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‘He’s better than we gave him credit for’ - Teddy Atlas praises Covington’s striking at UFC 272

Boxing analyst Teddy Atlas had nothing but good words for Colby Covington’s striking at UFC 272.

After two years of beefing, Colby Covington got to settle the score with former training partner and roommate Jorge Masvidal. The two headlined UFC 272 on Saturday in a grudge match where “Chaos” prevailed via decision.

Many attributed Covington’s win to his unrelenting pace, top-notch conditioning, and elite wrestling prowess. But for renowned boxing analyst and former trainer Teddy Atlas, the ex-interim champion won the fight thanks to his striking.

“He’s a better striker than we give him credit for,” Atlas said during the ESPN+ post-show (via MMA Fighting). ‘That’s the basic answer... He’s better than we gave him credit for and his jab, his jab was really good.

“Masvidal’s the taller guy, the longer guy, he was supposed to control that range, that jab, but the shorter guy did. He used the jab, he put punches together, and he was creative with the uppercut, with different punches he threw. He showed me the repertoire that, quite frankly, I didn’t know he had.”

“One other thing that I think was an intangible, that I think was very clever, maybe brilliant on Covington’s part: he switched from southpaw to orthodox.

“That took away the right hands. Just in sports. I don’t know if anybody noticed that but just that little subtle thing of changing from southpaw to orthodox. Again, he’s a better striker, a more educated striker than we gave him credit for.”

Covington may have a reputation for having a wrestling and grappling-heavy approach, but Atlas credited him for being the more well-rounded fighter.

“Listen, you guys are the experts and I bow to you guys in that way, but even I knew that the most rounded fighter here, the better all-around fighter was Covington,” Atlas said. “There’s a reason why [he] was over a 3-to-1 favorite. That was the reason. He was the more dimensional guy.

“For the underdog to win, for Masvidal to win, he had to own the geography on the outside. He had to set traps and do really, really consistent, almost perfect with his striking. And he had to use — which he did! — use his defense from the takedowns, survive! Have that survivability with the takedowns and he did that too.”

The 34-year-old Covington also took home a $50K bonus for Fight of the Night as he improves to a record of 17-3.