In the main event of UFC 296, the welterweight title was on the line. Leon Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) was looking to successfully defend his title for the second time as he took on former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington (17-3).
Leon Edwards shocked the world last year when he dethroned Kamaru Usman with a head kick in the final minute of their title fight. He settled the doubters in the rematch to truly establish himself as the best in the world. Tonight, he was looking for his second successful title defense.
Colby Covington hadn’t fought since his dominant win over Jorge Masvidal back in March 2022. However, he’s still widely regarded as one of the very best in the world and tonight he was looking to finally claim the undisputed UFC welterweight title.
UFC 296 Recap
The UFC 296 main event kicks off with Edwards taking the center. Pressure here from Edwards and Covington lands a side kick. Both men feeling each other out here in the opening minute but it’s Edwards who is coming forward. Front kick up the middle just misses for Edwards.
Covington goes for a head kick that is blocked. Big leg kick from Edwards starts the striking. Two minutes into the first round and nothing much has landed. Both men are very cautious here in the opening two minutes. Covington with his hands high and Edwards is just looking for openings.
Left straight and a jab now from Covington. Both men trade shots in the center halfway through the first round. Left over the top from Edwards and Covington lands a nice counter. Covington tries pushing forward but he eats a leg kick. Covington goes for a leg and Edwards defends it easily.
90 seconds left in the first round and this round is still there for the taking. Jab from Covington and Edwards lands a nice left hand. Big leg kick from Edwards. Jumping body kick from Covington and then he lets his hands go a little. The round ends and it’s 1-0 Edwards at UFC 296 in an uneventful first round.
Entering the second and Covington didn’t look confident in the corner. Edwards goes right back on the pressure to start the second. Body kick from Covington starts his striking. Edwards looking a little more aggressive here to start the second. Nice kick to the body lands for Edwards. Covington tries pushing forward but he eats a right from Edwards.
Right hand from Edwards and he’s really pressuring here. 90 seconds into the second round and Covington just doesn’t look like himself. He tries a left but it’s way out of range. Left hand lands flush for Edwards and now a leg kick from the champion. It’s all Leon Edwards right now.
Head kick attempt from Edwards is just blocked by Covington. Jab to the body from Edwards. Covington is throwing back but he’s so far out of range. Left straight for Edwards. Kick to the body from Edwards and a nasty calf kick. Left over the top from Edwards and there’s just no answer from Covington.
The crowd begins to boo and Covington is just so reactionary to Edwards right now. More kicks from Edwards. Edwards is just picking Covington apart here through two rounds. The second round ends and it’s 2-0 Edwards at UFC 296.
Entering the third and Covington’s corner was begging him to move forward and pressure. Third round starts and Covington does start pressuring more here. He slips as he tries for a takedown attempt and then he throws a combination. However, now it’s right back to Edwards moving forward.
Another big calf kick from Edwards. Four minutes left in the round and this is starting to look like the first two rounds. Covington is looking like a shell of himself. Right hand from Edwards and now a big calf kick. Finally a big takedown attempt from Covington and he gets Edwards to the ground.
Signs of life from Covington and the crowd erupts. However, Edwards scrambles and lands a head kick. Takedown now from Edwards and that was proving a point for Edwards. He gets back up to the feet and lands a nasty kick on Covington. Combination from Edwards.
90 seconds left in the round and it’s looking like another clear round for Edwards. Long jab from Edwards. Not much in terms of volume from Covington. Edwards throws a leg kick and Covington tries to catch it. The round comes to a close and it’s 3-0 Edwards at UFC 296.
Entering the championship rounds and it’s hard to see a path to victory for Covington right now. Edwards is right back on the pressure. Level change for Covington and he gets deep on a single. Edwards goes for a choke and Covington has to bail to get out of there.
Body kick from Edwards. Nasty left straight lands for Edwards. Edwards is stalking Covington here and he lands another big kick. Edwards is just picking him apart. Nice left hand from Covington and he tries to double it up. He goes for a takedown with two minutes left in the round.
Edwards breaks away and Covington backs away. Body kick from Edwards. Two straight lefts now from Covington. Another left and a jab. Covington is finding some success and now he tries for another takedown. Edwards tries to force a scramble but Covington gets his back.
Edwards forces a scramble and they are back to striking. Very even round 4 thus far. Final ten seconds and this one was a close round. Might be a Covington round, but either way, he’s down at least 3-1.
Entering the final round at UFC 296 and it’s likely going to take a finish from Colby Covington. Edwards takes the center and goes for a high kick. Jab from Covington and a sharp right hook counter lands for Edwards. Single leg from Covington and he lands a big takedown with four minutes to work.
However, it’s along the fence and Edwards is about to get back to his feet. Edwards gets up and he gets his own takedown. Edwards goes for a triangle and it causes him to lose the top position. Halfway through the final round and it’s hail mary time for Covington.
Covington going to work here with elbows. Big shots from Covington. Edwards accepts the bottom position here and Covington is going to work. However, there doesn’t appear to be anything that’s going to finish the fight. Arm triangle attempt here from Covington but it’s not going to get it done. The round ends with Covington on top but Edwards should retain here at UFC 296.
Leon Edwards def. Colby Covington by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)