rounds three and four by the doctor due to a cut over Diaz's eye.

With momentum on his side, Masvidal earned a shot at title-holder Usman and he fought valiantly but came away on the wrong side of the decision after five rounds in 2020.

The duo squared off again a year later when Usman claimed a more convincing KO victory, becoming just the second man to beat Masvidal via that route.

He hasn't fought since that defeat in April 2021 and a lack of activity, along with a potential decline in performance, could be his undoing this weekend.

Covington has lost two of his last three fights, both coming at the hands of Usman either side of a TKO victory against Tyron Woodley.

Chaos had shown a greater consistency prior to that sequence of three fights, winning seven in a row to emerge as the number one contender in the division.

Sunday's bout is a clear clash of styles as wrestler Covington looks to get the better of striker Masvidal and it will ultimately come down to who can make the most of their skills.

Covington certainly holds the advantage on the ground, but he also boasts a decent stand-up game and, as long as he avoids getting dragged into a brawl, he should be smart enough to see it through.

Fans set for lengthy scrap

Masvidal's power isn't something to be underestimated, having claimed 16 victories via that route, but he is at his most threatening in the opening two rounds.

Gamebred's most recent knockout - not including a TKO doctor's stoppage against Diaz - came five seconds into his contest with Askren.

Prior to that he stopped Till in round two and picked up TKO wins over Donald Cerrone and Jake Ellenberger in rounds two and one respectively.

Covington isn't a power puncher, claiming just four of his 16 wins by KO, but he is known for his constant pressure and has made an art of chipping away at his opponents.

With the bad blood between the pair it's unlikely that Covington will immediately shoot for the takedown as he looks to land some early blows, however, the expectation is the fight will eventually end up on the ground.

Finishing fights early has often been a problem for Chaos with five of his last six wins going the distance and that outcome, which can be backed at 20/21, offers appeal here.

Backing this one to go the distance at 8/11 might also be worth exploring as fight fans look set to see this one go the full 25 minutes.

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