UFC 263: Nate Diaz vs Leon Edwards Picks, Odds, Predictions

Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz
June 12, 2021 10:15 pm EDT
The Line: Nate Diaz +400 / Leon Edwards -600
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz fight Saturday in UFC 263 at the Gila River Arena. Edwards enters this fight with a 18-3 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by decision. Diaz enters this fight with a 20-12 record and has won 55 percent of his fights by submission. 

Edwards has won eight of his last nine fights and is coming off a March no contest against Belal Muhammad. He is averaging 2.56 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 47 percent. Edwards is averaging 1.35 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 30 percent. 

He’s coming off a no contest at UFC Vegas 21, a fight where he landed 20 strikes and 48 percent of his significant strikes. Edwards poked his opponent in the eye in the second round and the fight was stopped. This will be Edwards’ second fight since July of 2019.

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Edwards entered the UFC as a known powerful striker, but it’s his heavy wrestling approach that’s helped him take things to the next level. Edwards is a highly effective fighter in the clinch and has good use of his knees and elbows as well. He is a crafty southpaw who can be tricky for his opponents when standing up and he’s never been finished in his career. 

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A purple belt in BJJ, Edwards takes a step forward in his career with a victory here. This will be Edwards’ first career fight in Arizona.

Diaz has split his last 10 fights and is coming off a November (2019) loss to Jorge Masvidal. He is averaging 4.62 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Diaz is averaging 1.19 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 30 percent. 

Diaz is coming off a knockout loss at UFC 244 where he landed 125 total strikes and ate 114 strikes. The doctor stopped the fight in the third round due to a cut above Diaz’s eye. It was Diaz’s second career knockout loss and he hopes to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2012-13.

It’s no secret what you get with Diaz, as his cardio is at an elite level and he’s arguably the toughest fighter in the sport. Even at 36 years old, Diaz can take a clean shot and keep coming forward. He doesn’t back down from anybody and still thinks he’s one of the best in the sport. 

Diaz usually gets stronger as the fight goes on and that’s when his work rate usually increases and the bombs start flying. Diaz is also a second degree black belt in BJJ and has won four fights via the guillotine choke. 

However, Diaz hasn’t fought in a year and a half and had a three year layoff after the McGregor fight in 2016. Eventually the long layoffs have to play a role. This will be Diaz’s second career fight in Arizona.

It’s no secret why Edwards is favored as much as he is in this matchup. He’s the younger, faster fighter at this point and probably packs a stronger punch at this stage as well. Diaz is getting up there in age, hasn’t fought a ton over the last few years and is slowing down. With that said, Diaz is still a tough SOB who won’t go down easily. We’re getting plus money on this fight going the distance. I’ll take it.

Give me the over 4.5 rounds.

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Over 4.5 Rounds +110
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Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.

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