Leon Edwards finally gets his chance at Jorge Masvidal in a grudge match two years in the making. Scheduled for UFC 269 the two welterweight contenders will meet in a three-round fight in a pivotal welterweight clash. ‘Rocky’ is enjoying a 10 fight unbeaten streak, with his last loss coming to the current champion, Kamaru Usman back in 2015. On the flip side, ‘Gamebread’ is fresh off two losses (including the first knockout loss of his 50 fight career), both of which were against Usman. UK bookies, in particular, are going to be all over this fight with plenty of opportunities for Birmingham’s own to make a statement entering the bout as a favourite.
Storyline – Three Piece and a Soda
Throwing it back to London in 2019, Masvidal returned after a long hiatus in the main event against former title challenger, Darren Till. The co-main event saw Edwards, competing at home for the fourth time in his UFC career against Icelandic star, Gunnar Nelson.
Edwards put on a clinic against Nelson, which he ultimately won by split decision. The decision itself should certainly have been unanimous as the UK star dominated throughout. He dropped Nelson with a strong elbow off the break and looked close to finishing it. In the main event, having been dropped by Till early on, Masvidal rallied to land a brutal knockout on Liverpool’s Till, separating him from consciousness.
What made headlines, however, was that Edwards and Masvidal had got into an altercation backstage where Masivdal landed multiple shots on Edwards in what he described as a ‘three-piece and a soda’.
Footage shows that Edwards had approached Masvidal whilst the American was conducting an interview, to which Masvidal hadn’t taken too kindly. He walked over to Edwards with his hands behind his back before landing multiple, unanswered strikes on the Brit.
Post Three Piece
After Masvidal attacked Edwards backstage, the two, unfortunately, went their separate ways. Edwards competed in three straight five-round bouts, defeating Rafael dos Anjos and Nate Diaz and had an unfortunate no-contest against Belal Muhammad.
Jorge Masvidal went straight into a huge fight against Ben Askren, knocking him out in just five seconds with a flying knee. He then faced Nate Diaz in the ‘BMF’ title bout, before dropping back-to-back title opportunities against Kamaru Usman.
There is no denying that Edwards is deserving of a title opportunity but because he’s never been one to rock the mic, he never has had the push from the UFC that his skills deserve. With the hype of such a big event, the chances of Edwards getting plenty of mic time are possible. Fans will always tune in to a Jorge Masvidal fight as he has quickly become one of the biggest names on the roster. A win for Edwards will have UK bookies salivating at the prospect of a rematch with Kamaru Usman further down the line for the belt.
The Fight Itself
The fight itself is certainly intriguing. As we all know, you’re only as good as your last performance and Edwards looked like a world-beater for 24:30 of his previous outing against Nate Diaz, Edwards dominated until he got caught, rocked and almost finished in the final round. Masvidal was brutally knocked out in his last outing against Kamaru Usman and prior to that was dominated by the champion over five rounds.
Masvidal has vastly more experience, notching 50 professional fights to Edwards’ 23. With just nine finishes as opposed to Masvidal’s 18, it would suggest that the American has the better instinct to get the fight over and done with. He lands 4.22 significant strikes per minute as opposed to the Brit’s 2.62, highlighting that the American is much more active. Expect it to play out on the feet, as each man only averages 1.52 takedowns per fight. The accuracy is certainly on the side of Masvidal with 59% to Edwards’ 35%. With that being said, the Brit landed four of five takedowns on Nate Diaz and clocked up almost a whole rounds worth of control time. Likewise, against dos Anjos he had 7:17 control time. This certainly shows that if it isn’t going his way, he’s well rounded enough to mix it up.
Rocky without a doubt is the more polished, crisp striker. Everything is straight out of the book, he’s always aware of his defence, always ready to defend a takedown and is pinpoint with his strikes. This is opposed to Gamebread, who is more chaotic. He has slick boxing, brutal body and leg kicks and savage elbows and knees in the clinch as well as unusual entries into striking exchanges. We saw this against Darren Till when he rushed him with multiple strikes, knocking him out in a Tyron Woodley esc entry.
Keep it locked to MMASucka for all your UFC 269 fight week content with what promises to be one of the biggest events of the year to date.
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