Tag Archives: Nate Diaz

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson – Main card predictions

The weirdest UFC pay-per-view event takes place this weekend at UFC 279 as Khamzat Chimaev battles Nate Diaz in the main event.

A five-round, non-title welterweight bout sees the undefeated fighter go up against the notoriously popular fighter whose record is bang average at best.

There is also a crazy welterweight fight between Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson in the co-main event, while Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez clash in a catchweight bout.

Last time out at UFC Paris we went 10/12 with four perfect picks for the night to move to 715/1106 (64.65%) with 302 perfect picks (42.24%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then after picking the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card picks.

Johnny Walker (18-7) vs Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute banger at 205-pounds here. Walker is a wild man with incredible one-punch knockout power, but he’s lost his last two against Thiago Santos (UFC Vegas 38) and Jamahal Hill most recently. Cutelaba is also a wild man, with just one win in his last five fights and a submission loss to Ryan Spann in his last bout.

Walker is a power puncher with unorthodox movement and good kicks, but he’s proven to be chinny in more recent bouts and must stay alert to keep this fight at range. Cutelaba on the other hand is a super aggressive fighter who has good knockout power and excellent wrestling, but has had huge issues with his cardio and balancing that all out. Cutelaba has all the tools to win this, but it won’t be easy.

If Cutelaba blitzes early with takedown attempts and blasts him out of there it wouldn’t be a surprise at all. There’s also the opposite scenario that is possible too, with Walker definitely able to KO Cutelaba too. That said, “The Hulk” is most likely to be successful. He has different looks to make Walker think and his aggression should be enough to force Walker backwards, and I think he’ll claim the win.
PICK – Ion Cutelaba via Knockout, Round 2

Irene Aldana (13-6) vs Macy Chiasson (9-2) – (Catchweight/140lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight up next between these two ladies. Aldana has won three of her last four with a defeat to Holly Holm the only flaw, to which she rebounded from with a KO win over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264. Chiasson bounced back from a submission defeat to Raquel Pennington at UFC Vegas 45 with a big win over Norma Dumont at UFC 274 most recently.

Aldana is a solid boxer with great combinations and power in a division that lacks big hitters, while her takedown defence has shown great improvements too in recent fights. Chiasson is a Muay Thai fighter who likes to clinch with her opponents, while also using her range to flick out her jab and land low kicks. Both women’s ideal strategy fits right into the other’s and that makes this an excellent fight.

Chiasson could have trouble with the weight cut after even missing weight at featherweight last time out. Aldana is the better boxer and can use her jab to make Chiasson work, while threatening with that big left hook that is cash money when it lands. With that said, the Mexican should have enough to claim the win and potentially set herself up for a title shot in the near future.
PICK – Irene Aldana via Decision

Li Jingliang (19-7) vs Daniel Rodriguez (16-2) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

An excellent fight at a catchweight after being put together on short notice here. Jingliang comes into this fight after being dominated and humiliated by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267, before bouncing back with a brilliant KO win over Muslim Salikhov in July. Rodriguez on the other hand has won his last three, earning decisions against Mike Perry (UFC Vegas 23) and Kevin Lee while knocking out Steven Parsons too.

Jingliang is a power puncher, pure and simple. His speed and combinations are solid and his takedown defence has usually been pretty good, barring the Chimaev fight. Rodriguez alternatively is a super boxer with impressive technique and power, while his wrestling chops are solid too to make the opposition at least think about the potential threat. This is most likely to be a big striking affair, and the size of Rodriguez is likely to be key.

“The Leech” was preparing to fight someone smaller than him, with a great ground game but he’s now facing someone who weighed in ten-pounds heavier and is a pure striker. His power probably won’t be as effective now, and Rodriguez has the size to use his jab and potentially claim a late finish on this short notice fight.
PICK – Daniel Rodriguez via Decision

Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) vs Kevin Holland (23-7) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

Potentially the fight of the night here. Chimaev is 11-0 after ripping through the UFC, finishing John Phillips (UFC Fight Island 1), Rhys McKee (UFC Fight Island 3), Gerald Meerschaert (UFC Vegas 11) and Li Jingliang (UFC 267) before a fight of the year contender against Gilbert Burns (UFC 273). Holland has won his last two, knocking out Alex Oliveira at UFC 272 before claiming a submission win over Tim Means most recently.

Chimaev is one of the most dominant figures we’ve seen in MMA in a long time, with incredible wrestling and grappling skills as well as an insane chin to go with his crisp striking and powerful punches. Holland is a brilliant kickboxer with superb power and speed, while his takedown defence has improved greatly over the last 18 months and his jiu-jitsu has proven itself worthy. These two have genuine beef so this likely won’t last long.

The fact that Chimaev missed weight so badly would normally be a big issue, but he’s now fighting at a different weight against someone his size and didn’t need to cut much. Mix that in with his dominant wrestling, which Holland has struggled with badly in the past, expect Chimaev to dominate on the ground and take a late finish.
PICK – Khamzat Chimaev via Knockout, Round 4

Nate Diaz (21-13) vs Tony Ferguson (25-7)- (Welterweight/170lbs)

Diaz has fought three times since 2016, beating Anthony Pettis before getting smashed by Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards most recently (UFC 263). Tony Ferguson has lost his last four in a row, getting dominated by Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira (UFC 256), Beneil Darisuh (UFC 262) and then getting toe-punted into a new galaxy by Michael Chandler at UFC 274. He moves up to welterweight for the first time since winning TUF in 2011.

Diaz is a fan favourite who has got world class jiu-jitsu and decent boxing, but it’s his cardio and heart that are mentioned most when discussing Diaz. This fight realistically has no business being made, because there is a huge gulf in class between these two fighters right now. Ferguson is a bit of a crazy fighter, with relentless pressure being coupled with incredibly heavy hands, insane cardio and world class jiu-jitsu on the mat. This fight is absolutely wild and the fact that Ferguson is moving up in weight is incredibly interesting and exciting.

Ferguson has the power advantage, will feel as though he can more than hold his own on the ground and should be strong enough physically to control this fight. But the fact he was training for three rounds rather than five could go against him. Diaz will look to drag this out into the later rounds, but ultimately I think Ferguson will have too much pressure for him early on to be able to claim a big win in a far more competitive fight than what was originally planned for either guy.
PICK – Tony Ferguson via Decision

Fights to make in 2022 – Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 3

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.

It feels like something that’s been spoken about for years, but there has arguably never been a better time to make the Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz trilogy fight.

Their first fight was stumbled upon by pure chance during McGregor’s incredible rise to – excuse the pun – notorious status in the sport. It was at a point in his career where he genuinely would fight anyone, anywhere and at any weight.

Diaz was a big name for his street demeanour, but he wasn’t quite a ‘needle mover’ yet. By the time their rematch rolled around, that was totally different though.

With both guys coming off successive defeats and not involved in any sort of title picture in their respective divisions, then you may as well set it up.

McGregor’s defeats to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264 showed that he is still an elite striker, but Poirier’s well-roundedness was able to win the day in the end on both occasions.

While Diaz is an excellent grappler in his own right, he is a guy who will look to pressure his opponent on the feet and just straight bang it out.

That would suit McGregor greatly as a comeback fight, with his leg unlikely to be tested too much due to the boxing-heavy approach that Diaz likes to take to his fights.

It’s a fight that could easily headline a pay-per-view card and would likely be the highest-selling card of the year if it happened. Add to the fact that it could happen at either 155-pounds or 170-pounds and you have plenty of possibilities going forward.

Ultimately, this would be a fight for the fans. There’s no real implications behind it other than one of them getting bragging rights and back into the win column. For the other, the end is probably nigh.

The ultimate fan encounter between the two biggest stars in the sport, make it happen Uncle Dana.

Why nobody wants to see Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz

Ever since Khamzat Chimaev arrived in the UFC, he has been calling out the biggest names in the company.

After stopping both John Phillips and Rhys McKee on Fight Island within ten days of each other last year, Chimaev immediately started calling out the likes of Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya and Conor McGregor.

Following his most recent dominant win over Li Jingliang at UFC 267 though, it was Stockton’s own Nate Diaz who got the call out by ‘Borz’.

It was a fourth straight win for Chimaev in the UFC, continuing his unbeaten career record and extending himself to 10-0 with ten finishes professionally.

Even more impressively, it was yet another fight where the Russian-born fighter didn’t absorb a single strike during the bout, meaning he has still only been hit twice in his entire UFC career.

After choking Li out in the first-round, Chimaev made the bold statement that he was ready to ‘kill everyone’ and said he would take on all comers once again.

But in the following post-fight press conference, he elaborated further on that and called out the hugely popular figure of Nate Diaz for a welterweight clash.

UFC president Dana White appeared to like the idea, claiming that the organisation would discuss the bout with Diaz in the near future. As expected however, the Stockton native was not best pleased at the idea of him fighting a relative newcomer.

While Diaz has earned a reputation in recent years for being picky with what fights he takes, I think the vast majority of people agree with him in this instance.

Diaz is one of the most popular fighters in the sport and has proven himself as a ‘needle mover’ in recent years, with huge fights against Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards making history.

The McGregor rematch was one of the biggest selling pay-per-view events in the companies history, while the Masvidal fight saw the company create a ‘BMF’ title belt especially for the occasion so that it could headline a pay-per-view card in Madison Square Garden.

Then the Edwards fight happened at UFC 263. An unranked Diaz walked straight into a fight against the man many believe to be the rightful number one contender for the belt, and to top it off the UFC made it a five-round bout just because he asked for it.

Those three fights have one thing in common however. He lost them all.

At this stage of his career, it’s his name that sells fights not his fighting ability. He is 1-3 in his last four fights, with the only win coming against Anthony Pettis who is no longer with the company.

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...

Chimaev is a wrecking ball who has just broken into the top ten of the rankings and there are plenty of fighters ahead of him who would give him a real test.

Diaz is tough as nails, no doubt. But his takedown defence is horrendous and he gets hit for fun in his fights. As it stands right now, I’d have no problem whatsoever betting my house on Chimaev beating him in dominant fashion if they did fight.

But ultimately this is a politics move by the UFC and Dana White. Diaz is into the final fight of his current contract and while I’m sure he and the UFC would quite like to agree a new deal, there’s no doubt that he wants mega money to keep fighting and the UFC simply won’t want to go as high as he’s asking them to.

With the chance to test free agency out there, with his newly acquired ‘needle mover’ status, this could be the UFC’s way of sending him a parting gift. Sign a new deal and we’ll give you a nice fight, otherwise you can go out on your sword against our new, shiny phenom.

Khamzat Chimaev of Sweden reacts after his victory over Li Jingliang of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 267 event at Etihad Arena on...

Either way, this is a fight that nobody needs to see. Diaz is a veteran, Chimaev is an up-and-coming title contender, both in different stages and trajectories of their careers.

If Diaz were to win, it would be great for him but bad for the UFC product that their new phenom just got smoked by a vet who is way past his best. If Diaz were to lose, Chimaev is supposed to beat him anyway at this point.

Leave that fight alone, find an alternative for Diaz (like Vicente Luque) and get Chimaev to continue climbing the ladder against ranked guys to get him towards a title shot.

Conor McGregor got smoked and is done at the top level after UFC 264

The biggest trilogy fight in UFC history had arguably the most unfortunate end we’ve ever seen in a big fight, but we still saw more than enough to know how the fight was probably going to go.

The UFC 264 main event fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor went only one full round, before the doctor stopped the fight between rounds after ‘Notorious’ suffered a broken leg with ten seconds remaining.

But what we saw in the previous 4:50 of the round was more than enough to convince me, and many others, that the former two-weight simultaneous world champion is done at the highest level.

McGregor started hard and fast, opening the round with spinning back kicks to the body and then started firing kicks to the legs of Poirier. ‘Diamond’ stayed calm though and saw out the first wave of attacks, although Conor did land a big left hand.

Poirier responded with a chain of punches himself which forced McGregor to clinch, which led to a takedown from Poirier and essentially the rest of the fight. Poirier took him down, avoided the guillotine attempt and then landed two minutes worth of ground and pound with vicious elbows and punches.

He let McGregor up before a freak accident saw him plant his foot badly and snap his tibia bone to end the fight.

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier grapple in their lightweight bout during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.

While the former lightweight and featherweight champion exclaimed after the fight that “this isn’t over”, and Dana White confirmed that the UFC would likely make yet another rematch between the two fighters once the Irishman has fully healed I’m not convinced it’s something we need to see again.

As far as I’m concerned the first fight between them is now irrelevant. It was seven years ago, in a different weight class and it was two completely different men.

The January fight however was relevant. McGregor won the opening round in my eyes, but when he landed that left hand flush that normally puts people away – Poirier didn’t disappear. Poirier fired back with strikes of his own, grappled and landed the eventually lethal leg kicks.

In this fight, it was more of the same. Anyone who has followed McGregor’s career knows that he isn’t really someone who grows into fights. He starts at a super high, sharp standard and steadily declines as it goes on. Poirier is arguably the opposite and that showed.

Poirier took his best shots, fired back and troubled McGregor and then beat him up until the round ended. Had the leg break not happened, it’s hard to think that the fight wouldn’t have continued to unfold in the same manner and while he may not have got the finish I can’t see how McGregor overcomes that and turns the tables to beat Poirier over the course of a fight.

His period to take over the lightweight division was immediately after he won the title, but instead he chased money. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, he chose the security of his family over fighting because his legacy was already secured, but he missed his chance.

The hunger isn’t there, the levels have been upped and he has been left behind. As a fan, I’d love to see McGregor just walk away and maybe pursue boxing or just continue with his business ventures. If he was to return to the UFC, it should absolutely not be against Poirier or any of the top contenders because he isn’t at that level anymore and there is no need.

If he must return, give him the Diaz trilogy. A fight that is purely ego and pride, that fans will enjoy and get behind but doesn’t actually mean anything for the division it takes place in.

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


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.


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!


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.


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.

Top 5 The Ultimate Fighter Seasons

The Ultimate Fighter makes it’s long awaited return tonight on Fight Pass after a three year absence.

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and contender Brian Ortega will serve as the coaches to two teams comprising of bantamweights and middleweights, before eventually going head to head for the 145lbs title themselves at a later date.

But with season 29 finally upon us, what are the greatest seasons that have come before this? We’ve seen legends created through the show like Michael Bisping and TJ Dillashaw, but these five seasons stand out for me more than any other.

(Season 17)

Complete Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 finale fight card and televised FX line  up revealed - MMAmania.com

The greatest fighter of all-time according to most people was a TUF coach once upon a time, lining up alongside ‘The Bad Guy’ Chael Sonnen to coach a bunch of welterweights.

Names like Uriah Hall and Kelvin Gastelum stood out the most, as Jones and Sonnen kept it mostly civil throughout the season – preferring to settle their beef in the octagon rather than the gym.

The coaches challenge was hilarious and there were some incredibly highlight reel knockouts to go with it before a fun finale fight ended in split decision. There was even a cameo by female superstar Ronda Rousey as she promised to make an appearance for one fighter in particular after he declared his love for her. It’s well worth the watch.

(Season 13)

The Ultimate Fighter 13 Ratings: Episodes 1 Through 10 And Finale -  SBNation.com

If your name isn’t Conor McGregor, then you have no claim to being a bigger box-office draw than Brock Lesnar in the UFC. The former world heavyweight champion was looking to bounce back after losing his title to Cain Velasquez and a bout with diverticulitis by taking on Junior Dos Santos.

It was a series that really endeared Lesnar to MMA fans, as it showed just how seriously he took his training and how incredibly strong his mentality to win was. He often talked to his team about “turning chicken shit into chicken salad”, rather than make excuses and it was something that many noticed.

Dos Santos had in-house problems, sending a coach home during the series for trying to take sessions over, while Team Lesnar had a war amongst themselves when a drunk Tony Ferguson made some crude remarks during an argument in the house.

Overall, the series was great entertainment with highly competitive fights and two coaches who wanted to win at all costs.

(Season 10)

Matt Mitrione debuts on TUF Wed 8/16 on Spike – preshow discussion of  football, injuries and MMA | Capital City Cage Wars MMA Events

One of the most heated coaches rivalries in the show’s history took place in season 10, as the heavyweights season reignited a concept that was beginning to dwindle.

Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Rashad Evans were fierce rivals in the light-heavyweight title picture and agreed to take part as coaches of two heavyweight-filled teams for this season. There was extra spice added to the show as UFC president Dana White made the shock announcement once the teams were revealed that there was still another contender – legendary street fighter Kimbo Slice.

Joining the ranks alongside the likes of Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub, Kimbo competed under the UFC banner for the only time in his career. Add to that some very heated clashes between the coaches, including the infamous scene where Jackson literally ripped a door to shreds, it’s more than worth your time.

(Season 1)

10 bizarre, blast-from-the-past revelations after rewatching 'The Ultimate  Fighter 1' in 2020 – The Athletic

Where it all began. 28 seasons later and the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter is still among the best there is.

Legendary names in the sport like Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar and Kenny Florian all debuted in the UFC in this series of the show, coached by the just as legendary light heavyweight Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.

It was the season that introduced us all to the craziness that was the TUF house, as Sanchez paraded around drunk and doing yoga in the rain while Leben showed us just how emotionally charged the whole process can be.

In the end, it also led to one of the greatest fights ever in the finale between Griffin and Bonnar that was so close both fighters were awarded contracts with the UFC despite Griffin getting the nod on the scorecards. Legendary.

(Season 5)

Photo: The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 cast revealed - MMAmania.com

For me, without a doubt the greatest season there is of The Ultimate Fighter. Some of the most iconic moments in the show’s history took place as lightweights matched up, with former champion BJ Penn and Jens Pulver going head-to-head as coaches.

Names like Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan, Gray Maynard, Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller were apart of the series, where we saw the good and bad sides of the fighting community. From Penn asking the fighters who absolutely didn’t want to be on Pulver’s team and ten of the 16 putting their hand up, to a fighter being 20lbs overweight, to personal feuds spilling over into the octagon it really had everything.

Several fighters made it into the UFC and enjoyed long stints with the company but it was the season that made me fall in love with the sport and I expect it will do the same for you too.

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.

Leon Edwards to meet Nate Diaz at UFC 262 in historic bout

History will be made at UFC 262 as Leon Edwards will meet Nate Diaz in the first-ever five round, non-title co-main event in the companies history.

It is the first time that two fighters will meet in a co-main event in a five round bout with no title on the line, proving even more the pulling power that Diaz has earned himself in the UFC over the years.

It will be a welterweight bout between arguably the biggest star in the division against one of the most underrated in Edwards.

Leon Edwards will be making a quick turnaround to return to the octagon, following his controversial no contest against Belal Muhammad back in March.

Edwards was on an eight-fight win streak and took the fight on short-notice following Khamzat Chimaev’s second withdrawal, forcing the fight to fall apart for a third time. After nearly two years out of the octagon, ‘Rocky’ opted to take whatever fight he could get but the fight was sadly ended early in the second round after an accidental eye poke meant Muhammad was unable to continue.

Since then the British fighter had called for a title shot, but with Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal scheduled to fight on April 24th at UFC 261, Edwards did not want to wait. He was targeting a bout with Colby Covington, but a previous war of words with Diaz along with the eyes the fight will bring has caught his attention instead.

This will be first time Diaz has fought since his massive fight with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 in November 2019 and only the fourth time since his infamous rematch with Conor McGregor back in 2016 at UFC 202.

Diaz spent three years out of the octagon after that fight, citing a need for money or title fights and only wanting to fight ‘real fighters’. He returned to defeat Anthony Pettis in impressive fashion before losing to Masvidal.

Rankings wise it’s a fight that is all in Diaz’s favour, with the Stockton-raised fan favourite not even in the top 15. However his huge popularity will make this arguably the biggest fight of Edwards’ career with more eyes on him now than ever before.

Diaz’s popularity is such that on a card that will be headlined by Charles Oliveira fighting Michael Chandler to crown the vacant lightweight champion as well as Tony Ferguson fighting Beneil Dariush, this will be a five round bout and has been inserted as the co-main event.

In the betting for the fight, Edwards has opened up as the favourite but with Diaz’s experience, durability and skills it should make for a highly entertaining bout for fans to enjoy on what will be a stellar card on May 15th.