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Leon Edwards Defeats Nate Diaz via Unanimous Decision in UFC 263 Thriller

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 13, 2021

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Leon Edwards of Jamaica reacts after his decision victory over 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)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Leon Edwards has now gone 10 straight fights without a loss after defeating Nate Diaz via unanimous decision Saturday at UFC 263 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Edwards dominated the fight for the first four rounds and most of the fifth, but a furious Diaz finish made things a bit interesting.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

NATE DIAZ ALMOST PULLED THE UPSET IN THE FINAL ROUND 😳 #UFC263 https://t.co/n6oUBiO9ro

Robert Sargent @MMARising

Nate Diaz handily loses 24 minutes of the fight, then hurts Leon Edwards multiple times in the final minute. Couldn't quite get the finish, but the crowd came to life there. #UFC263

Ultimately, Edwards earned 49-46 results on all three judges' scorecards for the win.

Diaz took a serious beating in the Octagon but never quit en route to going the distance:

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Big left lands for @Leon_edwardsmma 😯 Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z https://t.co/nKPg51m9xD

ESPN MMA @espnmma

The elbows of @Leon_edwardsmma have opened Nate Diaz up 😬 Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z https://t.co/7DEraqJyi6

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Another huge left lands and @Leon_edwardsmma is cruising 😤 Stream #UFC263 on @ESPNPlus ▶️ https://t.co/xBUo2VAE4Z https://t.co/dQRLjWdUSw

UFC @ufc

In true @NateDiaz209 fashion 😤👊#UFC263 https://t.co/NuyLDlunMB

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Wouldn't be a Nate Diaz fight without a little bit of blood 🩸 #UFC263 https://t.co/OetzUAGLWg

Edwards was phenomenal for much of the fight, though, landing four takedowns on Diaz and excelling otherwise.

Both men deserved their respect afterward, as Alex McCarthy of TalkSport tweeted:

Alex McCarthy @AlexM_talkSPORT

That fight was sensational to watch. A great showcase of exactly why Nate Diaz is so beloved and indeed why Leon Edwards is for real. So good. #UFC263

This fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 262 in May, but Diaz suffered a minor injury that forced the delay, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.

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The bout also marked the first time in UFC history that a non-main event, non-title fight went five rounds instead of three, per Adam D Martin of BJPenn.com.

Edwards entered the fight ranked as the No. 3 contender on UFC's welterweight rankings. He hasn't lost since December 2015, when he fell to current division champion Kamaru Usman via unanimous decision.

The 29-year-old responded by winning eight straight fights before a no-contest against Belal Muhammad in March 2021 due to an accidental eye poke 18 seconds into Round 2.

He is now 19-3 with one no-contest for his professional MMA career. He's gone 11-2 (one NC) in the UFC.

Diaz, 36, fell to 20-13 for his professional MMA career (15-11 UFC) after the defeat following a 19-month hiatus away from the Octagon.

Jorge Masvidal defeated Diaz for the "BMF" belt in the Californian's last fight, which ended with a doctor stoppage following three rounds in November 2019. He was deemed unfit to continue when he suffered a cut over his right eye.

Despite the defeat to the talented Edwards, Diaz still holds an impressive resume, which includes a win over former two-division champion Conor McGregor and victories against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, Jim Miller and Anthony Pettis.

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