- What: UFC 296 Main Event
- Who: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington
- Date: Saturday, December 16, 2023
- Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) PPV Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN2), Main Card (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
The final UFC pay-per-view event of 2023 takes place on Saturday, December 16, 2023, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. In the main event of the ESPN+ streaming fight card, UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards puts his title on the line against former interim UFC welterweight titleholder Colby Covington. Here is some information on Edwards and Covington before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC 296 PPV card.
Leon Edwards (21-3-0-1) won the UFC welterweight crown at UFC 278, stopping Kamaru Usman with a head kick late in the fifth round. Edwards defended that title at UFC 286, defeating Usman via majority decision. Edwards is unbeaten in his past 12 fights (11-0-0-1).
Colby Covington (17-3) has twice fought for the UFC’s undisputed 170-pound title. He lost to Usman by TKO at UFC 245 and then dropped a decision to Usman at UFC 268. Covington has alternated wins and losses over his past five fights and is coming off a decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272.
UFC 296 main event: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington betting picks
|To Win UFC Welterweight Title
UFC 296 main event: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington betting breakdown
The welterweight title fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington has been taking shape since Edwards successfully defended his title against Kamaru Usman in March. After that fight, which took place at UFC 286, UFC CEO Dana White said Covington, who has not fought since March 2022, was next in line for a shot at the UFC’s 170-pound title. Despite his inactivity, Covington is the No. 3 ranked fighter in the official UFC welterweight rankings.
Edwards is a well-rounded fighter who has continued to develop over the years. He is an athlete who is always adding to his toolset, which was evident in his rematch against Usman, where he showed growth in his work in the clinch and his ability to hinder his opponent’s grappling in that matchup. Edwards is well-trained and can make in-fight adjustments as needed. He won’t be lacking in confidence heading into this fight after beating Usman, the man who handed Covington his only two defeats.
The book on Covington has stayed the same over the years. He is relentless. He has outstanding cardio and impressive chain wrestling. His ability to get his foes to the mat and control them on the ground with a heavy top game and unrelenting strikes make him a dangerous fighter in any 25-minute contest.
UFC 296 main event: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington statistical breakdown
Volume is the key to Colby Covington’s game. He lands 4.10 significant strikes per minute compared to Leon Edwards’ 2.80. However, Edwards is the more accurate striker at 53 percent vs. Covington’s 39 percent success rate. Edwards also gets hit less than Covington, getting tagged 2.40 times per minute as opposed to Covington’s 3.05 strikes absorbed per minute.
Covington is second all-time in takedowns landed in the UFC’s welterweight division with 67. He averages 4.05 takedowns per 15 minutes of action. It will be a shock if Edwards tries to get Covington to the mat. However, Edwards does have the ability to keep the fight from getting to the mat. His takedown defense is 69 percent, and he stopped 11 of Usman’s 15 attempts in their recent outing. While Covington lands a lot of takedowns, his success rate is just 45 percent in that statistic.
Best Bets: UFC 296 main event – Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington
This is a difficult fight to pick. Covington can overwhelm any opponent he faces, while Edwards continuously makes minor improvements to his game. The time off Covington won’t be a concern, as his cardio has always been on point. At the same time, it’s doubtful that Edwards will wilt under Covington’s pressure. Edwards is the better striker and has more ways to rack up points in this fight. The betting pick is for the betting favorite to win via decision with some chance of scoring a surprise knockout off a well-timed strike when Covington moves in for a takedown.
Best UFC 296 Main Event Betting Pick: Leon Edwards to beat Colby Convington via decision.
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