The big UFC welterweight about is upon us, as Leon Edwards and Colby Covington meet at the UFC 296 this Saturday night. The two guys have been “throwing rocks” at one another for a long time, but they never had the chance to enter the octagon.
Colby was the first one to receive a chance and attack the title, and while moving up the ladder, he never met the English fella. On the other side, Edwards dethroned Kamaru and had to meet him once more before taking the opportunity to measure himself with the Chaos.
The two are vicious trash-talkers, so pumping the hype ahead of this contest wasn’t hard at all. It’s no wonder it became one of the biggest PPV spectacles in 2023. The mere fact that it headlines the closing event of the year says enough about its magnitude.
Both Fighters in Excellent Form
Leon Edwards steps into the octagon at UFC 296 with an impressive 11-fight winning streak. Not only that, but he is also the current champion, thanks to his consecutive victories against the former champ, Kamaru Usman, whom Rocky dethroned in the process.
In his first title shot against Usman in 2020, Edwards was dragged through four rounds, looking helpless and without a solution on how to stop the Nigerian Nightmare. However, in a stunning turn of events, he delivered a highlight-reel head kick in the fifth round, snatching one of the most memorable KO-win flips ever.
— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) December 15, 2023
And his dominance didn’t stop there. In their trilogy fight, which took place in March, he secured an even more convincing victory over Usman, winning by unanimous decision and successfully defending his title. We’ve seen the Englishman evolving into an all-around fighter displaying numerous weapons.
Edwards is a well-rounded fighter, combining highly technical kickboxing skills with solid wrestling technique and impeccable work in the clinch. His arsenal of fighting techniques makes him a force to be reckoned with inside the octagon. Also, Edwards has a superb cardio.
In 25 appearances inside the octagon, Rocky posted 21 victories, three losses, and one no-contest. He has wins over Nate Diaz, Vicente Luque, Rafael dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone, etc.
Colby Covington, on the other hand, hasn’t set foot in the octagon since his unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal some 20 months ago. In his last 11 bouts, Covington boasts a record of 9-2, with his only losses coming in competitive title fights against Usman.
Chaos is well-versed in grappling, and he carries that knowledge from college. He records an impressive 4.05 takedowns per 15 minutes and has an exceptional ability to control his opponents both on the mat and against the cage. Moreover, he is a high-volume striker, always looking to push the pace and relentless in his attacks, though we can’t say that his punch power is big. Covington’s endless gas tank only adds to the menace he brings inside the octagon.
Who’s closer to the win?
Our opinion is that it is Rocky. Even though both guys have plenty of similarities, we think that the champ is more versatile in terms of pure fight. By that, we don’t mean that Colby has fewer weapons, but simply, we’ve seen Rocky using his more frequently. Also, his evolution between the second and the third meeting with Usman is impressive, and we do not doubt that Edwards prepared something even better for this contest. He is that type of guy. Again, we aren’t underestimating Colby, but only believe that the champion is better now.
Here are the BetXchange odds for this matchup.