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‘Absolute banger’: Fans anticipating firefight as Leon Edwards handed tough Nate Diaz test in historic five-round contest

‘Absolute banger’: Fans anticipating firefight as Leon Edwards handed tough Nate Diaz test in historic five-round contest
Leon Edwards has had a frustrating couple of years inside and out of the Octagon but he will finally get the high-profile fight he has been craving when he takes on one of the sport's most colorful characters in Nate Diaz.

Perhaps no fighter was quiet as affected by the UFC's abridged Covid calendar as Edwards. The Jamaican-born Brit was due to headline his first ever UFC card a year ago before restrictions within the United Kingdom nixed his London headliner against former champ Tyron Woodley. 

More failed fights came and went, including the three-times postponed showdown with Khamzat Chimaev, but when Edwards finally did get to stretch his legs in the cage earlier this month an inadvertent eye-poke brought a premature conclusion to a fight with Chimaev's replacement, Belal Muhammad. 

It seems, though, as if Edwards' luck is about to change after reports emerged overnight that he has been thrust into a high-profile five-round co-main event with one of the sport's biggest stars in Diaz, according to an initial report from ESPN who state that the fight is set to go down in Houston, Texas on May 15. 

The fight is set to take place as the co-main event underneath the matchup for the vacant UFC lightweight title previously held by Khabib Nurmagomedov between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira and marks the first time in the history of the UFC that a co-main event non-title fight has been stretched from three rounds to five. 

Diaz will compete for the first time since losing via cuts to Jorge Masvidal in late 2019 in a fight which was to determine the UFC's 'BMF' champion, with a win against the third-ranked Edwards sure to propel him back into the welterweight rankings. He has gone 2-2 in recent 170lbs fights, losing to Masvidal and Conor McGregor while also holding a win over the Irishman, as well as former UFC champion Anthony Pettis. 

While the fight has obvious box office appeal, some fight fans are questioning the matchmaking. Prior to his no-contest this month with Muhammad, Edwards had pieced together an eight-fight win streak and hasn't tasted defeat since he was bested by current champ Kamaru Usman in 2015.

"Guy in his prime hasn't lost a fight in in 6 years vs guy way past his prime has one win in the last 5 years," wrote one fan online.

"Nate deserves a lot of credit for taking a fight that he can't win," said another, while a third suggested that Edwards will "beat the brakes off him."

Another, though, perhaps defined what many of us are expecting from this bout: "it's an absolute banger of a fight though."

That is a point which is hard to argue. Diaz and Edwards have certainly been on different trajectories in recent times but with the early odds seeming to heavily favor the Brit, it wouldn't be the first time that a Diaz brother has upset the odds - just ask a certain Conor McGregor. 

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