UFC Predictions: UFC 263: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori 2 predictions

Scott Newman

#3 UFC welterweight division: Nate Diaz vs. Leon Edwards

Nate Diaz has not fought in the UFC in well over a year
Nate Diaz has not fought in the UFC in well over a year

After over a year away from the UFC, UFC 263 sees the return of one of the promotion’s biggest stars in the form of Nate Diaz.

Incredibly, should he win here, there’s every chance that Stockton’s favourite son could find himself in line for the next shot at Kamaru Usman’s UFC welterweight title, too.

Leon Edwards isn’t the most bankable fighter in the 170lbs division, but it’s hard to dispute that he’s one of the best.

The native of Birmingham, UK has not lost a fight since falling to Usman back in 2015. Since that time, he’s defeated eight opponents in the UFC, including Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos.

'Rocky' has developed his skills over those years tremendously, growing from a solid kickboxer into a far better-rounded fighter with excellent wrestling in particular.

So can Edwards use the usual Diaz kryptonite plan – leg kicks, takedowns and a refusal to be sucked into a brawl – to pick up a win here?

There’s no denying that 'Rocky' has the ability to do so. After all, Diaz is essentially a two-trick pony of sorts – an excellent boxer with a venomous ground game, but one with massive holes in the other areas of his game.

But there’s always the danger – particularly in a five-round fight like this one – that Diaz will be able to talk enough trash and sucker Edwards into his own game.

And that game is a brawl that will likely see Diaz absorb some punches to deliver far more of his own, wearing his opponent out down the stretch en route to a late TKO or decision win – or a submission if his opponent shoots a desperation takedown.

Basically, this comes down to how invested Edwards is in picking up a win rather than falling into the trap that Diaz will undoubtedly set.

If he’s fully focused on gaining a shot at the UFC welterweight title, then this should be business as usual for him – particularly as Diaz is getting no younger at the age of 36.

Overall it’s a tough one to pick, because who really knows what we’ll get when Nate Diaz shows up? However, the smart money is on Edwards.

The Pick: Edwards via unanimous decision

#4 UFC 263: The Main Card

Picks in bold

UFC welterweight division: Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad

UFC light heavyweight division: Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill

#5 UFC 263: The Prelims

Picks in bold

UFC lightweight division: Drew Dober vs. Brad Riddell

UFC light heavyweight division: Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart

UFC flyweight division: Lauren Murphy vs. Joanne Calderwood

UFC featherweight division: Movsar Evloev vs. Hakeem Dawodu

UFC bantamweight division: Pannie Kianzad vs. Alexis Davis

UFC lightweight division: Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola

UFC featherweight division: Chase Hooper vs. Steven Peterson

UFC lightweight division: Fares Ziam vs. Luigi Vendramini

UFC heavyweight division: Carlos Felipe vs. Jake Collier

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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