- Witness the intense showdown between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington as Edwards defends his welterweight title for the second time.
- Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval are set to face off again, this time for the flyweight championship.
- As eager fans await the main event on December 16th, ESPN and ESPN+ will broadcast the preliminaries live.
The date and venue for Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington have been determined.
For UFC 296’s main event, Leon Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) will face Colby Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC). His welterweight title will be defended for the second time.
This will be a thrilling fight between Alexandre Pantoja (26-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and Brandon Royval (15-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC). It will be a flyweight championship fight.
As eager fans await the main event on December 16th, ESPN and ESPN+ will broadcast the preliminaries live. UFC CEO Dana White disclosed the championship matches on Wednesday on social media.
Edwards, who is currently ranked top in the welterweight division by USA TODAY Sports and MMA Junkie, will compete against someone other than Kamaru Usman for the first time in more than two years. He won the title in August 2022 at UFC 278 with a spectacular come-from-behind knockout of Usman. He later lost the rematch to Usman by majority decision at UFC 286 in March.
The 31-year-old later consented to the battle despite first saying he believed No.4-ranked Covington was an unworthy opponent because he had only competed once in the previous two years.
After losing his first two fights to Usman, Covington, 35, will try to win his third crack at a UFC title. In his last four fights, which date back to December 2019, “Chaos” is 2-2; his defeats have all been to Usman, while his victories over Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal came in his most recent contest at UFC 272 in March 2022.
The meeting between Pantoja and Royval is a rematch of a non-title contest from August 2021 in which the former won via second-round submission of the latter. Pantoja won the title at UFC 290 in July after defeating Brandon Moreno. He has already won four straight matches. Royval enters UFC 296 with a three-fight winning streak, which includes an April knockout victory over Matheus Nicolau.
The most recent UFC 296 roster presently features 2 matches, one wherein Colby Covington will challenge champion Leon Edwards for the welterweight belt. And one Flyweight title matchup between champion Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval.