The UFC’s Prodigal Son has returned once more! Stockton’s finest, Nate Diaz, has been announced to make his return to the UFC octagon on May 15th at UFC 262. His opponent, surprisingly, will be welterweight Leon Edwards, who is fresh off of a No Contest against Belal Muhammad a few weeks ago.
This will be Diaz’s first foray in the octagon since losing the “BMF” title fight to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 in November of 2019. He only has one win in the past five years, a decision victory over Anthony Pettis in the summer of 2019 (he’s only fought three times since August of 2016). Despite all of this, he is an immense star, whose popularity seems to be immune to wins, losses or long absences from the cage.
I mention that this is a surprising matchup because Edwards, while a top 170-pounder, isn’t a “big name” fighter by any means. Diaz seems to only be interested in marquee matchups at this point, so more than likely the winner of this fight has been promised a title shot. It’s also of note that, for the first time in history, a non-title, non-headlining fight will be contested for five rounds rather than the normal three.
So, who’s the betting favourite here? While MansionBet doesn’t have a line for it posted yet, other books have the Brit, Edwards, as a very, very strong favourite, in the 1/4 range. I agree that he is going to win this fight, but I suggest holding off betting on it (especially until Mansion posts the line!) until the very last minute. More than likely as more casual sports fans realize that a big name like Diaz is returning, the bulk of the money is going to come in on him, driving the Edwards number into a far more favourable ballpark for us.
With the UFC enjoying a rare week off this weekend, now is a good time to look at some other big fights looming on the horizon and see if there are any favourable lines out there for them.
Triple-Title Fight on the Horizon
The next UFC pay-per-view will be a triple-title fight one – UFC 261: Superspreader I – oops, I mean UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2. Hopefully my bad attempt at humour doesn’t come true, but the UFC has sold out the VyStars Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida and plan on having 15,000 fans in attendance. I’m no doctor (I don’t even play one on TV), but this doesn’t seem like a smart plan in the middle of a pandemic. But who cares what I think.
The main event will be a rematch for the UFC Welterweight Championship between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Usman dominated the first matchup last year, and he should do the same in this one – a full training camp won’t make Masvidal any more competitive in the rematch. MansionBet has the champ retaining at
UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko is also at
4/19 to beat Jessica Andrade at this event. There might be some value going with the challenger at
57/20 in this fight. While I think Shevchenko will probably win, Andrade has the power and championship experience (she was formerly the UFC Strawweight Champion) to possibly pull off the upset.
The third title fight should be much more competitive, at least in theory. UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Weili Zhang will be making her second title defense, this time against former champion Rose Namajunas. Namajunas lost the title to Andrade, who lost it to Zhang, so this will be a fresh matchup. The current champ is at
1/2 to retain her crown. I’m probably going to side with Zhang in this fight, but it should be a close, fun one.