UFC knows it's important to close out the year on a high note. That's exactly what they have lined up to end 2023 when UFC 296 touches down in Las Vegas. Welterweight champion Leon Edwards is set to take on top contender Colby Covington in the main event from the T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 16. Plus, new flyweight king Alexandre Pantoja will defend his crown against Brandon Royval in the co-main event, according to UFC president Dana White.
Edwards shocked the world with his last-minute head-kick KO of Kamaru Usman in August 2022 to claim the 170-pound title. He followed it up with a grinding decision win over Usman in the rematch to affirm his spot atop the division. He welcomes Covington, who himself suffered a pair of defeats to Usman in title fights. He is coming off a win over Jorge Masvidal in March 2022 where he outclassed the outgoing veteran.
🚨 HUGE FIGHT NEWS 🚨— UFC (@ufc) September 21, 2023
November's #UFC295 co-main event will be @Jiri_BJP vs @AlexPereiraUFC for the vacant light heavyweight title!
AND your #UFC296 headliners will be @Leon_EdwardsMMA vs @ColbyCovMMA, with Alexandre Pantoja vs @BrandonRoyval serving as the co-main! pic.twitter.com/GTD5pnd1BD
Pantoja stunned many with his split decision win over Brandon Moreno in July to claim the 125-pound title. He enters his first title defense on a four-fight win streak that includes a second-round submission of Royval in April 2021. Royval, however, bounced back from the loss to score three straight wins with two coming by stoppage.
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