In the main event, Israel Adesanya defended his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori in a rematch, while Brandon Moreno defeated Deiveson Figueiredo to become the first Mexican-born champion in UFC 263 history.
In a violent fight at UFC 263 in Arizona, British welterweight Leon Edwards withstood a late charge to beat veteran Nate Diaz.
The 29-year-old fought Conor McGregor’s former foe in an attempt to stay in contention for a world championship chance after his previous fight in March was ruled a no-contest due to an inadvertent eye poke on Belal Muhammad.
Edwards, from Birmingham, had won his previous eight fights and dominated Diaz with offensive pressure on Saturday.
As the combatants collided in the third round, Diaz came out the worse, with Edwards’ blows opening up a couple of gash on the American’s face that began flowing blood.
Diaz landed with a right to the jaw and followed with a straight left to the jaw, knocking the Jamaican-born boxer back into the cage in the closing minute of the battle.
The Midlands man was wavering, but Diaz couldn’t pull it off, and Edwards finished on the right side of the judges’ 49-46 verdict.
Diaz has not fought in the cage in 18 months and has only fought three times since stunning McGregor in the first of two bouts in 2016.
The setback may mark the end of the 36-year-career, old’s but his English opponent remained unconcerned.
After their fight, Edwards told media twice that he was looking forward to his “world championship chance,” as he awaits word on whether his victory will be enough to secure a rematch with incumbent welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who defeated the Briton by unanimous decision in 2015.
Edwards has already stated that if they were to meet again later this year, the outcome would be different.
The night’s main event saw Israel Adesanya win his rematch against Marvin Vettori by the majority decision to defend his middleweight title.
Adesanya was declared the victory by unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards, following up on his previous defeat against light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
In the co-main event, flyweight Brandon Moreno defeated Deiveson Figueiredo with a rear-naked choke in the third round to become the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history.
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