British welterweight Leon Edwards survived a late surge to defeat veteran Nate Diaz in a bloody encounter at UFC 263 in Arizona.
The 29-year-old battled Conor McGregor’s previous rival seeking to keep within the combine for a world title shot after his final bout in March was deemed a no-contest following an unintentional eye poke on Belal Muhammad.
Birmingham-based Edwards had received his earlier eight fights and dominated Diaz with ahead strain on Saturday.
Diaz got here off the more serious because the fighters hit the ground within the third spherical, with Edwards’ punches opening up a pair of cuts on the American’s face that started gushing blood.
Edwards suffered a severe scare within the bout’s ultimate minute as Diaz related with a proper and adopted with a straight left to the jaw that knocked the Jamaica-born fighter again into the cage.
The Midlands man was swaying however Diaz couldn’t get it carried out and Edwards completed on the best facet of a 49-46 resolution from the judges.
Previous to their bout, Diaz had not been within the octagon for 18 months and had solely fought thrice since he surprised McGregor within the first of two conferences in 2016.
The defeat may spell the top of the 36-year-old’s profession, however his English opponent was not bothered about that discuss.
Edwards twice informed reporters after their battle he was trying ahead to his “world title shot” as he waits to listen to if his victory is sufficient to guarantee a rematch with reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who beat the Briton by unanimous resolution in 2015.
Edwards has beforehand mentioned he believes the end result can be completely different in the event that they had been to face off once more later this yr.
The primary occasion on the evening noticed Israel Adesanya win his rematch in opposition to Marvin Vettori by way of unanimous resolution to defend his middleweight championship.
Adesanya was dominated 50-45 winner on all three judges’ scorecards as he responded positively to his defeat to mild heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz final day out.
Within the co-main occasion flyweight Brandon Moreno executed a rear-naked choke within the third spherical to beat Deiveson Figueiredo and grow to be the primary Mexican-born champion in UFC historical past.