LAS VEGAS (October 18, 2023) – UFC® will hold its final event of 2023 in the Fight Capital of the World, headlined by a highly anticipated welterweight championship bout that will see Leon Edwards defend against No. 2 ranked contender Colby Covington. Also, newly crowned flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja makes his first title defense when he rematches No. 4 ranked contender Brandon Royval.

UFC® 296: EDWARDS vs. COVINGTON takes place Saturday, Dec. 16 at T-Mobile Arena with the main card at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN+ PPV. The prelims will be available on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, as well as simulcast in English and Spanish on ESPN+, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The early prelims will kick off at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass with the action also continuing on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

UFC® 296: EDWARDS vs. COVINGTON tickets will go on sale Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. PT and are available for purchase at axs.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. PT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Oct. 19 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

Media members wishing to apply for fight week credentials may sign up here.

Edwards (21-3 1NC, fighting out of Birmingham, England) looks to continue his momentum following winning his trilogy bout against former titleholder Kamaru Usman. Currently riding a 12-fight unbeaten streak, he has also earned spectacular victories over Nate Diaz, Rafael Dos Anjos and Gunnar Nelson. Edwards now intends to further cement himself as the top welterweight on the planet.

Former interim welterweight champion Covington (17-3, fighting out of Miami, Fla.) returns to action following his dominant win against heated rival Jorge Masvidal. An NCAA Division I All-American, he has also delivered notable victories over Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. Covington now has his sights set on stopping Edwards in emphatic fashion.

Pantoja (26-5, fighting out of Arraial Do Cabo, Brazil) is coming off his Fight of the Year contender victory over Brandon Moreno to capture the flyweight belt. A talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, he also holds wins against Alex Perez, Manel Kape and Wilson Reis. Pantoja now hopes to finish Royval for a second time to continue his run atop the 125-pound ladder.

Royval (15-6, fighting out of Englewood, Colo.) intends to steal the show with another highlight-reel finish. Among the most exciting competitors in the flyweight division, he has earned memorable victories over Matheus Nicolau, Matt Schnell and Kai Kara-France. Royval now plans to even the score with Pantoja and achieve his dream of becoming UFC champion.

Additional bouts on the card include:

  • Undefeated No. 6 ranked welterweight contender Shavkat Rakhmonov (17-0, fighting out of Kokshetau, Kazakhstan) battles former title challenger and No. 7 Stephen Thompson (17-6-1, fighting out of Simpsonville, S.C.)

  • Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (26-9, fighting out of Orange County, Calif.) collides with Paddy Pimblett (20-3, fighting out of Liverpool, England) in a highly anticipated matchup
  • No. 10 ranked welterweight contender Vicente Luque (22-9-1, fighting out of Brasília, Brazil) locks horns with unbeaten No. 11 Ian Machado Garry (13-0, fighting out of Dublin, Ireland by way of Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
  • No. 6 ranked contender Josh Emmett (18-4, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) meets No. 8 Giga Chikadze (15-3, fighting out of Tbilisi, Georgia) in an exciting featherweight bout
  • No. 15 ranked Alonzo Menifield (14-3-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) faces No. 15 Dustin Jacoby (19-7-1, fighting out of Englewood, Colo.) in a clash of light heavyweight contenders
  • Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (13-5, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) faces Brian Kelleher (24-14, fighting out of Selden, N.Y.) in a bout guaranteed to deliver fireworks
  • Streaking heavyweight Martin Buday (13-1, fighting out of Trnava, Slovakia) takes on undefeated Dana White’s Contender Series signee Shamil Gaziev (11-0, fighting out of Kingdom of Bahrain)
  • No. 5 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Irene Aldana (14-7, fighting out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) returns against No. 9 Karol Rosa (17-5, fighting out of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Randy Brown (17-5, fighting out of Queens, N.Y. by way of Spanish Town, Jamaica) faces Muslim Salikhov (19-4, fighting out of Buynaksk, Dagestan, Russia) in an all-action welterweight tilt
  • No. 13 ranked flyweight contender Tagir Ulanbekov (15-2, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) looks to defend his spot in the rankings against Cody Durden (16-4-1, fighting out of Covington, Ga.)
  • No. 14 ranked women’s flyweight contender Casey O’Neill (9-1, fighting out of Gold Coast, Australia) squares off with Ariane Lipski (16-8, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil)

For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts are live and subject to change.



About UFC®
UFC® is the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization (MMA), with more than 700 million fans and 243 million social media followers. The organization produces more than 40 live events annually in some of the most prestigious arenas around the world while broadcasting to over 900 million TV households across more than 170 countries. UFC’s athlete roster features the world’s best MMA athletes representing more than 75 countries. The organization’s digital offerings include UFC FIGHT PASS®, one of the world’s leading streaming services for combat sports. UFC is owned by global entertainment, sports, and content company Endeavor, and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok: @UFC.

About T-Mobile Arena
T-Mobile Arena, the 20,000-seat venue located on the Las Vegas Strip between Park MGM and New York-New York, opened April 6, 2016. The arena hosts more than 100 events annually including major headline entertainment, awards shows, UFC, boxing, basketball and other sporting events, family shows and special events. T-Mobile Arena also is the home of the Vegas Golden Knights, a National Hockey League expansion team and the city’s first professional sports team, as well as UFC’s exclusive Las Vegas arena destination. The venue, named the No. 1 venue on Billboard Magazine’s 2018 Arena Power List as well as the “Best New Major Concert Venue” by Pollstar Magazine in 2016, features 50 luxury suites, more than two dozen private loge boxes, complete broadcast facilities, and other specially designed exclusive hospitality offerings and fan amenities destined to create a guest experience second to none. Toshiba Plaza, an adjacent two-acre outdoor entertainment space, features performance stages, a variety of video screens and other interactive content and display areas. Industry-leading architect Populous designed T-Mobile Arena to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for LEED® Gold Certification. T-Mobile Arena is a privately funded joint venture between AEG and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information, visit T-MobileArena.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About ESPN+

About ESPN
ESPN, the world’s leading multiplatform sports entertainment brand, features eight U.S. television networks, the leading sports app, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, leading social and digital platforms, ESPN.com, ESPN Audio, endeavors on every continent around the world, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.

Press Contact for UFC:
Chris Costello 702-588-5546

Press Contact for T-Mobile Arena:
Katharine Sherrer 702-692-6724

Press Contact for ESPN:
Ardi Dwornik 646-547-5612

Michael Skarka 860-385-3986