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UFC 296 Main Card Fights: Edwards vs Covington, Pantoja vs Royval, Rakhmonov vs Thompson
- Leon Edwards will defend his welterweight title vs. Colby Covington at UFC 296
- Alexandre Pantoja will defend his flyweight title against Brandon Royval
- Shavkat Rakhmonov will square off against Stephen Thompson in a welterweight battle
We are just a week away from UFC 296, and excitement is building for one of the year's biggest events.
Leon Edwards and Colby Covington will lock horns on December 16 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, while Alexandre Pantoja will defend his flyweight title against Brandon Royval.
Here’s all you need to know about the main card fights in UFC 296.
Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington
The much-anticipated welterweight title showdown between reigning champion Leon Edwards and challenger Colby Covington will headline the card.
It has been a long time since the British fighter last suffered defeat, per CBS Sports.
He is unbeaten, dating back to a 2015 loss against Kamaru Usman. He has since avenged that defeat, beating the 'Nigerian Nightmare' in back-to-back title fights.
Edwards' next challenge after the trilogy fight against Usman is a showdown with Covington. The American is no stranger to title fights, facing Usman in two championship bouts in 2019 and 2021.
He fell short of the throne on both occasions. He is 3-2 in his last five fights, with each of those victories coming against retired fighters. He last fought at UFC 272, with Covington defeating Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision.
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval 2
Pantoja will defend his flyweight title for the first time since dethroning Brandon Moreno at UFC 290.
A familiar foe awaits him at UFC 296, with Pantoja set to face former LFA Flyweight champion Royval.
This will be the second meeting between the two fighters.
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They first fought at UFC on ESPN: Cannonier vs. Gastelum back in August 2021, with Pantoja recording a submission victory in the second round, per USA Today.
Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson
Rakhmonov will put his unbeaten MMA record on the line when he faces Thompson in a three-round clash.
The Kazakh fighter has yet to lose in 17 bouts. All of his wins have come via finishes. Eight of his victories have come by way of knockout, while the other nine wins came via submission.
He will fancy his chances of extending that winning streak against Thompson, who carries a 17-6-1 MMA record.
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