Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval 2 set to headline UFC 296

Leon Edwards is set to defend his welterweight title against Colby Covington in main event of UFC 296 on Dec. 11. In the co-headliner, Alexandre Pantoja puts his flyweight belt up for grabs in a rematch with Brandon Royval.

UFC CEO Dana White announced the matchups on Wednesday.

The final UFC pay-per-view of 2023 seex Edwards defend his belt for the second time after dispatching Kamaru Usman back in March. It was the second consecutive win over the former UFC welterweight champ for Edwards after previously capturing the welterweight title with a stunning fifth-round knockout of Usman at UFC 278.

Overall, Edwards has not tasted defeat for the past eight years, stringing together a 12-fight unbeaten streak in the division.

As for Covington, the always outspoken former interim titleholder makes his first appearance in nearly two years when he gets a third crack at becoming undisputed UFC welterweight champion. Covington defeated former teammate and friend Jorge Masvidal back in March 2022 but has not competed since.

Covington came up short in his two previous bids at becoming UFC champion with a pair of losses to Usman, but now he’ll attempt to wrestle the belt away from Edwards instead.

Meanwhile, the co-main event sees Pantoja defend his belt for the first time after a grueling split decision win over Brandon Moreno to become champion back in July. Pantoja has now rattled off four wins in a row, which includes a submission victory against Royval in 2021.

That loss motivated Royval because the 31-year-old flyweight hasn’t tasted defeat since, taking out his past three opponents in a row. Royval attempts to avenge his loss to Pantoja while seeking to become UFC champion for the first time in his career.

UFC 296 takes place on Dec. 11 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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