Two title fights have been set up for the UFC’s end-of-the-year pay-per-view.
Leon Edwards will defend his welterweight title against Colby Covington in the main event of UFC 296 on Dec. 16 in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White announced Wednesday on social media. In the co-main event, flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja will face Brandon Royval.
ESPN has Edwards ranked No. 4 in the world in its pound-for-pound rankings. At welterweight, Edwards is ranked No. 1 and Covington is unranked due to inactivity.
Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) is coming off back-to-back wins over former pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman, the most recent via majority decision at UFC 286 in March. The Jamaican-born England resident is unbeaten in 12 straight fights. Edwards, 32, beat Usman via fifth-round knockout, down on the cards, at UFC 278 in August 2022 to win the belt.
Covington (17-3) has not fought since a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 in March 2022. The California-born resident of Miami has just two losses in his past 11 fights, both title fights against Usman. Covington, 35, is a former UFC interim welterweight champion.
Pantoja (26-5), a 33-year-old Brazilian fighting out of Florida, has won four straight, including a split decision win over Brandon Moreno to win the title at UFC 290 in July. Royval (15-6), a 31-year-old Colorado native, has won three straight.
ESPN has Pantoja ranked No. 1 and Royval ranked No. 8 at flyweight.