Edwards Retains Welterweight Title By Significantly Margined Unanimous Decision Over Covington

UFC 296 is in the books, and Leon Edwards remains the 170-pound division’s champion, further solidifying his place as the best welterweight in the organization.

In what is widely being considered a poor performance by welterweight championship challenger Colby Covington, Edwards retained his title by showcasing tremendous skill, resulting in the invalidation of his opponent’s attacks.

Throughout the beginning stages of the contest, Covington did not quite seem himself, he was slow to engage and Edwards showed a clear advance in speed. Furthermore, it was just not the ‘aggressive in nature’ fighting style that we are used to seeing from the competitor so appropriately nicknamed “Chaos”.

As the fight progressed, Edwards was battering Covington when at distance, hammering away at the lead leg while mixing in kicks to the body and effective counter-striking upstairs. Meanwhile, Covington was doing his best to put his opponents back against the fence, but ultimately failed on many takedown attempts.

In the third round, it seemed “Chaos” may have found his groove, as he was able to change levels and shoot towards Edwards’ legs. While there was an attempted defensive maneuver attempted by Edwards in an effort to gain top position once on the ground, Covington finished the takedown and went to work inside his adversaries guard.

After receiving a few light strikes amidst the struggle from the bottom, Edwards was able to impressively push off Covington’s shoulders to gain some space, and as a result was back on his feet where he delivered a partially landed head kick that almost caught Covington off guard. Almost immediately after, in a clear effort to prove the point that he could best his opponent in any area, Edwards shot for the takedown. Covington defended well with a sprawl at first, but Edwards turned the corner and took the NCAA Division I All-American wrestler to the canvas. Following a short-lived period of ground control, a scramble ensued and Edwards welcomed Covington to stand back up with him given his success in the kickboxing aspect of the match.

Through the fourth round, Edwards continued to keep the challenger guessing by frequently switching stances, convincingly feinting, and using lateral movement to effectively dominate the space inside the cage. Covington’s right leg was in bad shape by this point, and it was clear he knew the fight needed to hit the mat once again. The takedown he attempted failed, but following a scramble from the clinch he found himself in top position, though once again Edwards was able to get to his feet following a reversal.

The pair traded takedowns in the fifth, and we even saw a noteworthy triangle-armbar attempt from Edwards, but ultimately Covington held the majority of the control time. Unfortunately for him, it was too little-too late, as the final round wound up being the only one in which he was scored the winner.

With his twelfth straight victory since his last loss in 2015, Edwards improved his record to 22-3. Conversely, Covington is now 0-3 in title matches, and has only one victory in the past three years.

Official Result: Leon Edwards def. Colby Covington via Decision (Unanimous) – 49-46, 49-46, 49-46

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