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HomeCruiseLeon Edwards cruises to victory over lethargic Colby Covington in UFC 296...

Leon Edwards cruises to victory over lethargic Colby Covington in UFC 296 main event

Leon Edwards was consumed by rage after a tasteless remark rattled him ahead of his title defense on Saturday but still managed to shut out Colby Covington for the better part of five rounds to cruise to victory in the UFC 296 main event.
After Covington insulted his father, who was murdered when Edwards was only 13 years old, the reigning welterweight champion had to stamp down his emotions to ensure that didn’t get the better of him in the fight. So Edwards stayed calm, cool and collected while picking Covington apart on the feet and even mixing in some takedowns as well as a submission attempt to secure the win.
As for Covington, he did next to nothing for more than half the fight and only came alive with a late takedown to prevent losing every round on the scorecards. When it was over, all three judges scored the fight 49-46 with Edwards retaining his title in fairly lopsided fashion.
Afterwards, Edwards addressed the classless comment that Covington used against him, which admittedly left him rattled and forced him to reset before setting foot in the octagon to defend his title.
“This fight was very emotional for me,” Edwards said. “This guy was using my dad’s death as entertainment. He used my dad’s murder as entertainment. It took a lot for me to calm down and stay focused and come into this fight.
“After the press conference, I went backstage, I was crying just from the rage. He can’t use my dad’s death as entertainment and that’s what he did. To this day, it still breaks my heart. He got murdered and he said my dad should burn in hell.”
While he didn’t get the finish, Edwards did punish Covington throughout the course of the fight while chopping away at him with leg kicks and then picking and choosing his shots in the exchanges on the feet. In a bizarre twist, Covington spent the better part of the first three rounds on his backfoot rarely engaging with Edwards whatsoever, which he later chalked up to the time off he had between fights.
“I’ve had a long layoff,” Covington said about his first performance in nearly two years. “I think a little ring rust had to do with it.”
Edwards used pinpoint accuracy to pop Covington in the face and open a cut on his cheek while routinely fighting through the takedown attempts when the always outspoken former interim welterweight champion decided to use his wrestling. Perhaps the biggest mistake that Edwards made all fight was actually looking to outgrapple Covington, which he did at times, but it still allowed the former All-American wrestler to keep grabbing for takedowns.
Still, Edwards maintained control throughout nearly every round until the final five minutes when Covington finally put him on his back. From there, Covington really just used suffocating top control to stifle Edwards from getting back up again but it was clearly too little, too late.
Edwards admitted that he had something to prove in the fight, especially while noting Covington’s greatest strength that he turned against him.
“I knew I was the better athlete,” Edwards said. “All training camp, everyone kept going on about his cardio, his cardio, his cardio so I knew once I controlled the distance, I’d love to match him cardio for cardio. I could match him with technique and range and to shut him down and that’s what I did.”
While it wasn’t a head shot heard round the world like when he became champion, Edwards still proved a point with his performance while Covington was stuck in the mud for nearly 25 minutes in a failed third attempt at becoming undisputed UFC champion.
Following the fight, Covington tried claim victory but ultimately lashed out at the disapproving Las Vegas crowd booing him rather loudly.
“I feel great. I didn’t feel like I got touched,” Covington said. “It was an easy fight. I don’t have a scratch on me. I’d like to get back to work the early part of next year. I’m only going to learn from this. I’m going to go back to the drawing board. I’ve been out of the octagon for two years, people been ducking me, fights fell through, Leon didn’t want to fight in his home country of UK so I’ve been ready to fight anytime, anywhere, anyone.
“I will come back stronger. I’m 35 years young. I didn’t take any damage this fight. This is the easiest fight of my life. I thought I won the fight. It’s all perspective. I will come back stronger. You’re all a bunch of broke b***** anyways, f*** you.”
It’s tough to imagine Covington sliding back into another title shot off this kind of performance while Edwards is probably rather happy to move past this fight once and for all.



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