Leon Edwards wanted to secure a title shot with his win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263, but he was nearly taken away four rounds of hard work in the final two minutes of the fight.
After largely dominating on both feet and floor, Edwards appeared to be heading for an unbalanced victory, but Diaz refused to go away. That’s when Diaz blasted Edwards with a huge left hand that lifted the Arizona crowd in search of a miraculous comeback.
Despite Diaz’s best efforts, Edwards has found a way to hang on and survive to win the fight and remain undefeated in his last 10 appearances in the Octagon.
“Nate is a veteran. I hit it with everything except the kitchen sink, ”Edwards said afterward. “I pay tribute to him. I’m 29 years old, I’m still learning, I’m still growing. I look forward to my title shot.
“I didn’t feel any pressure to be honest. I approached it like another fight. Nate is a veteran, I pay tribute to Nate. I look forward to my chance for the world title.
The crowd was noisy in the Team Diaz corner, but Edwards didn’t let the noise get to him as he aimed for the lead leg with a few muffled kicks to move around the first lap. While Diaz is well known for his forward pressure, Edwards actually took the center of the octagon and started to move forward with his combinations.
In an odd twist, Edwards actually took Diaz to the ground for a brief wrestling exchange before kicking the calf right before the horn sounded.
Rather than reverting to a heavy boxing attack, Diaz spent more time taunting and teasing Edwards, but the antics just didn’t work. Whenever Diaz leaned against the cage trying to pull Edwards into a rally, the British welterweight would simply wait for an opening so he could unleash his strikes.
Edwards also kept chewing that lead leg with that same nasty kick that started to really pay off, with Diaz showing off the ill effects of his move.
When the fight finally hit the ground, Edwards continued his assault with hard punches and sharp elbows that resulted in a pair of cuts, including a huge gash in the side of Diaz’s head which began to pour water. blood on his face.
When the fight moved on to round four, Edwards was just baiting Diaz into his counterattacks which included a brutal left hook that twisted the Stockton, Calif. Native. Edwards’ biggest shots came whenever Diaz got aggressive and he was able to time his punches in response.
Knowing he was on the scorecards didn’t stop Edwards from unleashing the same shots that constantly caught Diaz watching. This willingness to engage in these exchanges almost cost Edwards the fight, as Diaz hit him with his left right hand that landed flush with the jaw.
Edwards was immediately on rubber legs as Diaz rushed to kill him, but he just couldn’t do enough to secure the finish as the fight drew to a close.
Although he didn’t take the win, Diaz still enjoyed a lot of love from the fans as he paid tribute to Edwards for a job well done.
“I had a hard time getting started today,” Diaz said of his performance. “Congratulations to Leon. I would have liked to take his ass off. This is Nate Diaz’s army. I appreciated the love and support of the entire military.