It was a big night, too, for England’s Leon Edwards, who survived a last-gasp onslaught from Nate Diaz to earn a landslide decision victory on the scorecards in a special five-round welterweight feature bout and put himself in the frame for a shot at the UFC welterweight title.
Edwards, 29, looked calm and composed as he cruised through the first four rounds of the bout, but was in big trouble when Diaz connected with a huge straight left that had the Birmingham native on wobbly legs.
But, despite the 36-year-old pouring on the pressure, Edwards survived to earn scores of 49-46 on all three scorecards and extend his undefeated streak to 10 fights.
After the bout, Edwards paid tribute to the octagon veteran, telling UFC commentator Joe Rogan: “Nate’s a veteran, you know. I hit him with everything but the kitchen sink! So, fair play to Nate. I give my respect to him.
“I was caught by the back hand, straight through the guard, but it is what it is. I’m 29 years old, still learning, still growing, so I look forward to my title shot.”
When asked how hard Diaz hit him in that final round, Edwards laughed: “Hard enough to wobble me!
“I’ve been wobbled probably once in my career, so fair play to him, you know?
“It came right through the guard. I keep a wide guard and he came right through the middle with it, so fair play to Nate.”
Edwards’ victory puts him in prime position to challenge for the UFC welterweight title, with the current champion, Kamaru Usman, the last man to defeat the Brit from their first meeting back in 2015.
However, prior to fight night in Arizona, UFC president Dana White said former interim champion Colby Covington was the next man in line.