Fight Study (6/12/21)
The welterweight division is on display again when Nate Diaz enters the octagon with Leon Edwards, the division’s 3rd ranked contender, on Saturday. Edwards is the biggest favorite of UFC 263 and he will cost quite a bit more than Diaz in DFS contests. Edwards is priced at $9,500 on DraftKings and $22 on Fanduel. Diaz will go for $6,700 and $11 respectively. This fight is set for three rounds inside the octagon, however, the betting lines don’t anticipate a full 15 minutes of action as this bout is a -145 favorite to finish before reaching the final bell.
Diaz is a streetfighter in a world of high level technicians. His ability to keep up with today’s fighter is a testament to his toughness, but the odds on this fight reflect the fact that he is less skilled and he is approaching the end of his career. Overall his record stands at 20-12 with 5 wins by KO/TKO, 11 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. He last fought in 2019 where he lost by doctor’s stoppage to Jorge Masvidal. He will have a 2 inch reach advantage over Edwards, but overall he is well past his prime. He has a very strong chin, with only two losses by KO/TKO in his career. Still, his ability to take punishment may be to his detriment at this point in his career.
Edwards has an overall record of 18-3 and 1 no contest with 6 wins by KO/TKO, 3 wins by submission and 9 wins by decision. His last fight was ruled a no contest after he accidentally poked Belal Muhammad in the eye. Prior to that he had won 8 straight. His only loss over his past 12 fights was to the current welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman. That is his only defeat since since November of 2014. Over his last 10 victories, 70% have come by decision. Since losing to Usman in late 2015, Edwards is averaging 80.1 FPPF (DraftKings scoring – ignoring his no contest result). He is the biggest favorite on Saturday by a wide margin.
Given the toughness of Diaz, I expect to see Edwards systematically go to work for 15 minutes and get the decision win. Diaz presents a submission threat, but has not scored a submission win in over 5 years. I expect him to absorb a lot of damage in this one, but will be surprised if he doesn’t go the distance with Edwards. The fan inside me wants to see him score the big upset, but this doesn’t seem likely. Edwards is too skilled, too fast and Diaz is not the fighter he once was. His name will attract attention, but this fight doesn’t figure to be highly competitive.
Edwards’ salary makes him difficult to roster against a fighter with Diaz’ chin. I don’t see him getting the quick finish needed to bring value to his nosebleed price. He will make a great cash play for his high chance of winning and respectable average, but even then only as his salary permits. Personally, I will use this fight sparingly, giving Edwards limited exposure in GPP contests. There are plenty of other options that are much cheaper and I will prefer to spread out my salary cap rather than rely on Edwards to get me a big score here.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 263 on June 12.
UFC 262: FIGHT #3, Diaz vs Edwards
For Fight Study on UFC 263: FIGHT #2, Moreno vs Figueiredo, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 263: FIGHT #4, Muhammad vs Maia, click HERE.