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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matthew Wells

UFC 296 results: Leon Edwards retains title in uneventful main event against Colby Covington

Although it wasn’t the high-paced fight many expected, Leon Edwards took care of business without much resistance in an emotional fight against Colby Covington.

After things became deeply personal at the pre-fight press conference, it was time for Edwards (22-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC) and Covington (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) to settle their differences inside the cage in the UFC 296 main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. After 25 minutes of action, Edwards would retain the welterweight title with unanimous scores of 49-46.

Chants for Covington echoed throughout the arena as the feel-out process unfolded in the opening round. Edwards cracked Covington with a hard left hand midway through the frame for the first big strike of the fight. A minute later, Covington’s first takedown attempt was easily stuffed.

Action began to pick up in the opening minute of Round 2 with both fighters offering strikes. Edwards landed clean with a left, and things slowed down again as Covington circled on the outside. Edwards began digging in leg kicks as he pressed forward. Covington’s offerings seemed to serve only to create distance, as he did not put meaningful combinations together.

Covington looked for a takedown to start Round 3, but slipped on the entry. The canvas appeared to give a couple of fighters problems throughout the evening. The second attempt of the round was successful for Covington as he was able to get Edwards to the mat, although they did not stay on the canvas long. Edwards quickly returned to his feet and completed a takedown of his own, almost to prove a point. They returned to their feet a few seconds later and began opening up their striking offense.

Leg kicks from Edwards continued to score, as the redness and swelling became very apparent on Covington’s right leg.

Early in Round 4, Covington shot in for another takedown, but found himself having to spin out of a choke attempt. Edwards reset and returned to pressing the action, leading with a leg kick and a solid left hand. Another attempt to bring the fight to the ground was denied by Edwards. However, a moment later in a scramble, Covington found Edwards’ back for a moment, but was unable to do anything with the position.

Going into the final round, Edwards just needed to stay the course to record his second title defense, as Covington was clearly down on the scorecards.

Covington got a takedown early in the round, but Edwards got back up and once again got a takedown of his own. Edwards even found the back of Covington, and attempted a triangle armbar. Covington slipped out and took top position, but time was not on his side.

All three official cageside judges turned in identical scores in favor of Edwards.

During his post-fight interview, Edwards admitted that Covington’s words about his dead father at the pre-fight press conference got to him. He said he needed to temper his emotions and focus on the task of retaining UFC gold. “Rocky” entered his second title defense after back-to-back fights against former champion Kamaru Usman.

Covington returned to the cage for the first time since March 2022, where he defeated Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision. He has now lost all three welterweight title opportunities. Covington was also given time on the mic, and said he thought the long layoff may have affected his performance with ring rust.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 296 results include:

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.

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