UFC 296 Odds, Props & Predictions: Edwards vs Covington Headline Vegas Card

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We have arrived at UFC 296: the last fight week of 2023.

We’ve seen championships change hands 11 times this year including a couple of interim belts.

Will we see a 12th when Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards takes on soon-to-be three-time title challenger Colby Covington?

Here are your UFC 296 odds, props, and predictions.

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UFC 296 Main Event Odds

The sportsbooks have the champ Edwards at a slight favorite around . Challenger Covington comes in at around .

 

UFC 296 Co-Main Event Odds

Let’s not forget that the co-main event on this stacked card is also a title fight. New Flyweight Champion Alexandre Pantoja is the slight favorite at against Brandon Royval at .

UFC 296 Betting Preview: Edwards vs Covington

Edwards Looks to Extend Win Streak to 12

Leon Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) hasn’t lost a fight since his first bout with Kamaru Usman in 2015, when the two future champions faced off on the early prelims at a UFC on Fox card headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone fighting for the Lightweight Championship.

After losing to Usman by decision that night, Edwards would go on to beat both Dos Anjos and Cerrone. He would also beat Usman twice including by a devastating head kick KO that will go down in UFC history. 

His resume also includes victories over Nate Diaz, Vicente Luque, and Gunnar Nelson.

Some fans and media were sure the first win over Usman was a fluke since Edwards was losing before the final-minute KO and then the same folks wondered during the trilogy bout that Edwards beat an aging and changed Usman. However, Usman looked sharp in his most recent bout against the feared Khamzat Chimaev, a fight he took on very short notice by the way at a weight class higher than usual.

Outside of the headkick KO, Edwards has traditionally not been the most exciting fighter. He’s a tactical stand-up artist who knows how to keep his distance and pick his shots. He peppers opponents with sharp jabs and quick leg kicks and will do that as long as he can until an opportunity opens up. 

He has just under a 50% finish rate, winning 11 of his career fights by decision, which isn’t surprising given his fighting style. He’s a frustrating opponent for most fighters and is similar to how Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland approaches fights.

While he is the slight favorite, he has the potential to get outwrestled on Saturday night. Usman outwrestled him in their first and second bouts. Edwards did hold his own in the trilogy matchup and ran away with the decision. But Edwards wants to be on his feet as much as possible.

A win for Edwards probably means a matchup against Belal Muhammad next. Their first fight ended in a no-contest a few years ago after an accidental eye poke from Edwards.

Is Third Title Fight Chance the Charm for Covington? 

Colby Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) has something in common with Leon Edwards.

Their last losses both came from Kamaru Usman. However, there are a couple of differences: Covington has lost to Usman twice and has lost to Usman more recently.

The No. 3-ranked Covington also hasn’t fought since March 2022, where he beat now-retired Jorge Masvidal by decision.

It will be interesting to see how the former Interim Welterweight Champion looks after so much time away and with his first fight back being for the title.

A stellar wrestler, Covington has beaten the likes of Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Demian Maia.

Though their success rates against the former longtime champ Usman vary, a matchup between Edwards and Covington is still interesting style-wise. It’s a classic striker vs. wrestler bout. Edwards faced a true mixed martial artist version of Usman in the later bouts who was willing to stand on his feet as much as he was to wrestle.

Covington will probably try to wrestle Edwards even more than Usman did. And it’s a great strategy to have, because if he can control the fight and keep it on the mat while mixing in ground and pound, he could slide his way to a decision victory

If Covington wins on Saturday night, a few things could happen. The most realistic is either a rematch with Edwards or a fight against the next challenger Muhammad.

The more interesting options would be for Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev to move up and go for champ-champ status, which he has said he would want to do. Interesting, yet less likely is for a trilogy bout against Usman and probably the best chance for Usman to get the belt back.

UFC 296 will be a fun card for the fans to close out the year and might keep the fans talking until the UFC returns in mid-January with Ankalaev vs Walker 2.

Here’s to being hopeful for a fun, fight-filled 2024!

UFC 296 Main Event Props

Method of Victory

 

Total Rounds (BetRivers)

  • Over 1.5 (-1115), Under 1.5 (+550)
  • Over 2.5 (-560), Under 2.5 (+350)
  • Over 3.5 (-335), Under 3.5 (+235)
  • Over 4.5 (-235), Under 4.5 (+165)

Will Fight Go The Distance? (FanDuel)

  • Yes: -190
  • No: +122

UFC 296 Full Card Odds

Main Card

Welterweight Championship: Leon Edwards () vs. Colby Covington ()

Flyweight Championship: Alexandre Pantoja () vs. Brandon Royval ()

Welterweight Bout: Shavkat Rakhmonov () vs. Stephen Thompson ()

Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson () vs. Paddy Pimblett ()

Welterweight Bout: Vicente Luque () vs. Ian Garry ()

Prelims

Featherweight Bout: Josh Emmett () vs. Bryce Mitchell ()

Bantamweight Bout: Irene Aldana () vs. Karol Rosa ()

Bantamweight Bout: Cody Garbrandt () vs. Brian Kelleher ()

Flyweight Bout: Casey O’Neill () vs. Ariane Lipski ()

Early Prelims

Light Heavyweight Bout: Alonzo Menifield () vs. Dustin Jacoby ()

Flyweight Bout: Tagir Ulanbekov () vs. Cody Durden ()

Featherweight Bout: Andre Fili () vs. Lucas Almeida ()

Heavyweight Bout: Martin Buday () vs. Shamil Gaziev ()

Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown () vs. Muslim Salikhov ()

UFC 296 Event Info

Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Date: Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023

Start Time: Main Card at 10 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ESPN+ PPV

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About the Author
Gage Miskimen

Gage Miskimen

Writer
Gage Miskimen is a journalist from Marion, Iowa, who currently writes for Gaming Today and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and was editor of the award-winning Daily Iowan. Previously, Miskimen also spent time with the Des Moines Register. He's a lifelong fan of combat sports and martial arts.

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