Many fans were surprised to see the news last week that Nate Diaz will be fighting Leon Edwards on May 15th at UFC 262. The welterweight matchup will be the first co-main event in UFC history slated for five rounds of action and it’s the first fight for Diaz since losing to Jorge Masvidal by doctor’s stoppage at UFC 244 in November 2019.
What’s at stake?
For Diaz (20-12) it’s a chance to fast track towards a welterweight title shot. Ever since beating Conor McGregor in 2016, the 35-year-old has been competing in marquee matchups as opposed to making a run for a UFC championship. Despite this fight going against that line of thinking, Diaz will make more money should he secure an opportunity at the winner of champion Kamaru Usman vs. Masvidal at UFC 261. Many will point out Diaz is 2-2 since moving back up to 170-pounds in 2016 but his name value alone would propel him to a championship fight over his peers in the weight class. Even if Diaz loses, the Stockton native has more than enough popularity to earn another shot at a marquee name in the division.
Despite being unbeaten in his last nine fights, Edwards (18-3) hasn’t generated enough interest in landing his own welterweight title shot. The 29-year-old is coming off a “No Contest” against Belal Muhammad last month as the result of an accidental eye poke by “Rocky” in the second round at UFC Vegas 21. Not only is this a winnable fight for Edwards, but it should be enough clout for the Jamaican fighter to fight for the 170-pound belt next.
Currently, Edwards is a sizable favorite via Fanduel as the -450 betting favorite (bet $450 to win $100) with the comeback on Diaz at +340. Not only is Edwards younger and the more well-rounded fighter, but he’s fought 12 times since the start of 2015 compared to just 5 times for Diaz. Diaz doesn’t have the type of knockout power to put away Edwards early, and even if he did, Edwards has never been finished during his UFC career. Even with this being a five-round fight, I could see Edwards pushing the pace and securing a number of takedowns on route to a unanimous decision victory.
UFC 262 takes place May 15th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The vacant lightweight title is up for grabs in the main event when former Bellator champion Michael Chandler battles Charlies Oliveira. Who are you picking between Edwards vs. Diaz? Let us know in the comments.