Leon Edwards has the opportunity to become a household name in the UFC when he takes on Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in Las Vegas on June 13.
Leon Edwards v Nate Diaz UFC 263 predictions & tips
Leon Edwards versus Nate Diaz is not the main event of UFC 263, but I don’t think there would have been many complaints if it had got top billing.
This should be a thrilling and entertaining contest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this bout walked away with the ‘Fight of the Night’ title. As you can tell, I am pretty excited about this one.
Edwards was born in Jamaica but is billed from the United Kingdom, and he has been aiming to be mixing with big boys for some time now. If he gets his hand raised against Diaz, he can legitimately call himself a big deal.
Sometimes there are fights that do not a title on the line to make it a legitimate contest, and this is one of them. Edwards needs this win to launch his career, while Diaz will want to put in a dominant performance to live up to his ‘bad mother*****’ attitude.
All eyes were on Edwards in his last fight against Belal Muhammad on March 13, but it ended up being an anti-climax as Muhammed was forced to retire because of an accidental poke to the eye in the second round. It was a shame for Edwards because it was his first bout since 2019 and he was hoping this was going to set him up for a title fight.
Edwards has been in the Octagon with some big names, he has already beaten the likes of Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone, while his only two defeats have come against Claudio Silva and Kamaru Usman.
Diaz – who is recognised for his two-fight war with Conor McGregor – is returning to the Octagon for the first time since November 2.
His last fight saw him beaten by Jorge Masvidal for the symbolic BMF title belt – the fight was stopped and Masvidal was awarded a TKO victory after Diaz suffered a serious cut over his right eye.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that fighters need to perform, McGregor blamed lack of action for his defeat against Dustin Poirier, and I think Diaz will suffer the same fate. A prime Diaz is a different animal, but he has not been in the Octagon for 17 months and I cannot see him having the power to knock out Edwards.
Diaz will have the stamina to last the fight, but probably not the stamina to make any of his shots in the latter rounds count. For that reason, I am backing Edwards to try and wear him out and land significant strikes when he can to get his arm raised at the end.