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Edwards vs. Covington UFC 296 Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

Ultimate Fighting Championships’ final major promotion of the year shows just five bouts on the main card. Part of the reason is because two of the five fights involve four of the best at UFC. In the first title fight at UFC 296, Alexandre Pantoja enters the Octagon a -190 favorite versus challenger Brandon Royval. Then in the main event Colby Covington attempts to wrest away Leon Edwards’ welterweight strap. Also on the UFC 296 main card, Tony Ferguson takes on Paddy Pimblett and Shavkat Rakhmanov throws down against Stephen Thompson. Check out UFC odds, analysis, and free picks for all five fights on UFC 296’s main card.

UFC 296 Event Info

  • When: Saturday, December 16th, 2023. 10pm EST
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • TV: PPV
  • Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass

UFC 296 Main Card Odds

Fighter Odds Fighter Odds
Leon Edwards -172 Colby Covington +128
Alexandre Pantoja -200 Brandon Royval +148
Shavkat Rakhmanov -714 Stephen Thompson +420
Tony Ferguson +225 Paddy Pimblett -323
Josh Emmett +185 Bryce Mitchell -225

UFC 296 Main Card Preview

Josh Emmett vs. Bryce Mitchell

Josh Emmett is one of the toughest dudes at UFC. Emmett’s record is a terrific 18-4. Josh’s last lost came in a title fight versus Yair Rodriguez. Emmett is 6-1 via KO/TKO and 2-1 via submission.

Favorite Bryce Mitchell has an even better record than Emmett has. Mitchell is 16-2. Bryce has a single loss in his last 4. The favorite for sure has an edge, but the loss came against Ilia Topuria, an MMA fighter that Emmett bested in his last. Josh is worth backing at the +185 odds.

UFC 296 Pick: Josh Emmett

Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett

At one time, Tony Ferguson was one of the fiercest mixed martial artists on the planet. Ferguson could take down anybody in the lightweight division and he could do it standing up or working for a tap out.

Nowadays, Ferguson is trying to regain a small semblance of his former self. Heading into this, Tony has lost 5 straight. Paddy Pimblett is 20-3 and hasn’t lost since 2018. Pimblett should end Ferguson’s night in the first round. At -320, Paddy is an overlay.

UFC 296 Pick: Paddy Pimblett

Shavkat Rakhmanov vs. Stephen Thompson

Earlier on Thursday, Shavkat Rakhmanov was a -725 favorite. At the time of this righting, 9:30 pm eastern, Rakhmanov has fallen to -650 favoritism.

Someone, somewhere, dumped a bunch of money on Stephen Thompson to get the win. At first glance, it makes sense. Thompson is 17-6-12, but he’s only suffered a single knockout. ST is 8-1 via KO/TKO and 1-0 via submission.

The submission record is what should worry Thompson’s fans. Rakhmanov is 8-0 via KO/TKO and 9-0 via submission victories. Rakhmanov should find a way to get Thompson to the ground. If that happens, the fight could be over.

UFC 296 Pick: Shavkat Rakhmanov

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval // UFC Flyweight Title

Alexandre Pantoja, the champ, is 26-5. Pantoja beat Brandon Moreno via split-decision in the last to capture the flyweight strap. The champ for sure should be the chalk.

This is especially true because in the first Pantoja versus Royval throw down, Alexandre won via second-round submission. So what has changed?

Not much. Royval has won 3 but none of his opponents come close to matching Pantoja’s abilities. Alexandre defends his title.

UFC 296 Pick: Alexandre Pantoja

Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington // UFC Welterweight Title

Edwards versus Covington won’t disappoint. Both are incredibly skilled, hungry, and ready to put on a show. The challenger in this is 17-3 and has lost 2 of his last 5.

It doesn’t sound like Covington is ready to beat Edwards. Ah, but both losses came agianst Kamaru Usman when Usman was the most dominant mixed martial artist on planet Earth. Not only that, but Usman beat Convington in 2019 and 2021.

Colby’s last fight came against Jorge Masvidal, a victory, in 2022. The layoff could have an effect, but Covington has shown he can fight off extended layoffs and still score wins.

Edwards hasn’t lost since Kamaru Usman beat him in 2015. Since then, Edwards has won via decision, knockout, and submission. Covington is really good. But Edwards isn’t ready to lost the belt yet. The champ prevails.

UFC 296 Pick: Leon Edwards

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