Neither the love poured out by the Arizona crowd nor the legendary status that adopted him to the Octagon on Saturday might save Nate Diaz from the wrath of welterweight contender Leon Edwards.
Wow, Diaz got here shut, nonetheless, to reaching nothing in need of a last-minute miracle.
After being bloodied and brutalized for greater than 4 rounds, Diaz (20-13) severely staggered Edwards (19-Three, 1 NC) within the remaining minute of their five-round battle and appeared on the verge of stopping him on the remaining horn. . in a featured combat on the UFC 263 card contained in the Gila River Enviornment in Glendale, Arizona. Edwards held on to a unanimous determination via similar scores of 49-46 and barely prevented the form of heartbreaking loss that will have been regular on the course in his current streak of dangerous luck and fights falling aside.
“Nate is a veteran. I hit him on the pinnacle with all the things however the kitchen sink,” Edwards stated. “I play truthful with him and he earns my respect tonight.”
Diaz, 36, ended a two-year hiatus by curiously asking for a combat in opposition to Edwards when apparently nobody else was. Diaz additionally requested that or not it’s contested over 5 rounds, making the 170-pound combat the primary of its sort in a non-main occasion or title combat.
Though the danger wasn’t price it in the long run, as Diaz hoped to catapult himself to the entrance of the road in a packed welterweight title picture, the fickle Stockton, California native was in a position to keep his status for blood and … warrior with guts and impossibly obliterate the picture of seeing him so badly dominated by Edwards for many of the combat.
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“I had a extremely arduous time getting going all night time,” Diaz stated. “I had my coaching lower off a couple of month in the past. I believe it slowed all my momentum. Congratulations to Leon. I used to be about to take the shit out of it.”
Diaz was repeatedly overwhelmed by Edwards, a 29-year-old native of England, and fell a number of occasions within the final two rounds earlier than the rally. Diaz was additionally dominated on the bottom always and acquired a extreme lower in two locations, above the left eye and on the aspect of the pinnacle, from Edwards’ elbow punches to the bottom in Spherical Three.
However simply when it appeared just like the elite stage of the game had ignored Diaz within the remaining spherical, his determined surge practically hit when a two-punch mixture despatched Edwards staggering. Diaz initially pointed to his opponent to taunt him and will have price himself the shot to shoot. Nonetheless, Diaz saved up the stress earlier than the ultimate bell and continued to harm Edwards earlier than operating out of time.
“He caught me with a [combination] and it’s what it’s, “stated Edwards.” It was arduous sufficient to make me stagger. I’ve in all probability solely staggered as soon as in my profession. He went via the guard and caught me within the center. “
Diaz didn’t lure Edwards right into a combat throughout the first three rounds and resigned himself to taunting his opponent with numerous items of stage artwork, together with practically turning his again on Edwards and sticking his butt out. Edwards, to his credit score, stood his floor and attacked Diaz with punches to the legs that appeared to start to compromise Diaz’s motion in Spherical Three.
“It is Nate Diaz’s military,” Diaz stated. “We’re lions right here, my complete crew.”
Though Edwards was booed after the combat, the victory is perhaps sufficient to offer him a long-awaited shot on the welterweight title from Kamaru Usman. Edwards improved to 9-Zero (1 NC) from a 2015 non-title loss to Usman by unanimous determination.
“I obtained there mentally. I have been watching Nate … I’ve seen the stats as we speak on Instagram,” Edwards stated. “Once I was in my professional debut, he was headlining a UFC occasion. I’ve seen Nate Diaz for a very long time, so I do know precisely what he does. I believed he was making an attempt to speak shit. I went to my nook and my nook instructed me to maintain calm, to not play along with his recreation, to do your factor and that is what I did.