Leon Edwards retained the UFC welterweight title on Saturday night, dominating American Colby Covington at UFC 296. Edwards is now 22-3 in his MMA career and unbeaten in his past 13 fights. The No. 3-ranked Colby Covington fell to 17-4 and is now 1-3 in title fights. His previous two losses came at the hands of former champion Kamaru Usman.
Prior to the fight Covington had made a controversial remark about Edwards’ late father. After the bout an emotional Edwards criticized Covington, saying in a post-fight press conference:
“This guy used my dad’s murder as entertainment.”
Despite the comments Edwards was able to keep his calm in the ring. He picked his spots as he outclassed the former interim champion to take a unanimous points victory. Although there weren’t many highlights in the fight, it was clear that Covington was outmatched from the very beginning.
Many celebrities were in attendance at the event, including UFC champions Alexander Volkanovski, Islam Makhachev and actors Jared Leto and Mark Wahlberg. Even former US President Donald Trump was ringside in support of the hometown fighter, Covington.
The British Edwards didn’t have much in the form of support from the Las Vegas crowd but that didn’t seem to bother him.
The fight began with Edwards taking the initiative, landing a series of punishing leg kicks. Covington was on the back foot, waiting for openings but couldn’t find any for the first few rounds.
Covington finally had some success halfway through the bout, landing a takedown and getting Edwards to the ground. It didn’t last very long however the champion quickly got back to his feet.
Down two rounds, Covington continued to try and land more punches but the damage from Edwards’ early leg kicks began to show. Covington kept looking for takedowns in the latter rounds but wasn’t able to keep the champ on the ground for any significant amount of time.
As the final bell rang it was quite clear that Edwards had cruised to victory.
Next Fight For Edwards
The most likely contender for the UFC welterweight title is Belal Muhammad. He is currently #2 in the UFC welterweight rankings and is on a nine-fight win streak. That includes a unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Burns in his last bout.
Much like Edwards, Muhammad has taken some time to gain the respect of his fellow fighters in the UFC. He was arguably a better fit than Covington for UFC 296 but still doesn’t carry the weight of a big name in the fighting community. This could be due to his fighting style which tends to win via unanimous decision rather than knockouts.
There’s no guarantee that Muhammad will get the next title shot however. Shavkat Rahkmonov made his case on the UFC 296 main card with a second-round submission win over Stephen Thompson. He may get the nod ahead of Muhammad.
Paddy Pimblett def. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision
Paddy Pimblett returned to action following a year out of MMA with a convincing victory over fellow lightweight Tony Ferguson. The Liverpool native, dominated the grappling exchanges throughout the match and won via unanimous decision at the T-Mobile Arena.
Pimblett came into the fight unbeaten in his four-fight UFC career. The veteran Tony Ferguson
Is now 25-10 in his MMA career and looks to be on his last legs.
Other UFC 296 Results
There were 6 fights in total for the main card at UFC 296 and seven preliminary card fights. Found below are the full results for all fights.
Leon Edwards def. Colby Covington via unanimous decision
Alexandre Pantoja def. Brandon Royval via unanimous decision
Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Stephen Thompson via sub (RNC)
Paddy Pimblett def. Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision
Josh Emmett def. Bryce Mitchell via first-round KO
Alonzo Menifield def. Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Irene Aldana def. Karol Rosa via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Cody Garbrandt def. Brian Kelleher via first-round KO (3:42)
Ariane Lipski def. Casey O’Neill via submission (armbar) (R2, 1:18)
Tagir Ulanbekov def. Cody Durden via submission (RNC) (R2, 4:25)
Andre Fili def. Lucas Almeida via first-round TKO (3:32)
Shamil Gaziev def. Martin Buday via second-round TKO (0:56)