Tag Archives: Leon Edwards

UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2 – Main card predictions

The UFC heads to Utah for a huge welterweight showdown as Kamaru Usman defenders his 170-pound crown against Leon Edwards in the main event.

The two fight for a second time, with neither fighter suffering defeat since the first showing back in 2015 and are supported by an undercard including Paulo Costa, Luke Rockhold, Jose Aldo, Merab Dvalishvili, Alexandr Romanov, Miranda Maverick and more.

Last time out at UFC San Diego we went 8/13 with three perfect picks to move to 698/1082 (64.51%) with 295 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that now and after starting with the early prelims, here are the rest of our prelims picks.


Tyson Pedro (8-3) vs Harry Hunsucker (7-5) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

If anyone can explain why this happening at all, never mind on the main card of a pay-per-view, then they’re better than me. Pedro returned from over three years out through injury with a first-round KO of Ike Villanueva back in April, while Hunsucker has lost three of his last four and got starched in under two minutes by both Tai Tuivasa (UFC Vegas 22) and Justin Tafa in his most recent fight.

Pedro looked great on his return and showed tremendous cardio, as well as explosive power with his kicks and hands to earn a knockout. Hunsucker is a guy who likes to stand in the middle and trade strikes, but doesn’t have the chin to stand there with the UFC calibre of fighter, never mind Pedro.

This is a weird fight because they’re galaxies apart in terms of ability, but also because of it’s placement on the card. Pedro blasts him with low kicks and combinations down the pipe to earn another knockout win and put an end to Hunsucker’s UFC run.
PICK – Tyson Pedro via Knockout, Round 1

Wu Yanan (12-5) vs Lucie Pudilova (13-7) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun woman’s bantamweight scrap that got shifted to the main card on late notice. Yanan has lost her last three in a row, dropping decisions to Mizuki Inoue, Joselyne Edwards and Mayra Bueno Silva. Pudilova alternatively has won her last two in a row and makes her second UFC debut in this one.

Yanan is a striker with good movement who looks to stick and move throughout the fight, while Pudilova is a more powerful striker who likes to step forward and apply pressure on her opponent. Yanan likes to try and set up strikes by changing direction, but her distinct lack of power and the fact she gets hit quite a lot certainly doesn’t help.

Pudilova isn’t the most powerful either but she is definitely more powerful than Yanan. She’s the slightly bigger woman of the two and could use that to wear on Yanan throughout, but expect her to land the more noticeable strikes with a bit more power to claim a win on the scorecards on her return to the octagon.
PICK – Lucie Pudilova via Decision

Jose Aldo (31-7) vs Merab Dvalishvili (14-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

An incredible fight in the bantamweight division up next. Featherweight GOAT and title contender Jose Aldo has won his last three in a row with decisions against Marlon Vera (UFC Vegas 17), Pedro Munhoz (UFC 265) and most recently Rob Font (UFC Vegas 44). Merab is on a seven-fight win streak, including a stunning comeback win against Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 most recently.

Aldo is one of the very best strikers in UFC history, with terrific boxing and terrifying low kicks but he also has some of the best takedown defence ever and a elite ground game that he rarely ever has to use. Merab on the other hand is one of the most dominant wrestlers in the UFC, with the most takedowns in bantamweight division history and a ridiculous cardio that means he can seemingly go for forever. That is arguably his biggest avenue to victory here, because we’ve seen Aldo tire out in the past later in fights.

On the feet Aldo has a clear and dominant advantage, but if he looks to wrestle in any way at any time then he faces getting absolutely smashed. Merab will almost certainly take the centre and shoot relentlessly for 15 minutes. His success on the first two attempts will say a lot, but he also must avoid being hit clean because we’ve already seen Moraes hurt him last time out too. This is a super hard fight to call, but I think the cardio and grappling of Merab will eventually take it’s toll on the 35-year-old Aldo and claim him a tight decision win.
PICK – Merab Dvalishvili via Decision



Paulo Costa (13-2) vs Luke Rockhold (16-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A crazy fight in the co-main event at this stage of their careers. Costa was an undefeated behemoth before suffering a KO defeat against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253, before getting wrestled to death by Marvin Vettori in October after missing weight by 20lbs and watching the fight get moved up to light heavyweight in advance because of it. Rockhold has been knocked out cold in his last two fights by Yoel Romeo and Jan Blachowicz. This is his first fight in over three years.

Costa is a powerhouse who walks forward and blasts incredible combinations to the body and head while trying to take your head off, while also possessing a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt – although we’ve never seen him use it in the Octagon. Rockhold is a tremendous kickboxer with great power too, and he arguably has some of the best top position work in the entire UFC as well as great jiu-jitsu himself. Both guys have a huge problem in this fight though.

Costa is obviously going to have issues making weight, and that’s a big problem. The Brazilian literally couldn’t do it last time out, but is looking to do it again here and if he does make it, there will be a question mark around how compromised he is. Rockhold’s is his glass jaw. It will be tested in this fight, without a doubt. Unfortunately for him, after three years out, I highly doubt it has improved. Costa walks him down and turns the lights out on his MMA career early doors, despite the likely difficult weight cut.
PICK – Paulo Costa via Knockout, Round 1

Kamaru Usman (20-1) vs Leon Edwards (19-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The two best welterweight fighters in the entire world go head to head for the welterweight title of the world. Usman has defended his title five times with knockout and decision wins over Jorge Masvidal (UFC 251 & UFC 261) and Colby Covington (UFC 268) each, as well as a knockout over Gilbert Burns too (UFC 258). Edwards is on a ten-fight unbeaten streak with a no contest against Belal Muhammad in a fight he was dominating being followed up with a dominant win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263.

Usman is probably the best wrestler in the UFC right now, but his striking game has elevated in recent years and seen him develop great power in his strikes too. Edwards is a brilliant striker with great accuracy, technical ability and speed, with a wrestling game that has improved ten-fold since defeat to Usman back in 2015. Both guys have improved tremendously and this is a really tough fight to call because both are so good in all disciplines.

But there is one thing that stands out, and that’s a Joe Rogan quote about wrestling, when he said that there’s only so much you can learn against someone who has a “lifetime” of it. That’s the situation Edwards finds himself in. Usman has fallen in love with his hands of late, and Edwards is more than good enough to make him pay for that. But Usman has the ability to dictate where this fight takes place, and if it’s going wrong I expect him to wrestle and control Edwards on the ground for long periods to claim a close decision and break the record for most consecutive wins in UFC history.
PICK – Kamaru Usman via Decision

Major UFC fights announced for coming months

The UFC have been busy planning some big fights for the coming weeks and months.

Title fights, fight night main events, contender bouts, rumoured scraps in the pipeline and more have all been mentioned over recent weeks so here’s the big round-up for everyone that needs it.

Starting with April’s pay-per-view opener, we’ll list off all the fights that have been officially announced or rumoured for cards going through the summer so far.



UFC 273 takes place on April 9th after a two-week break in action with a big title-fight double header.

Already announced is the headliner between Alexander Volkanovski v Korean Zombie for the featherweight title, while Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan will finally meet in their rematch for the bantamweight title.

But we will also see the return of Khamzat Chimaev as he takes on Gilbert Burns in a bout that UFC president Dana White has admitted will serve as a title eliminator bout in the welterweight division.

The following week will see another welterweight clash serve as the main event in the Apex, as Vicente Luque takes on Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 51.

Down at 135-pounds at the end of April we’ll see a top contender bout between Rob Font and Marlon Vera battle in the main event of UFC Vegas 53, before UFC 274 takes place from Phoenix, Arizona.

Originally scheduled to be in Brazil, we’ll now get the 155-pound title fight between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje in the headline slot in Gaethje’s home state, while Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza will meet in their long-anticipated rematch for the strawweight title in the co-main event.

We’ll also see an amazing lightweight bout between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson on that card, as well as a stack of other amazing fights.

The following week the UFC is targeting the rescheduled main event from the UFC Columbus card in the light heavyweight division between Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic, as well as a fun fight between Katlyn Chookagian and Amanda Ribas.

Then at UFC 275 the delayed light heavyweight title fight between Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka will take place, while ‘Bullet’ Valentina Shevchenko will fight Taila Santos for the flyweight championship in the co-main event.

We’ll also see the return of Robert Whittaker at that event, as he is scheduled to take on Marvin Vettori in the middleweight division to get back on the title trail once again.

Dana White has also confirmed that the organisation are expecting welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to return in the summer, and he has promised the next title fight to British fighter Leon Edwards with the target aimed for international fight week in July.

It’s a great year coming up, so keep your eyes on Tap Ins & Tap Outs for coverage of all these events coming up.

Fights to make in 2022 – Dustin Poirier vs Leon Edwards

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.



Two fighters who most UFC fans would say deserve a title around their waist at some point in their careers are Dustin Poirier and Leon Edwards.

Poirier has had two attempts and been submitted via rear-naked choke both times, while Edwards is yet to get his shot at the gold strap on the biggest stage of them all.

But with the way 2021 went for them both, they could well meet each other in a fight that nobody would have expected just a few months ago.

Poirier opened 2021 with a monumental knockout win over Conor McGregor at UFC 257, before he then capped the trilogy with yet another stoppage win over ‘Notorious’ at UFC 264.

It ended however at UFC 269 when he faced off against Charles Oliveira and suffered defeat, which made him publicly question his desire to return to the weight class in the future.

He did however react positively to a potential welterweight bout with Nate Diaz early in 2022, which got me thinking about how he’d do at 170-pounds.

In a division full of killers, Poirier’s skills stand up alongside anyone but would make for a brilliant fight against Edwards.

‘Rocky’ had a decent 2021, finally getting back into the octagon only for the fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 to end in a no contest. He then followed that up with a highly impressive win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263, before a fight with Jorge Masvidal fell out at the end of the year.

The state of the welterweight division means that he is likely the next title challenger, but if Kamaru Usman is successful in retaining his title then a big bout between Poirier and Edwards could be the perfect remedy.

A win for Poirier over one of the top contenders in a new weight class puts him straight into contention for a title shot, while a win for Edwards against a name like Poirier puts him straight back into the mix too.

Stylistically, both fighters are expert strikers with a solid wrestling base and grappling skills too. It would be an all-action affair that could easily headline a card or feature on a pay-per-view too.

It would be an amazing fight between two guys who deserve their plaudits as the best in the world, but with a new weight class mixed in too there is added intrigue and drama for fans to enjoy.

Make it happen, Uncle Dana!

Jorge Masvidal withdraws from Leon Edwards fight at UFC 269

One of the most hotly anticipated fights of the year is off after Jorge Masvidal withdrew from his bout with Leon Edwards at UFC 269.

The two were finally set to meet up after years of back and forth following a backstage brawl between them at UFC London back in 2019.

The bout was set to take place at UFC 269, alongside Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena and Dustin Poirier challenging Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title.



However the UFC have now confirmed that ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal has suffered an undisclosed injury in the build up to the fight and been forced to withdraw from the bout.

It is unclear if the UFC is looking to keep Edwards on the card with a late replacement, but the Briton seems as though he has turned his attentions to a title shot against Kamaru Usman now.

Edwards is on a ten-fight unbeaten run, with nine wins in a row disrupted only by a no-contest against Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 due to an accidental eye poke in a fight he was dominating.

Usman is reportedly interested in a bout happening in the future, having cleaned out the rest of the division. Edwards’ last defeat came against the now-champion back in 2015 via a unanimous decision.

After yet another victory over Colby Covington at UFC 268 last weekend, Usman is now looking for new contenders and Edwards could prove to be just that.

Others have thrown their name in the hat to be a late replacement for Masvidal though, with both Khamzat Chimaev and Muhammad again looking to make a match-up against the Birmingham native.

Edwards commented on his official Twitter account after the news broke calling Masvidal a ‘fraud’ and claiming he never expected the fight to happen.

Masvidal’s withdrawal comes just days after Covington called him out following his UFC 268 defeat, claiming he should pull out of the fight so they can run it back.

It seems ‘Chaos’ may have gotten his wish…

UFC 269 full card and location revealed

The UFC have announced the full card and location for their final pay-per-view event of 2021.

The card had been rumoured to have three title fights at one point, but the UFC last week announced that one of those had been moved to January 2022 at UFC 270.

But during UFC Vegas 40 on Saturday evening, the organisation officially announced the full card for the event on December 11th will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it is STACKED!



The card will officially be headlined by the lightweight championship bout between undisputed champion Charles Oliveira defending for the first time against Dustin Poirier.

Oliveira won the title at UFC 262 in May with a stunning second-round knockout win over Michael Chandler after almost being knocked out himself in the first round.

He’ll take on Poirier, who many believe to be the best 155lbs-er in the world currently and is coming off consecutive stoppage wins over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and UFC 264.

Dustin Poirier punches Conor McGregor of Ireland in their welterweight fight during the UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las...

The co-main event will see Amanda Nunes return to the octagon to defend her bantamweight title, when she takes on Julianna Pena in their rescheduled fight from UFC 265 after it was cancelled when the champion tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunes is on an incredible 12-fight win streak with eight finishes in that run, including a reverse triangle armbar win over Megan Anderson at UFC 259 in March.

Pena on the other hand is 2-2 in her last four fights and earned a win over Sara McMann via rear-naked choke last time out to earn the fight.

Elsewhere on the card, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal will finally settle their differences in the cage when they meet in the welterweight division.

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Edwards is on a ten-fight unbeaten streak (9 wins, 1 no contest) and most recently dominated against Nate Diaz at UFC 263. Masvidal is coming off consecutive title fight defeats to Kamaru Usman, including a brutal knockout loss at UFC 261.

The two have had a heated rivalry for several years now after a backstage altercation at UFC London led to Masvidal punching Edwards in the face and causing a cut under his eye.

Cody Garbrandt will also be on the main card making his flyweight debut when he takes on Kai Kara-France. Garbrandt snapped a three-fight with a brilliant knockout win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250, but then got dominated by Rob Font last time out in May.

Rounding off the main card, Sean O’Malley returns to take on the supremely talented Raulian Paiva in the bantamweight division. The fight is a chance for ‘Suga’ to enter the rankings before 2022, with Paiva currently the number 15 bantamweight in the UFC.

On the prelims, you’ll be able to Dominick Cruz vs Pedro Munhoz, Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio, Andre Muniz vs Dricus Du Plessis, Maycee Barber vs Erin Blanchfield as well as Gillian Robertson, Alex Perez and Ryan Hall too!

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FULL UFC 269 CARD

Charles Oliveira (c) vs Dustin Poirier – Lightweight
Amanda Nunes (c) vs Julianna Pena – Bantamweight
Leon Edwards vs Jorge Masvidal – Welterweight
Kai Kara-France vs Cody Garbrandt – Flyweight
Raulian Paiva vs Sean O’Malley – Bantamweight

Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio – Welterweight
Pedro Munhoz vs Dominick Cruz – Bantamweight
Andre Muniz vs Dricus Du Plessis – Middleweight
Maycee Barber vs Erin Blanchfield – Flyweight
Alex Perez vs Matt Schnell – Flyweight
Ryan Hall vs Darrick Minner – Featherweight
Gillian Robertson vs Priscilla Cachoeira – Flyweight
Randy Costa vs Tony Kelley – Bantamweight

Leon Edwards to fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC 269

The UFC have finally announced that Leon Edwards will face Jorge Masvidal before the end of the year as they look to settle their feud at UFC 269.

‘Rocky’ and ‘Gamebred’ have been in a war ever since the UFC London card back in March 2019, when both men picked up a win over Darren Till and Gunnar Nelson respectively on the night.

They’ll now finally get to settle their differences in the cage after nearly three years of going back and forth on social media, with a three-round bout in December.



Edwards, who has a professional record of 19-3, is unbeaten since a decision defeat to current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman back in 2015 and is currently riding a ten-fight unbeaten streak (nine wins, one no-contest).

His last bout was a hugely impressive five-round decision win over Nate Diaz back in June at UFC 263, just two months after Masvidal suffered his second consecutive defeat to Usman in a 170lbs title shot at UFC 261.

It was the first time in Masvidal’s career that he had been knocked out, with Usman shutting his lights out in the second round. The two defeats snapped a three-fight win streak for Masvidal, starting when he knocked out Till in London.

UFC Fight Night 147: Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards brawl, fight

That night the war between Edwards and Masvidal began backstage, when Edwards interrupted the Miami native while he was doing a post-fight interview.

Masvidal approached Edwards and attacked him, landing the now infamous “three piece and a sofa” which left Edwards with a cut under his eye.

The rivalry has been brewing ever since, with Masvidal not wanting to give Edwards any air-time while Edwards was left on the shelf for two years due to the pandemic.

They will finally now get it on in a three-round welterweight bout on the same card just a month after Usman defends his title again against Colby Covington.

A win for Edwards will surely earn him his first title shot, while a win for Masvidal will put him back on track for title contention – although he will certainly need more than just the one victory to get another shot at the belt.

UFC 269 will take place on December 11th in a location yet to be confirmed. The card will be headlined by a UFC lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, while Amanda Nunes will take on Julianna Pena in the co-main event for the women’s bantamweight title.

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Carlos Felipe def Jake Collier via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Good start to the fight from Collier as he uses his speed and volume to land early on Felipe. Felipe starts to walk forward and throws some wild hooks but Collier ducks them and throws a spinning back fist that just misses. Felipe takes the centre and starts working the body, and lands a few left hands too that stumble Collier backwards. Hard leg kicks from Collier as they throw down in the middle for the round to come to an end. 10-9 Felipe.

Second round starts and Felipe comes forward much more aggressive than the opening round, walking Collier down and testing his gas tank. Felipe landing big left hooks to the body and working Collier out, stepping forward and bobbing and weaving before throwing big one-twos. Collier’s leg kicks keep landing but Felipe doesn’t care and keeps going forward. More big punches land and he’s showboating despite a close round. 19-19.

Final round and Felipe is pushing forward again while Collier backs up exhausted. Felipe lands some nice body shots again and then starts going upstairs with some big strikes. Felipe lands a big left hand and Collier is rocked, then gets clocked twice more. Collier shoots for a takedown but Felipe sprawls, then gets up and lands some stiff jabs. Collier keeps checking the clock but Felipe is marching him down and throwing heavy shots in the pocket with 30 seconds to go. Collier lands a nice body shot followed by a kick but Felipe should get the nod. 29-28.

Fares Ziam def Luigi Vendramini via Majority Decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)

Great start to the fight from Ziam as he takes the centre of the cage and immediately starts flicking out the jab, landing flush on the nose of Vendarmini. Vendramini goes for a takedown but Ziam keeps it standing and immediately steps back to get his distance back. Lots of feints from Ziam and the jab is landing perfectly for the whole round. 10-9 Ziam.

Second round starts with more of the same, but this time Vendramini steps forward too and clinches up looking for a takedown. Ziam completely refuses to be taken down though and just pushes him off and starts landing the jab again. Ziam throws a hard leg kick but it gets partially checked and then Vendramini goes in for a deep takedown but Ziam throws him off and carries on striking to control the fight once more. 20-18.

Third round and Vendramini comes out heavy, throwing big bombs and he drops Ziam! He pushes forward and lands big strikes and eventually gets on top with ground and pound. Ziam trying to slow Vendramini down a little but he keeps going and lands some heavy strikes. Big elbows from full mount and he does brilliantly but Ziam stays calm off his back and eventually gets back up to his feet. Vendramini keeps pushing but he can’t get it done and Ziam should take the decision.

Steven Peterson def Chase Hooper via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Strong start from Peterson as he comes flying out of the gate looking for an early knockout and tags Hooper hard with a right hand. Hard pressure from Peterson as he pressure forward, before Hooper looks to pull guard. Peterson throws huge elbows and Hooper looks hurt but he gets back to his feet. Hooper eventually pulls guard and starts fishing for submissions, including a heel hook, but Peterson stays calm and rides it out. 10-9 Peterson.

Peterson steps forward and looks for the early power again but just misses with a big right hand. Hooper looking to bring the fight to the ground again but Peterson doing well to control the range so far and overpowering Hooper as it goes so far. Peterson eventually takes over and controls from the top position, riding out from the top and sees out the round. 20-18.

Peterson steps out strong and lands a big right hand early in the third round. He closes the distance and starts making it ugly, throwing nice kicks and then clinching and dragging Hooper to the ground. He lands a few strikes from the top then goes for a head and arm choke. Hooper denies it and takes the back with 70 seconds to go but he’s not able to get it done and Peterson should take the fight.

Terrance McKinney def Matt Frevola via Knockout, Round 1 (0:07)

McKinney comes out and lands a one-two and Frevola is out!!! OH MY GOD!! TERRANCE MCKINNEY!!!

Pannie Kianzad def Alexis Davis via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

A fun stand up battle in the first round, with both women standing in the pocket and exchanging good strikes. Kianzad standing her ground and landing well with her jab and right cross while Davis is landing her jab well. Both women have cuts but Kianzad is landing the more accurate strikes and takes the round. 10-9 Kianzad.

Second round is more of the same as Kianzad throws that right hand more and more. Both women trading in the pocket but Davis is starting to land cleaner on the nose. Kianzad follows up with some big strikes and the jab landing clean too, but Murphy starting to throw some nice leg kicks too. Pretty even round could go either way, I edge it to Kianzad.

Final round and Davis is landing her jab well and throwing the leg kicks more often too. Kianzad is backing up a lot more than she was in the first but is firing back on Davis’ jab with combinations. Davis’ jab is landing perfectly now on the nose of Kianzad but she’s getting caught with counter straights. Both women strike throughout the 15 minutes and it’s a close call regardless. 29-28 Kianzad for me but could go either way.

PRELIMS

Movsar Evloev def Hakeem Dawodu via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x3)

Evloev opens up with a big overhand right that lands, but Dawodu does well to take it. Both men trade a few jabs before Evloev decides he’s had enough of that and goes for the takedown. Dawodu defends it well but eventually Evloev just picks Dawodu up and slams him down on the mat. Evloev then takes Dawodu’s back and looks for rear naked chokes and ground and pound strikes for the remainder. 10-9.

Evloev comes out early on again, ducks a big strike and gets a beautiful takedown immediately. Transitions to the back immediately once again and starts really piling on the pressure. He starts looking for submissions again but Dawodu defending them well, so he switches to ground and pound from Dawodu’s back and is really battering him.

Dawodu and Evloev start a bit slower in this round but Dawodu is able to keep the fight standing early on. Evloev

Lauren Murphy def Joanne Calderwood via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Murphy comes out aggressive and uses her size well, landing well out of the gate. Calderwood starts mixing up her attacks, throwing leg kicks, body kicks, body punches and head strikes well. Murphy stepping forward and using her boxing, then steps in for a clinch. She uses her strength well against the cage and lands a nice knee, but Calderwood throws the spinning back-fist and lands it well. Very close round, I lean 10-9 to Calderwood.

Strong start to the second round from Murphy as she lands the jab well early on and then shoots in for a takedown and gets it brilliantly! Murphy ties up both legs and gets wrist control, keeping Calderwood on her side with one arm to defend and starts throwing some nice ground and pound. Murphy dominates the entire round on top and could potentially have it as a 10-8. Super close fight.

Murphy comes out with a hard punch but misses and Calderwood starts picking her off from range once again using her kicks and striking again. Murphy starting to look for takedowns again but Calderwood defending them well and landing decent strikes from distance. Murphy keeps coming though and they end the round in a straight scrap. Great fight, very close.

Eryk Anders def Darren Stewart via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27)

Slow start to this one from both guys as Stewart takes the centre but lots of feints and hesitation from both guys. Anders throws a left straight that misses and then they go against the cage, with Stewart tying him up in a clinch to a stalemate. Stewart lands a big knee to the body and then changes levels and gets a nice trip to get top position on the ground. Stewart maintains wrist control and holds the position until the end of the round. Not the best round. 10-9 Stewart.

Second round and it’s much more of the same from both guys. Anders misses a left hand and the two clinch up against the cage for about two minutes before the referee steps in and separates them. Anders goes for a takedown but Stewart defends it well and they end up back in the same position. Anders trying to up the pressure but Stewart defending well and the round ends. 19-19 maybe?

Final round and Stewart comes out light on his feet with a couple of leg kicks before changing levels and securing a takedown on Anders. Anders manages to switch the position and ends up on top almost immediately though and finds himself in side control. Anders starts throwing some ground and pound and controlling the position well. Big ground and pound shots hurt Stewart as he tries to get up against the side of the cage but he survives until the buzzer. 29-28 Anders for me but all lays on that second round.

Brad Riddell def Drew Dober via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Very quick start to this one from Riddell as he opens with a big left hand followed by a leg kick that rattles Dober’s balance. Both men swing some big hooks that just miss and then Dober lands a stiff jab and a left straight right behind it that drops him! Dober looks for a finish but Riddell shoots and stalls for long enough on the legs to recover. Riddell lands a huge right hand that sees him step backwards, then lands it flush over and over as the round ends. Great round, 10-9 either way.

Second round and Riddell is looking for that right hand early once again. Dober eats a couple but then fires back with some big straights and lands flush on the nose! Riddell shoots for a takedown to recover but Dober sprawls and steps away. Riddell lands a big right hand again and then Dober shoots in for a takedown but they scramble to a stalemate. Riddell lands a few big shots and Dober replies as the round ends. What a fight. This scorecard could be anything.

Final round and Riddell lands a huge right hand early on that rocks Dober. Riddell lands a couple more heavy strikes but Dober steps away and recovers. Some big body kicks by Riddell force Dober to look for a takedown but Riddell defends it perfectly. Riddell lands a huge right hand that staggers Dober with 30 seconds to go and he goes in for the finish! Big ground and pound as Dober dives in for a takedown. Riddell sweeps him and ends the round on top raining down punches. What a fight!

MAIN CARD

Paul Craig def Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 1 (1:59)

Slow start for Hill as he takes the centre before Craig grabs hold of him and pulls guard early on. Craig has an overhook on the arm while he’s on his back and he’s torquing on it badly. Craig rolls through and snaps Hill’s arm but the referee doesn’t wave it off! Craig goes for elbows to the head of a defenceless Hill and the referee finally steps in to end it. What a performance.

*TRIGGER WARNING*

Belal Muhammad def Demian Maia via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Interesting start to the round as Muhammad looks to take the centre of the octagon but stay out of range of Maia’s takedown attempts. Maia shoots in for a takedown and gets the single leg but Muhammad gets himself against the cage and defends it brilliantly for around one minute before escaping. Maia goes in for three more takedown shots during the rest of the round but Muhammad defends them all perfectly, but will likely lose the round. 10-9 Maia.

Second round and Muhammad is closing the distance better and landing some nice jabs on the feet. He’s gained confidence from stopping all the takedowns in the first and is stepping forward, landing his right hand cleaner as Maia starts to tire. Nice jabs and he defends another takedown to see out the round. 19-19.

Maia starts the final round with another single leg takedown attempt but Muhammad denies him once again and then staggers him with a nice right hand. Maia continues to look for a single leg takedown but Muhammad just denies it once more and lands a few jabs to seal the round for himself.

Leon Edwards def Nate Diaz via Unanimous Decision (49-46 x3)

Slow start to the fight from both guys as they both feel each other out early on. Edwards throws some hard leg kicks that land while Diaz starts showboating and teasing his opponent. Edwards closes the distance and they clinch up, before he dumps Diaz down and transitions to his back to threaten a submission. Diaz defends the position and they see out the round squaring off on the feet. 10-9 Edwards.

Second round and Edwards staying composed, pushing a good pace landing some leg kicks. Diaz playing some mind games but Edwards clinches up and gets him down again. Edwards controlling Diaz totally and landing elbows and strikes at will so far. Dominant round, 20-18.

Edwards dominant again during the third as he steps forward and lands the jab well. Edwards gets another takedown from the clinch and starts to control from the top. Huge elbow gets through and opens up a big cut, then he starts looking for the finish but Diaz survives it. 30-27.

Fourth round and Edwards is just too big and strong at this point. Hard leg kicks have forced Diaz to switch stances but Edwards pouring on the pressure. Diaz is tiring and getting caught with big wild hooks as Edwards starts going for the finish. Diaz tries to come forward with strikes of his own but he’s not hitting many. 40-36 Edwards.

Final round and it’s more of the same. Edwards closing the distance and landing hard leg kicks with elbows following in behind. Diaz is getting hit but still standing and still coming forward. Diaz throws a Stockton slap and follows with a left hand that wobbles Edwards! Diaz points instead of going for the kill, then steps in and starts swinging wildly. Edwards survives, just, and takes the win.

Brandon Moreno def Deiveson Figueiredo via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (2:26)

Tense start to the fight from Figueiredo as Moreno steps in nice and sharp with jabs and a heavy leg kick. Moreno is stiffing the jab right down Figueiredo’s throat, not allowing him to close the distance. Lots of hard jabs and Figueiredo struggling to get going so far. Moreno lands a big left hook that drops Figueiredo! He goes for the kill but Figueiredo stalls on the ground for long enough and the buzzer goes. 10-9 Moreno.

Second round and Figueiredo comes out harder than the first and just misses with a huge hook. Moreno transitions with some good strikes and then takes the back of Figueiredo. Figueiredo manages to turn to his back but the rest of the round is spent with Moreno on top dominating. 20-18.

Third round and Figueiredo still looks gun shy still. Moreno steps forward again and manages to secure a trip to put the fight on the ground. Moreno quickly transitions to the back, gets both hooks in and then locks in a body triangle. Figueiredo starts fighting the hands as Moreno moves to sink in a rear-naked choke. He switches grips, tightens it and Figueiredo taps! NEW CHAMPION!!

Israel Adesanya def Marvin Vettori via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x3)

Lots of nervous energy at the start of this fight. Low kicks from Adesanya and one immediately gets caught by Vettori who takes him down. Adesanya backs himself up against the cage and gets back to the feet very quickly. Adesanya presses the action and starts landing some big low kicks again, before defending another takedown attempt. Nice strikes and some good kicks. 10-9 Izzy.

Second round and Adesanya is very confident now. Still throwing lots of kicks and damaging the legs of Vettori and not being hesitant. Vettori steps forward but can’t get close enough and the kicks are really adding up now. Adesanya dominating on the feet, 20-18.

Third round and Vettori charges across the octagon and gets a big takedown. He transitions to the back and goes for the rear naked choke, and almost locks it up but Adesanya is able to spin into his guard and lands a nice elbow. He stands back up and spends the rest of the round piecing Vettori up with the leg attacks and right uppercut.

Fourth round and it’s more of the same from Adesanya, who is staying at distance and just completely dominant. Plenty of leg kicks again and some big right hands landing, while Vettori looks for a double jab into a takedown. Adesanya denies everything and keeps landing. Easy work so far. 40-36.

Final round and Vettori wants the takedown but he can’t get it. Adesanya is too strong and quick, landing heavy leg kicks and still looking for the uppercut. Vettori pushing for the takedown again but just stalling against the cage as Adesanya holds him up and denies it. Lots of tussling but more stalling and eventually they separate. Adesanya lands a head kick and some more right hands and this one is over. 50-45 Izzy, dominant performance.

UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2 – Main card predictions

Another blockbuster pay-per-view card is upon us as UFC 263 finally lands on our TV screens from Arizona as Israel Adesanya returns to the octagon to defend his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori.

It’s a highly anticipated rematch at 185lbs after the two previously met in 2018, with Adesanya getting the nod in a split decision. But after defeat last time out at light heavyweight, Vettori now has the blueprint to victory and will look to execute it to become the new champion.

In the co-main event the flyweight title will be on the line as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in their rematch from UFC 256. After the first fight ended in a draw, Figueiredo will be targeting an early finish in this one to put a stamp on his title reign.

We also have a historic fight on the main card, as Leon Edwards gets a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz in the first ever non-title, five-round bout not headlining the card.

Last week at UFC Vegas 28 we went 7/11 with three perfect picks to move to 328/516 (63.57%) with 142 perfect picks (43.29%).

We’ll look to improve on that with these 14 fights, and after predicting the early prelims here and the rest of the prelims here, here are our main card picks.


Paul Craig (14-4-1) vs Jamahal Hill (8-0 1NC) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An intriguing 205lbs bout between submission specialist Paul Craig and power puncher Jamahal Hill. Craig has won his last two in a row, submitting Gadzhimurad Antigulov at UFC Fight Island 3 before KO’ing Shogun Rua at UFC 255. Hill got a big knockout win over Ovince Saint-Preux at UFC 255 last time out to remain unbeaten.

This is a real style vs style fight, as Craig is a horrible striker with brilliant jiu-jitsu skills from his back while Hill is a man who can probably knock out anyone in the division right now. He’s got brilliant range, uses kicks, punches and pressure and his power holds up late on too and unless Craig pulls off something sneaky, this one just seems too much for him to overcome.
PICK – Jamahal Hill via Knockout, Round 2

Demian Maia (28-10) vs Belal Muhammad (18-3 1NC) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A passing of the guard at welterweight is on the cards here as 43-year-old Demian Maia takes on ‘Remember The Name’ Belal Muhammad. Maia got knocked out by Gilbert Burns in his last fight, while Muhammad got a win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258 before his fight with Leon Edwards ended in a no-contest after an eye poke.

Maia is one of the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioners in UFC history, with 50% of his career wins coming via submission. Muhammad is a volume striker, who can mix in some good wrestling too to rack up top control for victories too. If he’s to win this one though, he will look to keep it on the feet. Muhammad’s pace is great and his striking is miles ahead of Maia’s, but the Brazilian’s chances of winning lie strictly on the mat. If he can’t get him there, which I don’t think he can, he has no hope barring a lucky punch.

Muhammad will push the pace, land volume and come away with the biggest win of his career to date.
PICK – Belal Muhammad via Decision

Leon Edwards (18-3 1NC) vs Nate Diaz (21-12) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

An absolute banger at welterweight as the number three ranked 170lber Edwards takes on the most popular man in MMA not named Conor McGregor in Nate Diaz. Edwards has won eight in a row, but his last bout ended in controversy with an eye-poke against Belal Muhammad ending in a no contest. Diaz on the other hand has lost two of his last three, but those fights in 2016 and 2019.

Edwards is a brilliant fighter capable of doing absolutely everything in MMA, with brilliant striking, wrestling and submissions in his arsenal. Diaz is a brilliant boxer with world class jiu-jitsu, but he is way past his prime at this point. Edwards is the better striker and better wrestler and while Diaz is absolutely crazily durable, he gets hit A LOT. Edwards throws lots of leg kicks too which Diaz will hate and with the fight almost certain to stay on the feet, it’s Edwards’ to lose.

A win here finally earns him a title shot while Diaz earns a lot of money and puts in warrior-like performances to maintain his popularity. Edwards is too good though and I expect at least one 10-8 round in his favour.
PICK – Leon Edwards via Decision

Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) vs Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A flyweight title fight rematch here as ‘Deus de Guerra’ defends his 125lbs crown against Brandon Moreno once again. Figueiredo had a magnificent 2020, defeating Joseph Benavidez twice including at UFC Fight Island 2 to win the belt. He then defended it against Alex Perez at UFC 255 winning by first-round submission before the draw with Moreno at UFC 256. Moreno also had a great year, beating Jussier Formiga before knocking out Brandon Royval at UFC 255 before the draw.

Figueiredo is the scariest flyweight ever, with ridiculous power and tremendous jiu-jitsu, winning 17 of his fights by stoppage with them all coming in the first two rounds. Moreno is a pressure fighter with great striking and brilliant wrestling but the first fight told us a lot. Figueiredo won that first fight without the points deduction that happened and it’s hard to see this going any other way. Fig will push forward and pick his shots more and with Moreno confident he’ll be coming forward too.

Ultimately, Figueiredo showed he can win over five rounds and if it doesn’t go the distance then there’s only one guy finishing this fight so it’s an #andStill moment for me.
PICK – Deiveson Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 2

Israel Adesanya (20-1) vs Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

The return of the ‘Last Style Bender’ following the first defeat of his career to the middleweight division as he takes on old foe Marvin Vettori for the 185lbs title. Adesanya beat Paulo Costa in his last fight at middleweight before defeat last time out at UFC 259 to Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight. Vettori has won his last five-in-a-row including main events against Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland.

Adesanya is arguably the best pure striker in mixed martial arts today, with brilliant power in his hands and legs and an ability to shift angles and knock people out. He’s fast, mobile and incredibly intelligent but the hole in his game is his grappling. That’s where Vettori excels, with great wrestling and an ability to take people down and control them from top position. He’s a decent striker in his own right too, but he uses that to close the distance for takedowns.

Their first fight saw Adesanya able to get back to his feet but I think Vettori has got much better in that space of time when it comes to controlling opponents on the ground. It really is a fight of two styles and while Adesanya is the heavy favourite, there is something telling me that because the blueprint is there he may need to figure something new out to get back in the win column.

The cloak of invincibility is gone and I think there could be an upset on our hands here.
PICK – Marvin Vettori via Decision

Leon Edwards finally has a chance to become a household name against Nate Diaz

It’s been a long time coming, but Leon Edwards finally has the chance to become a true household name in the welterweight division this weekend when he fights Nate Diaz at UFC 263.

The Briton comes into the fight unbeaten in his last nine fights in a row, with eight consecutive wins followed by a no-contest against Belal Muhammad back in March for an accidental eye poke.

Yet despite that run that has seen him undefeated since way back in 2015, he’s still almost an after-thought when you talk to some fans about the contenders of the welterweight division.

But now, he is the chosen one. Hand-picked by the fan favourite and arguably most popular fighter in the game Nate Diaz.

Since his classic double header with Conor McGregor back in 2016, Diaz has been incredibly selective of his opponents and reasons for fighting. He decided after losing the rematch to McGregor that he deserved money fights since he was part of such a huge drawing PPV, but the UFC didn’t really agree.

Nate Diaz reacts to his victory over Conor McGregor of Ireland in their welterweight bout during the UFC 196 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on...

They claimed he only got that because of his win in the first fight, with people tuning in for Conor’s redemption rather than to watch Diaz compete again. They were proved wrong.

After three years away, Diaz returned to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 and turned in a spectacular performance to get the win. But on top of that, he drew big money once again. While not in the main event that night, Diaz’s return was the hot topic after it was announced and was one of the biggest stories of the entire card – which is huge considering the main event was Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic 2.

After that fight he called out Jorge Masvidal, another guy who had taken his popularity to a new stratosphere with fight fans. The fight was made and because of the sheer fan reaction to it, not only did Dana White make a title belt specifically for the fight but it was the first non-title five round pay-per-view main event since his McGregor rematch.

Even though he lost that fight, the nature of the defeat made him even more popular. A doctor’s stoppage due to a cut after the third round gave everyone involved a sense of anti-climax and left fans thirsting for more of Diaz.

Now, almost two years later, he has hand-picked Edwards as his next opponent. According to Diaz, he wants to beat “the best of the best” and he sees Edwards as just that. He described him as a “bad motherfucker” and says that since nobody else wants to step up and fight him, he’ll gladly do it.

Edwards has found it notoriously difficult to find opponents in recent years. Despite beating Rafael Dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, Donald Cerrone and Vicente Luque throughout his run, he’s not been given a title shot or even a title eliminator up to this point.

The reasons at first were his ranking being too low, then he worked his way up and people said he wasn’t a big enough name. Now he’s got a name and ranking, COVID-19 and an eye poke have halted his momentum.

But this fight is a chance for him to make that leap. A win over Diaz is almost expected when you look at their recent fight history and styles, but it’s never a given. Diaz has earned his reputation as one of the most durable fighters ever and technically is gifted both on the feet and on the mat.

If Edwards is as good as he says he is, he should be able to beat Diaz though. If he does that, like he says he will, then there will be no reason for him to not get the next shot at Kamaru Usman.

He’ll have the attention of the world, he’ll have the ranking, he’ll have the name and he’ll have the results to back it all up. This is the chance he’s been waiting for, now he needs to take it with both hands.

Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz moved to UFC 263

History will have to wait an extra month to be made in the UFC as the welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz has been postponed.

The first ever five-round, non-title, co-main event was scheduled for UFC 262 later this month to serve under the vacant lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler.

However it has now been moved to June 12th at UFC 263, meaning we’ll have to wait for this banger of a fight.

According to ESPN‘s information, Diaz suffered a minor injury in training and rather than scrap the bout it has simply been moved to the following month’s pay-per-view event.

The injury is undisclosed but is said to be minor enough for the bout to not be in doubt at all and both fighters were happy to move it along.

Diaz will be fighting for the first time since his BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal in 2019, where he was beaten when the doctor stopped the fight after the third round due to a cut above his eye. Prior to that he had returned to the octagon following a three-year absence after a defeat to Conor McGregor by beating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 via unanimous decision.

Edwards on the other hand is on an nine-fight unbeaten run, having not lost since a defeat to the current champion Kamaru Usman way back in 2015.

‘Rocky’ had beaten Vicente Luque, Bryan Barbarena, Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and Rafael Dos Anjos before he saw three bouts with Khamzat Chimaev scrapped due to complications with COVID-19 on both sides.

He then took a short-notice fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 in March to end a near two-year absence from the cage, only to see the fight end in the second round due to an accidental eye poke and declared a no contest.

It’s believed that Diaz specifically asked for a fight with Edwards, with both men believing a win over the other should shoot them into title contention against Usman in the near future.

The fight will still be a five-round, non-title co-main event but will now serve behind two title fights at UFC 263 from Glendale, Arizona on June 12th.

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight championship in a rematch against Marvin Vettori in the same building where their first fight took place back in 2018, while Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet in a rematch of their own for the flyweight title too.

Figueiredo and Moreno completed a remarkable three-week turnaround at the back end of 2020 to compete for the title at UFC 256, with the bout declared a draw after ‘Deus de Guerra’ was deducted a point for a low blow.

UFC 262 will continue with the one title fight, while Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush will now serve as the co-main event.