Leon “Rocky” Edwards put on a dominant performance Saturday night, defeating Colby “Chaos” Covington by unanimous decision to retain his UFC welterweight championship in the main event of UFC 296.1
Build Up To The Fight
Edwards entered the fight as champion after winning the belt from Kamaru Usman via knockout in August.2 He came into UFC 296 looking to defend his title for the first time against the controversial and outspoken Covington.
Covington previously challenged for the title in 2019, losing to Usman. He worked his way back to another title shot on the strength of six wins in his past seven fights.3
In the lead up to UFC 296, Covington unleashed a torrent of vicious trash talk aimed at Edwards. He insulted Edwards’ family and made disparaging comments about Edwards’ father, who passed away last year.4
Edwards maintained composure through Covington’s attempts to get in his head, staying focused on the task at hand.
*Table compares details on both fighters heading into UFC 296*
In the first round, Edwards and Covington traded strikes, with Edwards landing the cleaner blows. Edwards stunned Covington late in the round with a combination along the fence.
Covington rallied to take round two with his wrestling, securing two takedowns. However, Edwards reversed position both times and ended the round in control.
The third round saw Edwards begin lighting Covington up on the feet. He hurt Covington several times with punishing strikes and stuffed all of Covington’s takedown attempts. Edwards’ lead leg kicks and crisp boxing continued battering Covington in rounds four and five.
Meanwhile, Covington was unable to implement any effective offense. His attempts to take the fight to the mat were continually shut down by Edwards’ stellar defensive wrestling. On the feet, Edwards’ superior technical skill was on full display as he picked Covington apart.
In the end, the judges scored the fight 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 for Edwards to retain his championship belt.
Reaction And What’s Next
Edwards was overcome with emotion following his lopsided victory, moved to tears in his post-fight interview.5 UFC President Dana White praised his performance, stating Edwards looked “damn near perfect” against Covington.6
The win cements Edwards as the top welterweight in the UFC today. He figures to defend his title next against the winner of the upcoming fight between Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal. A trilogy bout with Usman could also be on the horizon.7
As for Covington, his shtick seems to be wearing thin after falling flat at UFC 296. Veteran fighters like Matt Brown spoke out against Covington’s antics leading up to and after this loss.8 Covington may need to make changes if he hopes to remain a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Edwards left no doubt about who the better fighter was at UFC 296, dominating Covington for five straight rounds. His impressive showing kicks off what looks to be a dominant reign atop the 170-pound division.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.