Leon Edwards survives Nate Diaz's late charge in one-sided win at UFC 263

·Combat columnist
·2-min read
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Leon Edwards of Jamaica punches Nate Diaz in their welterweight fight during the UFC 263 event at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Leon Edwards of Jamaica punches Nate Diaz in their welterweight fight during the UFC 263 event at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Nate Diaz’ face and body were covered with his own blood, which was coming from several cuts that Leon Edwards opened. He could barely walk because his leg took a pounding from Edwards’ kicks.

He’d lost just about every second of the fight at UFC 263, but with about a minute to go, Nate Diaz did Nate Diaz things.

He slapped Edwards with a right and then came behind it with a straight left hand. It badly hurt Edwards, who stumbled back to the cage as the sellout crowd at Gila River Arena roared its approval and urged Diaz on.

“I was wobbly,” Edwards said after the fight, grinning.

Edwards spent the last minute of a fight he had thoroughly controlled hanging on for dear life, in danger of being stopped by the smaller and older guy.

Edwards managed to hang on until the finish and pulled out a 49-46 decision on all three cards, remaining unbeaten in his last 10 fights. He’s 9-0 with a no contest during that streak.

But it seemed for everything he did, Diaz came out of the fight the winner even in a losing effort.

“Congrats to Leon,” Diaz said. “I just wish I could have knocked his ass the [expletive] out there.”

Diaz said he was cut in training that hampered his preparation. And Edwards, the UFC’s third-ranked welterweight who is unbeaten since 2015, looked every bit the part.

He did everything a star-level fighter is supposed to do except get the finish. But even as he was beating Diaz up, he never came close to finishing him and never did anything truly memorable. It was a workmanlike performance and he more than deserved the win, but given that he was trying to prove he was worthy of a title fight against champion Kamaru Usman, his win seemed a little unsatisfying.

UFC president Dana White had told Yahoo Sports in an Instagram Live chat earlier this month that Colby Covington would get the next shot at Usman. Edwards hoped to parlay a sensational win over Diaz into that shot, but it didn’t appear he did enough to get it done.

Diaz, as always, stole the show and had the crowd roaring at the end. He lived to fight another day even on a night when he was beaten in one-sided fashion.

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