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Leon Edwards will defend his welterweight championship against third-time title challenger Colby Covington in the main event of UFC 296 on Saturday in Las Vegas. The co-main event at T-Mobile Arena is also a title fight, with Alexandre Pantoja making the first defense of his flyweight belt against Brandon Royval. The main card will be on ESPN+ pay-per-view starting at 10 p.m. ET, with prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. and early prelims on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. Let’s take a closer inspection into the prediction and analysis of the UFC 296 main event fight.

Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his last 12 fights. The No. 4 fighter in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, Edwards last fought in March, beating former champ Kamaru Usman by a majority decision.

Covington (17-3), who twice unsuccessfully challenged Usman for the title, has not fought since beating Jorge Masvidal by a unanimous decision in March 2022.

UFC 296 Leon Edwards vs Colby Covington: Predictions and Analysis

In Covington, ‘Rocky’ will have to fend off the high pace and relentless wrestling he puts forward, similar to Usman in the second fight. I see bettors looking for this fight to go into the later rounds. Covington is exceptionally durable, and Edwards could spend all five rounds defending takedowns while trying to counter.

UFC 296 Prediction and Analysis: Colby Covington vs. Leon Edwards- the Welterweight Saga
Leon Edwards Coronation.
Credits – The official YouTube channel of UFC.

With two wins over former champ Kamaru Usman, Edwards has twice done something Covington could not, despite two tries himself. But Edwards will face a considerable volume disadvantage, as Covington typically outpaces him by more than 2-to-1 on the feet.

Add in the challenger’s wrestling credentials, and suddenly, the current champion could face uphill rounds on multiple levels.

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‘Chaos’ is definitely a proven entity in the octagon, and his big mouth has also made him a star to a certain level, even if he hasn’t talked too much trash coming into this one.

UFC 296 Prediction and Analysis: Colby Covington vs. Leon Edwards- the Welterweight Saga
Colby Covington.
Credits – The official YouTube channel of UFC.

However, he also hasn’t fought since his March 2022 win over Jorge Masvidal, who has since hung up his gloves, and in fact, that win over ‘Gamebred’ stands as his only one since 2020.

Overall, then, ‘Rocky’ seems too well-rounded for Covington at this stage, and the X-factors such as Covington’s lengthy layoff, Edwards’ own confidence, and the fact that ‘Rocky’ doesn’t seem annoyed by Covington’s trash talk favor him too.

It won’t be easy for Edwards purely because of Covington’s wild toughness and willingness to push an insane pace, but the pick is ‘Rocky’ via late stoppage. Thus, the fans could witness an Edwards TKO win in the championship rounds.

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