We got a extra-rare non-title and non-main event five-rounder on the UFC 263 main card when the promotions’ #3 ranked welterweight, Leon Edwards, took a unanimous decision over the ever-popular Nate Diaz. The first-four frames were all Edwards as he was landing crippling leg kicks and getting the takedowns — but Diaz would have his moment in the fifth round. Edwards was rocked late in the fight by a Stockton slap to left cross, but he managed to hang on, make it out of the round, and pick up the victory. This makes 10 fights in a row without rating defeat for Leon, and if he doesn’t get a title shot soon, then he just might become the Tony Ferguson of 170-pounds.
Diaz went at Edwards right away with unusual tactics, like putting his hands on his knees, and then blitzing forward with a flurry. Edwards dealt with the funk with relative ease, and started attacking the calf of Diaz. When they did clinch up, Edwards was able to position himself on the back. He shifted into top position, but then allowed Diaz to stand back up just before the bell.
Edwards opened up the second stanza with another stinging calf kick. Nate tried some more of his wacky tactics, but they weren’t really being that effective. From the clinch, Edwards hit a takedown to put Diaz on his back, but quickly had to fight off a leg lock threat. Edwards stood up and unleashed another brutal calf kick, and even landed a spinning elbow just before the bell.
The calf kicks kept coming from Edwards in the third act, visibly hurting Diaz. On the inside, Edwards hit a takedown and dropped a couple of elbows that split open Nate. The fight went back to its feet, and Leon tried to touch gloves, but Diaz slapped it away and flipped him the bird. Diaz scored with a couple of jabs before Edwards took him back down, but was quick to stand back to his feet before the bell.
Diaz opened the fourth round with a slick boxing combo that got through the guard of his opponent. Edwards responded with a big overhand to get that back. Nate was pressuring forward behind his punches, but Leon was countering effectively with some leather of his own. It was another solid round for Edwards.
Edwards looked to command the cage right away in the final frame. He took the center of the cage, fighting off the early aggression of the younger Diaz brother. Nate started to rally, though, landing with his hands and pushing Edwards against the cage. Then, Diaz wobbled Edwards and put him on the proverbial ropes with less than a minute to go. Nate tried his best to get the finish, but Leon was able to survive and make it to the bell. Whoa!