UFC has revealed the title fights for the main event and co-main event of UFC 296 PPV event.
UFC President Dana White took to social media like he has done so many times earlier this year to announce big fights. White announced in the video that long-awaited UFC Welterweight Championship bout between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington is set for the main of UFC 296.
The co-main event bout will feature Alexander Pantoja’s first flyweight title defense as he takes on Brandon Royval.
Edwards won the welterweight title from Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 last year in August via knockout in the final minute of the bout. He went on to retain the title against Usman in their trilogy bout at UFC 286 PPV in London in March this year. The champ is unbeaten in his 12 bouts since 2016.
Colby Covington is deemed as the #1 contender for the title despite being inactive since March 2022 when he defeated Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 272. Covington has also not lost to anyone other than Usman since 2016.
The bout was earlier planned for a PPV event in London in July. However, Edwards only wanted to fight in October or later. There were talks of holding the fight both at UFC 294 and UFC 295 as the co-main event. UFC has finally booked it for UFC 296. The event takes place on December 16, 2023, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
The co-main event will actually be a rematch. Pantoja defeated Royval in their previous encounter in August 2021. Pantoja is on a 4-fights winning streak currently and took the flyweight title away from Brandon Moreno at UFC 290.
Royval has 2 losses in his 7 UFC bouts, which have come against Pantoja and Moreno only. He is on a 3-fight winning streak with wins over Rogério Bontorin, Matt Schnell and Matheus Nicolau.
Dana White also revealed the co-main event of UFC 295 in the same video.