Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz Odds
Fan-favorite Nate Diaz makes his return to the octagon for the first time since losing the “BMF title” to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 in November 2019.
The unranked Stockton, CA native will hope to pull the biggest upset on the card against Englishman and No. 3 welterweight contender Leon Edwards, who could get a title shot against Kamaru Usman with an impressive win here.
Edwards enters off of a no-contest against Belal Muhammad in March (eye-poke), which he looked fully in control of during the early stages, but he has only completed one round in the UFC since July 2019.
Is Diaz worth a flier at a substantial underdog price, or has Edwards proven himself to be amongst the elite in the 170-pound division?
Tale of the Tape
|Record||18-3 (1 NC)||21-12|
|Avg. Fight Time||14:30||10:56|
|Weight (pounds)||170 lbs.||170 lbs.|
|Date of birth||8/25/91||4/16/85|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||2.56||4.62|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.03||3.78|
|Take Down Avg||1.35||1.19|
Even though this isn’t a title fight, this is still a five-round bout — but both men have proven themselves over the course of 25 minutes, and the length of the fight doesn’t necessarily favor either man.
Diaz has legendary cardio, and Edwards might be one of the best-conditioned fighters in the sport. He can weaponize his stamina with extended clinch and cage grappling exchanges. Though he is not a high-volume wrestler (never landed more than three takedowns in a fight), Edwards probably has the ability to put Diaz (42% takedown defense) on his back whenever he wants to.
Diaz is the superior jiu-jitsu practitioner, but Edwards has never been finished and is typically responsible whenever the fight goes. Statistically, he seems at a disadvantage against Diaz regarding potential output (-2.06 strikes landed per minute). Still, given his inside/outside style, he should control the pace and the location of this fight — and will certainly be landing the more powerful shots.
Edwards is excellent at controlling the hands and landing punches and elbows as he exits the clinch. Until he initiates those exchanges, I think he largely stays out of trouble with movement on the outside of the cage rebutting most of Nate’s pressure.
Unless he makes a positional mistake or has a mental lapse, this does seem like Edwards’ fight to lose; and frankly, it seems like matchmaking designed to hype up a favorite for a future title shot on the back of an aging veteran.
Edwards vs. Diaz Pick
In addition to his cardio, Diaz has displayed legendary durability during his remarkable UFC run. The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner has captured 15 performance bonuses in the promotion, including eight fight of the night honors.
All those memorable scraps bring many fans — in particular the type of fans who will throw some money on you as a 4-1 underdog. I’ll never talk you off of any big underdog in any fight, but I think Diaz is fairly obviously the “public dog of the week.”
From a promotional standpoint, Edwards seems like the pretty clear “A” side. Still, I don’t think there’s value on his moneyline at its current price; the line opened at -275, and my projection is closer to -500.
However, I do show value both in the fight to go the distance and on Edwards to win by decision.
I’m concerned about Nate’s ability to last five rounds — he tends to bleed aggressively, and Edwards should be able to slice him up with elbows as he exits from the clinch.
You could play the over 4.5 or bet the fight to go the distance at plus money compared to my projection at 53%, or -113. However, I prefer the value on Edwards to win by decision (projected +115) down to +130.
The Pick: Leon Edwards to win by Decision (+165, 0.5 units)
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