Tonight at UFC 263 we saw the return of one of the biggest stars in the sport. Nate Diaz (20-12) returned to the welterweight division and took on one of the very best in the world in Leon “Rocky” Edwards (18-3, 1 NC).
This is the first time we’ve seen Diaz since his BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244. That night, Masvidal was getting the better of Diaz before a cut stopped the fight. However, Diaz was coming on strong in the middle rounds.
Diaz has always been known as a guy who starts really slow then really gets going. Likely why he wanted this fight to be five rounds. Stockton’s own looked more motivated than ever entering the octagon tonight.
UFC 263 was a massive opportunity for Leon Edwards. Entering 2020, Edwards had won eight fights in a row and had a fight booked against Tyron Woodley in a title eliminator. However, COVID shut everything down. Multiple fights for Edwards got cancelled for a variety of reasons and he didn’t return until March of this year.
After looking good early, Edwards accidentally poked Belal Muhammad in the eye and his anticipated return ended in a No Contest. Now, at UFC 263, he’s going to look to make a massive statement and show why he should be challenging for the title.
UFC 263 Recap
The UFC 263 welterweight contest started with immediate pressure from Leon Edwards. Diaz circles on the outside as he tries to find his range. Wild left straight misses for Nate Diaz. Diaz plays around and Edwards lands a left hand.
A little gamesmanship from Nate Diaz here in the first round. Powerful leg kick lands for Leon Edwards. Another leg kick lands for Edwards and Diaz briefly switches stances. The two men come together but nothing big lands.
More pressure from Edwards. Leg kick lands for Diaz. Front kick to the body lands for Diaz and a massive straight left lands for Edwards. Powerful leg kick lands for Edwards. A couple of jabs land for Diaz as Edwards resets.
Combination lands for Diaz and he taunts Edwards. Edwards goes for a takedown and ends up getting the back of Nate Diaz. Diaz tries to force a scramble, but Edwards just rides the position. The first round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Edwards at UFC 263.
Diaz was walking a little gingerly in between rounds at UFC 263. However, he was smiling at Edwards before the second started. Massive leg kick from Edwards starts the striking here in the second round.
Diaz pushes forward, but nothing lands. Good straight left and a check right hook for Edwards lands. Edwards with a ton of pressure here. Right hook lands for Nate Diaz. Now Diaz is pushing forward. Edwards looks for the low kick again and it forces a Diaz stance switch.
Diaz pushes forward with a 1-2, but another big kick lands for Edwards. Big connection from Diaz, but Edwards lands his own shots. Edwards gets a clinch and pushes Diaz against the fence. Nice trip and Edwards is on top here.
Edwards stands up and Diaz trips him with a leg lock. Diaz almost has it, but Edwards escapes. Massive leg kick buckles Nate Diaz. However, Diaz keeps coming forward. Both men trade big punches and the second round comes to a close. 2-0 Leon Edwards after two at UFC 263.
Entering the third round here at UFC 263 and Nate Diaz needs to turn this around. Diaz takes the center to start the action and Edwards throws a big elbow that just misses. Edwards starts pressing forward and lands a good left hand that backs Diaz up.
Another powerful leg kick lands for Edwards. Diaz starts moving forward and Edwards circles along the outside. The two men come together in a clinch and Diaz presses Edwards against the fence. Diaz shrugs him off and they’re back to striking.
More pressure from Diaz and he looks for his left hand. The two clinch again, but it’s Edwards that presses Diaz against the fence. Diaz rolls and Edwards is on top in half guard. Edwards looks for his elbows halfway through the round.
Slicing elbows land for Edwards and Diaz is busted open. They stand back up and a nice jab lands for Diaz. Big leg kick lands for Edwards and they go back to the clinch. Edwards is heavy here against the fence. Takedown for Edwards and he lands another elbow. The round ends and it’s 3-0 at UFC 263.
Entering the fourth round at UFC 263 and Nate Diaz looks like he needs a miracle here. Pressure from Diaz to start things here in the fourth round. Body kick lands for Edwards. 1-2 lands for Nate Diaz and Edwards counters with a leg kick.
Diaz plots forward trying to find his openings. Massive left hand lands for Edwards and that hurts Diaz. However, Diaz smiles and gives the thumbs up. Edwards holding the center of the cage and now he’s pushing forward.
Good check right hook lands for Leon Edwards. Front kick lands for Diaz and Edwards pushes forward and gets a trip. Diaz gets up and is cracked with a left from Edwards. Edwards is landing clean here in the third round and he lands another good leg kick.
Diaz pushes forward, but nothing really lands. Edwards looks for a big elbow, but it just misses. Now Diaz is moving forward. Double jab and a solid straight left lands for Diaz. Nice head movement for Diaz late in the round.
Another 1-2 lands for Diaz. Huge elbow connects for Edwards. 1-2 for Diaz and a big counter left for Edwards. Both men trade jabs. The round closes and Diaz had a good end to the round, but it’s 4-0 Edwards at UFC 263.
You can never count Diaz out, but he’s going to need a miracle finish at UFC 263. Both men exchange big shots to start the fifth and Edwards lands a nice trip off the break. They go back to striking and a leg kick lands for Edwards.
Diaz switches stances and takes the center of the octagon. Good jab lands for Diaz. Lead elbow lands for Diaz and Nate is the one pushing forward early in the fifth. Big counter left hand lands for Leon Edwards.
Edwards pushes forward and Diaz lands a check right hook. Jab and a 1-2 behind it lands for Diaz. Another good left lands for Diaz and he shoots for a takedown. However, Edwards defends well and they stay in the clinch.
They break and a right hook lands for Diaz. Big body kick lands for Edwards and now he’s throwing more kicks. Jab lands for Nate Diaz. Left overhand and left uppercut lands for Edwards, but Diaz just keeps moving forward.
Diaz lands a massive shot and Leon Edwards is hurt badly. Nate Diaz is pouring it on and Leon Edwards is out on his feet. Oh my goodness Nate Diaz almost pulls it off but the bell sounds. Edwards survives and should get the nod here.
Leon Edwards def. Nate Diaz by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)