- The BMF title is on the line when Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz meet in a welterweight contest in the main event of UFC 244.
- Can Masvidal continue his remarkable run of devastating knockout wins?
- Is Diaz one of the biggest stars on the current UFC roster?
On Saturday (Nov. 2), the UFC returns to New York City for UFC 244. The event, which takes place at Madison Square Garden and is headlined by a BMF title fight between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. The UFC will hand the winner of the welterweight contest a physical title belt, which is pretty astounding since Diaz created the BMF division out of thin air after he defeated former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in August.
Masvidal has scored knockout wins in his past two outings. The veteran fighter earned $150,000 in post-fight bonuses for those stoppages over Darren Till and Ben Askren.
MASVIDAL VS DIAZ ODDS
|Fighter||Odds (as of Oct 30)|
Diaz came back from a break of nearly three years to score a decision win over Pettis. After that fight, he called for a matchup against Masvidal, saying, “There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him. So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”
In the “Countdown to UFC 244” video, Jorge Masvidal lamented that he had become known as a fighter who loses split decisions. His solution to that criticism was to decide to “end individuals.” Since Masvidal had that epiphany, he has scored two devastating knockouts, including the fastest stoppage in UFC history. At UFC 239, Masvidal sprinted across the octagon and landed a flying knee to Ben Askren’s head. That blow put Askren out cold in five seconds.
His solution to that criticism was to decide to “end individuals.” Since Masvidal had that epiphany, he has scored two devastating knockouts, including the fastest stoppage in UFC history.
In Diaz’s words, the reason for his inactivity was simple, “The reason I was off was because everybody sucks and there was nobody to fight.” Diaz made that claim moments after he scored a decision win over Pettis. That was his first fight since he went 1-1 against Conor McGregor in 2016. Diaz submitted McGregor in March of that year before dropping a majority decision in August.
Masvidal has become a much more aggressive fighter since he moved from lightweight to welterweight. He has also become a more savvy striker. The way he ended his fight against Till was a beautiful use of unorthodox footwork that had UFC commentator Dan Hardy raving about the punch that ended the contest. Masvidal’s striking targets are well balanced as well. He doesn’t rely strictly on head strikes. Masvidal is unafraid to employ leg strikes and body blows to wear his opponent down. Masvidal might be known as a striker, but he does have capable grappling skills and he’ll be unafraid to take the fight to the mat if he needs to. Demian Maia, who is perhaps the greatest grappler in MMA history, praised Masvidal’s defensive mat skills.
Diaz employs a more boxing based style when it comes to his striking. He is more active than Masvidal, using volume to break his opponent before taking it to another gear to go for the stoppage. Diaz has a slight reach advantage over Masvidal and that could help him a great deal in the striking game. Diaz is an excellent grappler, but he doesn’t tend to initiate ground fighting. However, when the fight does go to the ground, his Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt serves him well.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|Jorge Masvidal||Category||Nate Diaz|
|4.12||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.74|
|2.92||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.86|
|1.16||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.97|
|0.51||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||1.34|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With Masvidal ranked at No. 3 in the official UFC welterweight rankings and Diaz at No. 7, this fight could vault the winner into a matchup with the victor of the UFC 245 fight between 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. There’s also the chance that this fight plays out in a way that earns both men a lucrative non-title matchup against a top-five ranked opponent.
As individuals, Masvidal could erase all the talk about not being able to succeed in big fights that has surrounded him for some time. As for Diaz, a statement win in New York might push him past Conor McGregor as the most marketable and popular fighter in the UFC.
Fans and pundits expect this to be an exciting matchup between two fighters who refuse to take a step back. I believe the fight will play out like that. The odds are good that Diaz will get bloodied at some point, but that has never been a concern for him. He is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC. If Masvidal does hurt Diaz, he can’t get too anxious for the finish and wear himself out, which could open the door for Diaz to come on strong late in the bout, which is scheduled for five rounds.
Diaz has only been knocked out once in his career.
Masvidal’s desire to end this fight could be a problem as Diaz has only been knocked out once in his career. I believe if Masvidal can stay calm and not get too worried that he’ll be on the wrong end of a split decision, he will win the bout by decision.
Pick: Masvidal (-185)