Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 took place June 12 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 no-contest) and Nate Diaz (20-13) battled in a five-round welterweight contest. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view. Catch more video highlights below.
For more on Edwards vs. Diaz, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Both men come out in southpaw with Edwards taking the center to start. Diaz throws some leg kicks early but Edwards is crowding him right off the jump. Nate is comfortable on the back foot but this is a lot.
Nate clowning a bit on Edwards out of the gate, looking off and then exploding on Edwards. This is a bit weird and Edwards is not fazed by it thus far. In fact, he lands a few low kicks early and that has historically been a great weapon against Nate.
Nate taking some odd charging blitzes in but not landing anything of substance. Meanwhile, Edwards is still marching him down, so patient. Nate’s footwork is looking a little awkward, getting turned almost entirely sideface and Edwards lands a clean left hand that Nate eats well.
Now Nate gets going with a body shot and some jabs. Now Nate is coming forward and the crowd is getting into it because Nate is looking a little more confident. Edwards takes that as the queue to grapple though, clinching Diaz and forcing him to the cage. Now Leon drags Nate to the mat and takes the back but he Nate has snaked himself up and so Leon is just forced to hold here. No offense but eventually Leon is able to get back overtop Nate and he’s now riding top-turtle. Nate is moving and Leon is staying with him. He then lands a good punch but Nate is able to create space and stand up.
The round ends with Edwards landing another calf kick.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Edwards.
Edwards looked solid but Diaz actually should feel pretty good exiting that round. As his confidence built, he found out he can clearly box with Edwards and Edwards would prefer not to do that it seems. Now we’ll see if he can build on that, or if Edwards goes to the wrestling early.
Both men trying to take the center of the cage to start the second and it’s Edwards who wins the battle. And Edwards is continuing to kick the leg. Now Nate is looking for more boxing combos though and Edwards is wary. He lands a big left hand but Nate eats it without issue.
Nate again playing against the cage and Edwards lands a right hook when Nate steps in. Now Nate is pressing forward Leon is on the backfoot. Nate switching stances more now, perhaps as a result of the leg kicks from Edwards, and Diaz is having trouble finding the range against Edwards who is moving away well and landing leg kicks when able.
Nate forces an exchange and then grabs a clinch but Edwards immediately forces Diaz to the cage and once there, he’s able to get a takedown into top half-guard. Diaz looking to recompose guard but Edwards is a very good top-position grappler. Now Diaz gets a leg entanglement and almost gets a sweep! Edwards is able to slip out though and back on the feet, Edwards lands a big leg kick that hurts Diaz.
Now Diaz is turning his back almost entirely to Edwards, trying to goad him but Leon ain’t biting. Nate lands a good left hand though and Edwards fires back. Edwards is starting to brawl a little more here and that’s exactly what he wants. Now Diaz forces a clinch and backs Edwards to the cage but it’s short lived and the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Edwards, 20-18 Edwards overall.
Edwards is in control of this fight but this is where Diaz theoretically had the advantage: as the fight wore on. Now in the third, Edwards has started to engage in Diaz’s fight more and so maybe Nate can make something happen.
Edwards brings heat to start the third though! Throwing two haymakers and a massive elbow. Nate remains Nate though and Edwards settles down, landing a pair of low kicks. Nate takes that as a sign to move forward and he does so, clinching Edwards against the cage. This is where Diaz wants to start getting offense off.
Edwards stays defensive and he’s able to break off and now he’s the lead. Short-lived though as Nate is back to pressuring and again we have a clinch. Edwards turn him though and then slips to Diaz’s back before dragging him down. Edwards in top half position and chipping in with elbows and punches.
Edwards is able to make more things happen now though, posturing up and landing a big elbow that busts Diaz’s head wide open. Diaz is bleeding profusely from a cut on the side of his head and over his left eyebrow. Nate flexing and not caring but two cuts is not a great sign for him.
Diaz coming forward now but eats a big leg kick and Edwards clinches and gets to the back again. Nate keeping his feet but he’s about to be down three rounds as Edwards takes him down again. Now, Diaz is rolling on a leg but Edwards is wise to it and he takes Diaz’s back. Diaz is bleeding A LOT. His left eye looks like a nightmare and that’s gonna be checked between rounds.
Diaz gets back to his feet and Edwards lands a spinning back elbow just before the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Edwards, 30-27 Edwards overall.
The cutman does a pretty good job on Nate between rounds but he needs something big at this point. He’s trying for it though as Nate is coming forward more urgently now and he’s firing bigger shots. Not much landing clean though and Edwards is consistently getting the better of it.
Edwards lands a clean left hand that looks like it wobbles Nate for a moment and now it’s Edwards he gives some showmanship in there. More leg kicks and Edwards’ counter right hand is also tagging Nate when Nate steps in.
Edwards hits a sneaky trip on Nate but let’s him stand back up and Nate nods in appreciation of that bit of fun. Monster left hand lands for Leon but Nate is Nate. He just shakes it off. Now Nate is looking a bit more defeated though as his left eye is closing. He’s moving away a ton now.
Edwards barely missed with a left elbow that could have felled a tree and it’s clear that Edwards is now looking to make a statement. Diaz tags Edwards with a good straight though and forces a clinch. That doesn’t pan out though and back at space, Edwards looking extremely comfortable, allowing Nate to come in and then swinging heavy counters back. Like that one that just busted the cut on Nate’s head open again.
Another monster left hand lands clean and Edwards is starting to put a statement performance together. Nate still tough as nails but he’s got nothing for Leon at this point.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Edwards, 40-36 Edwards.
The final round is upon us and Edwards’ corner couldn’t be more pleased with his performance. As they should be. This has been stellar and Nate needs a miracle to win this one. Edwards looks fresh as a daisy to start the fifth though so that may not be coming.
Edwards is dialed in and takes the leg out from underneath Diaz against to start the round. Nate coming forward with urgency though and he gets a clinch. Edwards gets out quickly and lands a big left hand as Nate lunges in again. That left hand has been money all night.
Nate keeps ducking in for a body shot and Edwards is timing it for a counter left hand but he’s head hunting a bit. And Nate makes him pay with a left hand that stings Edwards! Now Nate is marching forward and he’s in a clinch and looking to take Edwards down. That might not be a great idea as that was the best offense Nate has had all fight.
Edwards holding on in the clinch but finally spins out and now Edwards is leading the dance. Two minutes left and he clips Nate again with a left but Nate lands a good one of his own. The two come together and Edwards snaps Diaz’s head up with an uppercut but he cannot hurt Diaz. Nate starting to talk And NATE LANDS A HUGE LEFT HAND! EDWARDS IS ON SKATES AND NATE IS COMING FORWARD. COMBOS FROM NATE AND EDWARDS IS IN FULL SURVIVAL. NATE CANNOT FIND THE MARK AND EDWARDS IS CLINCHING AND HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE. DIAZ BREAKINF AND PUNCHING AND HE CANNOT GET THE FINISH!!!!! EDWARDS SURVIVES TO THE FINAL BELL.
MMA Fighting score the round 10-8 Diaz, 48-46 Edwards overall.
Leon Edwards defeats Nate Diaz by unanimous decision (49-46).