July 14th, 2024

Edwards retains welterweight belt with unanimous decision over Colby Covington at UFC 296

By W.g. Ramirez, The Associated Press on December 16, 2023.

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Leon Edwards successfully defended his welterweight belt Saturday night, unanimously outpointing Colby Covington at UFC 296.

In a bout that hardly lived up to its billing, Edwards (22-3) showed poise and patience as he picked his spots to outclass Covington (17-4), beating the former interim champion at his own game.

Rather than using his strengths on his feet as a striker, Edwards chose to grapple and counter whenever Covington took shots for a takedown.

After entering the arena draped in an American flag, Covington made a pit stop to share a quick word with former President Donald Trump before stepping into the octagon.

Trump sat ringside, with UFC CEO Dana White, musician Kid Rock and UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.

In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja (27-5) successfully defended his flyweight belt in his first title defence, winning a unanimous decision over Brandon Royval (15-7).

Pantoja used a methodical approach by dominating with his agility and grappling ability to wear down Royval, the second-ranked flyweight in the world.

It was the second time Pantoja beat Royval, the first coming by way of a second-round submission with a rear naked choke during a UFC Fight Night event on Feb. 6, 2021.

Shavkat Rakhmonov (18-0-0) kept his unblemished record intact when he made Stephen Thompson (17-7-1) submit with a rear naked choke at 4:56 of the second round in their welterweight battle.

Paddy Pimblett (21-3) used a dominating first round to set the tone against crowd favourite Tony Ferguson (25-10). Pimblett was quicker, more accurate and used his grappling skills to earn a unanimous decision in the lightweight bout.

Josh Emmett (19-4) opened the main card with an overhand right to the top-left side of Bryce Mitchell’s head in their featherweight match. Slipping a right jab, Emmett countered with a devastating punch that knocked Mitchell (16-2) out cold at 1:57 of the first round of the scheduled three-round 145-pound bout.

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

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