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On December 16, 2023, the UFC will return to Las Vegas for UFC 296, a stacked card headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Leon Edwards and challenger Colby Covington. This is a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best fighters in the division, who have a history of bad blood and trash talk. Here is everything you need to know about this main event and the rest of the card.
Leon Edwards vs Colby Covington: Leon Edwards (20-3) is the reigning welterweight champion, who has defended his belt twice since dethroning Kamaru Usman in 2022. The British fighter is on a 12-fight winning streak, the longest in the division, and has beaten some of the top contenders, such as Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Burns. Edwards is a well-rounded fighter, who can strike, wrestle, and grapple at a high level. He is known for his sharp jab, his cardio, and his fight IQ.
Colby Covington (18-3) is the former interim welterweight champion, who has challenged for the undisputed title twice, losing to Usman in 2019 and 2021. The American fighter is on a two-fight winning streak, having defeated Tyron Woodley and Michael Chiesa. Covington is a relentless pressure fighter, who uses his wrestling, striking, and trash talk to break his opponents. He is known for his pace, his durability, and his controversial persona.
The feud between Edwards and Covington dates back to 2019, when Covington called out Edwards after beating Robbie Lawler. The two have exchanged insults and threats ever since, with Covington mocking Edwards' accent, nationality, and resume, and Edwards calling Covington a coward, a liar, and a fraud. The fight was originally scheduled for UFC 293, but was postponed due to Covington suffering an injury. The two have continued to hype up the fight, promising to settle their score once and for all.
The fight is expected to be a close and competitive one, as both fighters are elite and have similar skill sets. The odds are slightly in favor of Edwards, who is a -125 favorite, while Covington is an even money underdog[^1^]. The fight could come down to who can impose their game plan better, who can land the more significant strikes, and who can avoid making mistakes. The fight could also go the distance, as both fighters have never been finished in their careers.
How to Watch: UFC 296 will take place on Saturday, December 16, 2023, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card will start at 7:00 PM PST, and will be available on pay-per-view via ESPN+. The prelims will start at 5:00 PM PST, and will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and ESPN+. The early prelims will start at 3:00 PM PST, and will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass. For more information, visit the official UFC website or the ESPN website