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UFC 296 Review: Colby Covington comes up short

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has concluded for 2023 after UFC 296 on Saturday, December 16.

We'll break down the event with particular emphasis on how American fighters fared in their bouts.

Edwards takes down Covington by unanimous decision

The biggest fight of UFC 296 was a Welterweight title fight between title holder Leon Edwards and American challenger Colby Covington.

Englishman Edwards was rightfully the favorite in this fight and proved to be far too strong for Covington.

Edwards dominated from start to finish. He held the advantage in significant strikes, 57 to 44. Both fighters landed two takedowns, but it was Edwards who attempted two submissions, earning him a 49-46 (x3) win.

Pantoja retains title against Royval

The Co-Main event at UFC 296 and Flyweight title fight was between Alexandre Pantoja and American challenger, Brandon Royval.

Pantoja dominated this fight, landing 91 significant strikes, eight of his 14 takedowns and had one submission attempt. This led to a 50-45 (x2), 49-46 win and him retaining his title.

Rahkmonov forces Thompson to submit

This Main Card fight was between undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov and veteran American, Stephen Thompson.

This fight was one-sided the entire time and Rahkmonov needed just 28 significant strikes, one takedown, and two submission attempts - including a match-winning rear-naked choke - to remain undefeated in his career.

Pimblett completes English double

This Main Card fight saw Paddy Pimblett take on veteran Tony Ferguson.

England's Pimblett won this fight by dominating Ferguson on the ground, which led to a 30-27 (x3) win.

Two strikes and out for Mitchell

One of the quickest fights at UFC 296 was an All-American matchup between Josh Emmett and Bryce Mitchell.

Emmett needed just two strikes and just under two minutes to score a knockout win and earn a Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts.

Menifield takes down Jacoby

Another All-American fight was between Alonzo Menifield and Dustin Jacoby.

Menifield actually landed less significant strikes compared to Jacoby, but still controlled this fight, landing one takedown and one knockdown. This led to him picking up a 29-28 (x3) win.

Garbrandt secures first-round knockout

The preliminary fight between Cody Garbrandt and Brian Kelleher was also an All-American fight.

This was extremely one-sided as Garbrandt needed just 20 significant strikes and just over half of the first round to score a knockout win.

Durden submits in the second round

This fight was contested between Tagir Ulanbekov and Cody Durden and the Russian absolutely dominated from the start.

While he landed just 24 significant strikes, he also landed both of his takedown attempts, scored a knockdown and had five submission attempts, one of which was enough to force Durden to give up late in the second round.

Fili inflicts third defeat on Almeida

One of the early preliminaries saw Andre Fili take on Lucas Almeida.

This fight was easily won by Fili as he landed 20 significant strikes and need just one knockdown a little over halfway through the first round in order to pick up an impressive win over a fighter who had only previously lost twice in his career.

Other UFC 296 Results:

Only three fights at UFC 296 did not involve Americans and the results of these fights were:

Irene Aldana (Mexico) defeated Karol Rosa (Brazil) by Unanimous Decision (Fight of the Night bonus)
Ariane Lipski (Brazil) defeated Casey O’Neil (Australia) by Submission (Performance of the Night bonus - Lipski)
Shamil Gaziev (Bahrain) defeated Martin Buday (Slovakia) by KO/TKO (Performance of the Night bonus - Gaziev)

How did Americans Fare at UFC 296?

Overall, the American fighters did not fare very well at UFC 296. They had a total of four wins - three of which came against other Americans. 

In addition, both title fights were contested by Americans and both failed to dethrone the reigning champion.

Because of this, 2023 will end with three Americans holding titles in the UFC, with the hope of more to come in 2024.

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