UFC 296 Edwards vs. Covington: Live results and analysis

Leon Edwards and Colby Covington had to be separated during the press conference ahead of UFC 296. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • ESPN

Dec 16, 2023, 10:30 PM ET

LAS VEGAS — The stakes were raised between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington at the prefight news conference Thursday.

Covington brought up Edwards’ father, who was murdered when Edwards was a teenager. Covington said he would bring Edwards to the “seventh lair of hell” and maybe Edwards would meet his father there. Edwards responded by throwing a full bottle of water at Covington. The two men had to be separated.

Edwards will defend his UFC welterweight title against Covington at UFC 296 Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. Edwards is as hot as any fighter in the world. He took home four trophies Thursday night at the Fighters Only World MMA Awards, including Fighter of the Year. ESPN has Edwards ranked No. 4 in the world pound for pound.

Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in 12 straight fights dating to 2015, the second longest such streak in welterweight history (tied with Georges St-Pierre). The Jamaican-born resident of England is coming off back-to-back wins over the former pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman. Edwards, 32, owns victories over Usman, Nate Diaz, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos.

Covington (17-3) has not fought since a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 in March 2022. The California native, who lives and trains in Florida, has lost to only one man — Usman — going back to 2015. Covington, 35, is a former UFC interim welterweight champion.

In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja will defend his UFC flyweight title against Brandon Royval. Pantoja (26-5) has won three straight and won the belt from Brandon Moreno at UFC 290 in July. Royval (15-6) has won three in a row since falling to Pantoja in 2021.

Also on the card, the up-and-coming Paddy Pimblett will take on seasoned veteran Tony Ferguson in a critical lightweight bout, stalwart Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will try to slow the meteoric rise of welterweight bluechipper Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Follow along as Marc Raimondi, Jeff Wagenheim and Dre Waters recap the action as it happens, or watch the fights live on ESPN+ PPV.