UFC 296 undercard: Full list of fights before Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington main event in Las Vegas

The welterweight division headlines UFC 296 when Leon Edwards defends the UFC welterweight title against Colby Covington on December 16. In Las Vegas, the fight airs on ESPN+ PPV in the U.S.

Born in Jamaica and raised in Birmingham, England, Edwards (21–3 (1 NC)) ended a long journey when he beat Kamaru Usman in 2022 for the UFC welterweight title, landing a head kick out of nowhere following inspiring words from his coach. In front of family and friends in March, he beat Usman in a rematch. By defeating the man Covington couldn’t in two attempts, Edwards believes the controversial contender will be no match for him on fight night.

“He’s always playing a character, and some of the s— he’s coming out and saying just doesn’t make sense to me,” Edwards told UFC Europe via MMA Junkie. “He’s like, I’ll come back for the war that happened in America. I was like, ‘Mate, I don’t even know what you’re on about. I think that guy is a clown. But I am focused on going out there, taking him out, defending my belt for a second time, just carrying on my journey. He’s just another guy that’s in my way, and I’m going to take him out.”

An All-American wrestler and a two-time PAC-10 Championships gold medalist, Covington (17-3) is a former interim UFC welterweight champion. “Chaos” lost against Usman for the title and is 2-2 in his last four fights. Still, Covington remains the top contender for Edwards’ belt. Heading into fight fight, Covington continues his gimmick of wild insults, this time calling Edwards a cheater. He talked about his concerns heading into the fight, including watching out for eye pokes, which ended a fight against Belal Muhammad in 2021. 

WATCH: UFC 296: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, exclusively on ESPN+

“As a fighter, Leon Scott is the biggest cheater the sport’s ever known,” Covington told All Out Fighting via MMA Fighting. “I thought ‘Marty’ [Kamaru] Usman was a cheater. Man, this guy makes ‘Marty’ look like a fricken saint. Leon is a cheater. He’s poking people in the eyes, kicking people in the nuts, grabbing the fence. I mean, the guy’s the biggest cheater the sport’s ever seen, and that’s the only way I was able to prepare for him. Just prepare for all the cheating he’s gonna do.”

Outside the main event, a rematch for a title co-main events UFC 296, while young stars look to become top contenders. Here’s a breakdown of the entire UFC 296 main card.

UFC 296 undercard

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval 2

  • Division/Weight: Flyweight
  • Pantoja record: 26-5
  • Royval record: 15-6
  • Belts at stake: UFC flyweight title

The co-main event sees Alexandre Pantoja defend the UFC flyweight title against Brandon Royval

Pantoja (26-5) turned pro in 2007. The Brazilian joined the Tournament of Champions edition of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. He went 2-1, losing the semi-finals but still earned a contract. “The Cannibal” is 10-3 with the promotion and is on a four-fight win streak, with a win against Royval in 2021. In his last fight in July, Pantoja beat Brandon Moreno to become the flyweight champion. 

Royval turned pro in 2012. “Raw Dawg” is a former LFA flyweight champion. He joined the UFC in 2020 and is 5-2 with the promotion. After losing against Pantoja, he has gone on a three-fight win streak, his last contest being a knockout win in April against Matheus Nicolau.  

MORE: Ranked: The 25 best MMA fighters under the age of 25

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson

  • Division/Weight: Welterweight
  • Rakhmonov record: 17-0
  • Thompson record: 17-6-1
  • Belts at stake: N/A

Also on the card is Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson

Rakhmonov (17-0) turned pro in 2014. The former KZMMAF and M-1 welterweight champion joined the UFC in 2021 and is 5-0 in the octagon. All of the Kazakh’s fights have ended via some form of finish, his last contest being a submission win against Geoff Neal in March. He is ranked fifth in the welterweight rankings. 

Thompson (17-6-1) is a former kickboxer and a W.A.K.O. World Amateur Championships gold medalist. “Wonderboy” turned pro in 2010 and joined the UFC in 2012. He is 12-6-1 in the octagon, and after failing to capture the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley from 2016-2017, he has gone 4-4. Thompson’s two-fight losing streak got snapped when he beat Kevin Holland in December 2022. The 40-year-old was going to fight Michel Pereira in July, but Pereira missed weight, and their fight got scrapped shortly after.

Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett 

  • Division/Weight: Lightweight
  • Ferguson record: 25-9
  • Pimblett record: 20-3
  • Belts at stake: N/A

In a fight featuring two unique personalities, Tony Ferguson faces Paddy Pimblett.

MORE: What’s next for Francis Ngannou following Tyson Fury fight?

Ferguson (25-9) made his pro debut in 2008. The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner went on a twelve-fight win streak from 2013-2019 that saw him become the interim UFC lightweight champion. His streak ended in a fight against Justin Gaethje in 2020. Counting that contest, Ferguson is on a six-fight losing streak. In his last three fights, Michael Chandler beat him via a front-kick, Nate Diaz submitted him in a last-minute affair, and Bobby Green stopped him in July.  

Pimblett (20-3) turned pro in 2012. The Liverpool-born fighter is a former Cage Warriors featherweight champion. He joined the UFC in 2021 and is 4-0 with the promotion. “The Baddy” last fought in December 2022, beating Jared Gordon via what many called a controversial unanimous decision score. During the fight, he suffered an ankle injury, which required surgery.

Vicente Luque vs. Ian Machado Garry 

  • Division/Weight: Welterweight
  • Luque record: 22-9-1
  • Garry record: 13-0
  • Belts at stake: N/A

Opening the main card will be Vicente Luque vs. Ian Machado Garry.

Luque (22-9-1) turned pro in 2009. “The Silent Assassin” competed on The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, losing in the semi-finals. He is 15-5 in the octagon, beating Belal Muhammad, Mike Perry, Tyron Woodley, and Rafael dos Anjos. The 32-year-old ended a two-fight losing streak, including a rematch loss against contender Muhammad, by beating dos Anjos in August. 

Garry (13-0) got into combat sports thanks to fellow Irish star Conor McGregor. A former Cage Warriors welterweight champion, Garry joined the UFC in 2021 and is 6-0 in the octagon. He has won three fights in 2023, beating Neil Magny in his last contest in August. 

When is UFC 296: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington?

The early prelims start at 6 p.m. ET, with the prelims at 8 p.m. ET. The main card is at 10 p.m. ET. Edwards and Covington should make their way to the octagon around 12:15 a.m. ET, depending on how long the undercard fights last. 

Region Date Early Prelims Start Time Prelims Start Time Main Card Start Time Main Event Ring Walks (approx.)
USA and Canada (ET) Saturday, December 16 6 p.m. ET 8 p.m. ET 10 p.m. ET 12:15 a.m. ET
USA and Canada (PT) Saturday, December 16 3 p.m. PT 5 p.m. PT 7 p.m. PT 9:15 p.m. PT 
UK and Ireland Sunday, December 17 11 p.m. GMT 1 a.m. GMT 3 a.m. GMT 5:15 a.m. GMT
Australia Sunday, December 17 10 a.m. AEDT 12 p.m. AEDT 2 p.m. AEDT 4:15 p.m. AEDT

WATCH: UFC 296: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, exclusively on ESPN+

How to watch UFC 296: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington

Country Date Channel + Live Stream (main card)
United States Saturday, December 16 ESPN+, ESPN PPV
Canada Saturday, December 16 BELL, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel,  Videotron, Telus, Eastlink, UFC PPV on UFC Fight Pass
United Kingdom Sunday, December 17 TNT Sports, TNT Sports Box Office
Australia Sunday, December 17 Main Event, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV, UFC PPV on UFC Fight Pass

Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington PPV price: How much does UFC 296 cost? 

In the U.S., the UFC 296 main card is available via pay-per-view on ESPN+, which also requires a subscription. The PPV price for UFC 296 is $79.99 for current subscribers. New subscribers can pay a bundle price of $134.98 for the UFC 296 pay-per-view and an ESPN+ annual subscription, which offers savings of more than 30 percent.

In the UK, the main card is on TNT Sports Box Office and will cost £19.99.

Product Prices
ESPN+ Monthly Subscription $10.99/mo
ESPN+ Annual Subscription $109.99/yr
The Disney Bundle w/Hulu Ad-Supported $14.99/mo
The Disney Bundle w/Hulu No-Ads $24.99/mo
UFC PPV Standalone $79.99 each
UFC PPV Package (UFC PPV & ESPN+ Annual) $134.98, then $109.99/year
UFC PPV & The Disney Bundle

$79.99, then $14.99/mo

Click here to learn about the different pricing and bundling options with the ESPN+ platform.

UFC 296 fight card

Main card 

  • Leon Edwards (c) vs. Colby Covington for the UFC welterweight title
  • Alexandre Pantoja (c) vs. Brandon Royval 2 for the UFC flyweight title
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson; Welterweights
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett; Lightweights
  • Vicente Luque vs. Ian Machado Garry; Welterweights


  • Josh Emmet vs. Bryce Mitchell; Featherweights
  • Irene Aldana vs. Karol Rosa; Bantamweights
  • Cody Garbrandt vs. Brian Kelleher; Bantamweights
  • Casey O’Neill vs. Ariane Lipski; Flyweights

Early Prelims

  • Alonzo Menifield vs. Dustin Jacoby; Light Heavyweights
  • Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Cody Durden; Flyweights
  • Andre Fili vs. Lucas Almeida; Featherweights
  • Martin Buday vs. Shamil Gaziev; Heavyweights
  • Randy Brown vs. Muslim Salikhov; Welterweights

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