HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 296

By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist

UFC 296 was this past weekend and featured some exciting fights. Who won and who lost? Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC 296
GOOD- Josh Emmett stops Bryce Mitchell
There’s a lot of feinting early and trying to find the distance before Emmett connects with an overhand right that knocks Mitchell out and sends him crashing to the floor not quite two minutes into the first round. Not a whole lot else to say except that’s some scary power. Emmett improves to 19-4 while Mitchell drops to 16-2. Good win for Emmett.

GOOD- Paddy Pimblett vs. Tony FergusonGOOD- Shavkat Rakhmonov submits Stephen Thompson
Rakhmonov grabs a clinch early and they start swinging. They trade knees and punches until Thompson finally breaks free and starts landing some kicks. They’re swinging away until the first round ends. The second round begins with them trading strikes until Rakhmonov grabs a clinch again. Rakhmonov finally gets a takedown and they grapple for a while. Rakhmonov is hunting the submission and finally
locks in a rear-naked choke that forces Thompson to tap with just seconds left in the second round. There were stretches of it being not the most exciting fight ever but good strategy from Rakhmonov, who improves to a perfect 18-0 while Thompson drops to 17-7-1. Good win for Rakhmonov.

GOOD- Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval
Pantoja was looking to successfully defend his UFC Flyweight
Championship for the first time here. Pantoja attacks the legs early before trying for a takedown. He doesn’t get it so he goes back to the kicks. Royval is pumping his jab a lot. Pantoja gets a takedown but eats a few upkicks before he can get on top of Royval. Pantoja lets Royval up and they swing a few more times before the first round ends. The second round begins with the fighters trading knees before Pantoja gets a takedown. Pantoja doesn’t really do much so he lets Royval
stand and delivers some hard strikes. Royval lands a head kick but Pantoja eats it and takes him down before the second round ends. The third round opens with Pantoja getting another takedown. He tries for an arm triangle but Royval escapes and stands up. They trade strikes
for a while until Pantoja gets another takedown and the third round ends. The fourth round starts with Pantoja getting another takedown.
Pantoja stays wrapped around him until the fourth round ends. The fifth round begins with a slugfest. Royval is throwing everything he’s got but Pantoja is taking it. He even takes Royval down a few times despite the onslaught. The fight ends with Royval and Pantoja smashing
away at each other. We go to the judges to render a verdict. Pantoja wins the decision and defends his UFC Flyweight Championship and improves to 27-5 and has won 5 straight fights while Royval drops to
15-7 and has his 3 fight winning streak snapped. Good win for Pantoja.

GOOD- Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington
Edwards was looking to successfully defend his UFC Welterweight Championship for the second time here. Covington starts off throwing
some kicks. Edwards fires back, connecting with a kick and some punches of his own. Covington shoots but is denied and they throw some
more kicks at each other before the first round ends. The second round begins with some kicks from Edwards as he mixes in some punches also. Covington looks like he doesn’t care to do much else other than throw some punches and circle around Edwards. It’s not working out too well
as the second round ends. The third round starts with Edwards denying a Covington takedown attempt and throwing out some more kicks. They trade takedowns before resuming striking on the feet. Edwards keeps
landing those hard leg kicks and it’s really affecting Covington as the third round ends. The fourth round opens with Edwards continuing to land kicks that are completely taking Covington out of this fight.
Covington is swinging away but Edwards continues to land the more damaging blows. The fourth round ends with more kicks from Edwards.
The fifth round begins with a few strike attempts before Covington gets a takedown. Edwards gets up and they grapple for a while until the fight ends. Not the most exciting of fights but we go to the judges to render their verdict. Edwards wins the decision to defend his UFC Welterweight Championship for the second time and improves to 22-3 with 1 No Contest and has won 4 straight fights while Covington drops to 17-4. Good win for Edwards.


On the UFC 296 prelims Irena Aldana (15-7) and Karol Rosa (17-6) had an absolute war that Aldana won by decision. Rosa did a lot of damage to Aldana’s leg early with vicious kicks but she fought through it and ended up winning the decision by doing more damage. It was a bloody and ultra-violent exciting fight that rightly won Fight of the Night. Look it up if you haven’t seen it, though be warned that they both look like BKFC fighters by the end of it.
The fight is now in the Top Ten for most Significant Strikes landed in any UFC fight with 349 and is tied for second-most Significant Strikes landed in a 3-round fight. It was incredible.


The main event of UFC 297 on January 20, 2024 will be UFC Middleweight Champion Sean Strickland (28-5, 3 straight wins) defending against Dricus du Plessis (20-2, 8 straight wins). Those two were seated near each other at UFC 296 and had an altercation. Dana White’s already said that neither man will be fined because it’s his fault for sitting them so close to each other but it’s a pretty wild pullapart they had. I won’t comment further other than to say it probably wasn’t the
smartest move to wildly throw hands a month before your scheduled fight. The risk of a broken hand alone wouldn’t make it worth it, in my opinion. Maybe that’s just me?


Michael “Venom” Page (21-2) has signed with the UFC and will make his debut at UFC 299 on March 9, 2024 against Kevin Holland (25-10, 1 No Contest). The UFC Welterweight division gets stronger with this
signing and it’ll be interesting to see what he does in the UFC.

My new epic fantasy book is out. It’s called Kingdom of Zarias: The End’s Beginning. The exciting epic fantasy series Kingdom of Zarias returns with the 4th book in the series. After the harrowing events of Book 3 the residents of the Kingdom of Zarias continue on their paths.
Serena Summers continues to learn and grow as a fighter, desperately seeking to become stronger before she loses anyone else in her life.
Daniel Summers discovers new parts of the world that open his eyes to just how little he truly knows. A new hero, Lamar Abeers, arrives to
join the fight against evil. Plus, Zach Summers, Tiana Highsmith, and Xavien Ekens continue their journeys with their friends, and a new ruler of Vhaharen is crowned. The world has found a little peace. However, that peace is only temporary. In a shocking act of violence, the monstrous villain Galren strikes from the shadows and changes the
world forever. This is Book 4 in the series. There’s lots of action,
magic, and monsters in the Kingdom of Zarias. It’s like a tabletop game in novel form. It’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other places. If you’re interested, I would greatly appreciate it if you would check it out and support me. Also, here’s the link to my Compendium book about the Kingdom of Zarias series- KoZ Compendium Thank you very much, have a good day.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at
hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank.
Thanks for reading and have a good day.

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