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July 24, 2024

Edwards Dominates Covington to Retain Welterweight Belt at UFC 296

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Dec 18, 2023

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.

Fight Buildup Marred by Covington’s Controversial Comments

In the lead up to the fight, Covington stirred up controversy by making comments about Edwards’ late father. He told Edwards that his father was “in hell” watching his son fight. Edwards called the comments “low” and said it showed Covington’s lack of character.

The rivalry between the two fighters stemmed from years of trash talk and personal attacks by Covington towards Edwards. Their bad blood came to a head at a pre-fight press conference where a heated verbal exchange led Edwards to throw a bottle at Covington before being restrained.

Despite the personal nature of the rivalry, experts predicted a close contest between the well-matched fighters. Edwards came in as a narrow favorite as the defending champion.

Edwards Controls All Five Rounds to Win Unanimous Decision

When the bell rang, Edwards quickly established his jab and control of the Octagon. He stuffed numerous takedown attempts from the wrestling-based Covington while landing clean punching combinations.

Edwards’ pace and pressure was more than Covington could handle. By round three, Covington was visibly slowing down while Edwards continued to mix up his striking attacks. He battered Covington with elbows, knees, kicks and punches to easily win rounds four and five.

In the end, the judges awarded Edwards the clear unanimous decision victory with scores of 50-44, 49-46 and 50-45. He retained his welterweight belt while proving to be clearly the superior fighter to Covington.

Edwards Emotional, Covington Makes Excuses in Aftermath

An emotional Edwards broke down in his post-fight interview, saying Covington’s comments about his father took him to a “dark place.” He said he used it as motivation to dominate his opponent.

Covington was clearly humbled by the one-sided loss. In his interview, he made excuses about suffering a perceived knee injury early in the fight. He also claimed Edwards poked him in the eye twice, allegations that weren’t supported by replay footage.

Shocking Upset by Pimblett Highlights Undercard

The undercard featured a shocking upset victory by Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett over Tony Ferguson, snapping Ferguson’s long winning streak. Many speculated that the 38 year old Ferguson may retire from the sport following his second straight stoppage loss.

In another featured undercard fight, American Brandon Moreno won back the flyweight championship in his trilogy bout against the Brazilia Deiveson Figueiredo via TKO in round three. Moreno is now a two-time UFC flyweight champion.

Edwards Focused on “Bigger Things” After Beating Covington

With his rivalry against Covington now settled, Leon Edwards made it clear he is looking ahead at the rest of the welterweight division.

“The Beef’s [Covington] settled and there’s bigger things coming,” Edwards said at the press conference. “There’s bigger fights. There’s tougher challenges and I look forward to it.”

As champion, Edwards anticipates his next title defense coming against No. 1 contender Khamzat Chimaev, provided Chimaev gets past opponent Gilbert Burns next month at UFC 273.

Edwards and Chimaev previously fought to a no contest after an accidental eye poke by Edwards brought an early halt to the bout. If both keep winning, a title fight between them seems inevitable later this year.

UFC 296 Complete Results

Below are the full results from Saturday’s UFC 296 card:

Main Card

  • Leon Edwards def. Colby Covington via unanimous decision (50-44, 49-46, 50-45)
  • Brandon Moreno def. Deiveson Figueiredo via TKO (strikes) at 2:35 of Round 3
  • Geoff Neal def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Lauren Murphy def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • Bo Nickal def. Jamie Pickett via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:58 of Round 1

Preliminary Card

  • Daniel Rodriguez def. Jalin Turner via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
  • Sergey Morozov def. Journey Newson via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
  • TJ Brown def. Erik Silva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Cameron Saaiman def. Steven Koslow via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Early Preliminary Card

  • Miles Johns def. Vince Morales via KO at 2:13 of Round 1
  • Dakota Bush def. Viacheslav Borschov via TKO at 3:32 of Round 2
  • Vinicius Salvador def. Daniel Marcos via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Table: Leon Edwards vs Colby Covington Tale of the Tape

Fighter Leon Edwards Colby Covington
Nickname Rocky Chaos
Age 31 35
Record 20-3 17-3
Height 6’0″ 5’11”
Reach 74″ 72″
Stance Southpaw Orthodox
Previous Fight Win vs Kamaru Usman Win vs Jorge Masvidal

This table compares some key stats and measures between the two fighters. It illustrates their similarities in height, reach and stance along with noting their most recent fights coming into UFC 296.

Looking Ahead to Rest of 2023 UFC Schedule

The next major UFC pay-per-view coming up with be UFC 273 on April 9th. Some other key events and tentative championship fights for the rest of 2023 include:

  • UFC 274 (May 7) – Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev (lightweight title)
  • UFC 276 (July 2) – Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier (middleweight title)
  • UFC 277 (Aug 6) – Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes 2 (women’s bantamweight title)
  • UFC 278 (Sept 23) – Alexander Volkanovski vs. Josh Emmett (featherweight title)
  • UFC 280 (Nov 12) – Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw (bantamweight title)

Of course cards are always subject to change due to injuries or other factors, but the UFC has stacked pay-per-view schedule planned for the rest of 2023 once again.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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