The UFC heads to Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 3rd for UFC 244: Masvidal vs Diaz. In the main event, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal takes on Nate Diaz for the BMF belt. Masvidal is coming off a five-second knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 while Diaz returned from a three-year layoff to outpoint Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. Diaz proclaimed himself as the “baddest m*** f***” in the business and issued a challenge to Masvidal. Unable to get a welterweight title shot, Masvidal said yes to this fight where the BMF belt will be presented by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Remember you can find the betting odds for this event in any of our safest MMA betting sites.
Nate Diaz is the younger brother of Nick Diaz and was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5 tournament. Nate’s 15 post-fight bonuses rank second all-time in the promotion and he is most famous for halting Conor McGregor’s run in the UFC with a submission win over the Irishman at UFC 196. Diaz stands 6-0 with a reach of 76 inches. He has a record of 20-11 with 4 knockouts and 12 wins by submission. Diaz trains with some of the best boxers in the world although his submission game is what makes him most dangerous.
Jorge Masvidal is the #3 ranked welterweight in the UFC. After being unable to secure a welterweight title fight, he and Nate Diaz decided to fight for this “BMF” title. Masvidal holds the record for the fastest knockout in history, stopping Ben Askren with a flying knee in five seconds at UFC 239. “Gamebred” has a record of 34-13 with 15 knockouts. He stands 5-11 with a reach of 74 inches and fights as an orthodox fighter. Masvidal used to be a street fighter and he is tough as nails inside the octagon with legit punching power.
We saw a different Nate Diaz against Anthony Pettis. He was more calculated and measured. But then let’s not forget that he missed plenty of fight time on the shelf. Masvidal has been violence in his recent wins and he has been able to dictate his type of fight against his foes. If Diaz is indeed no longer the pressure fighter who throws with terrific volume, then Masvidal should be able to out-strike him and score the points being the more powerful hitter. But Diaz has terrific cardio and I like to see Diaz take over in the championship rounds. Masvidal has a tendency to forget his head movement and he also gets a little flat-footed deep in the rounds and I expect the cerebral Diaz to take advantage. Masvidal will want to turn this into a war. But I think Diaz has what it takes to counter him. This is the kind of belt that Diaz wants and the type of environment he thrives in. I gotta say Nate Diaz here.
PREDICTION: DIAZ +120
Kelvin Gastelum is the TUF17 winner and is currently the 4th ranked UFC middleweight. The 28-year old from San Jose, California is a hard-hitting southpaw is coming off a loss to Israel Adesanya in an interim title fight. While he lost that bout, Gastelum stood toe to toe with the current middleweight king and gave him plenty of trouble. Gastelum is 15-4-0-1 with six knockouts and four submission wins. He stands 5-9 with a reach of 71 ½ inches.
Darren Till is a former welterweight title challenger and is the 10th ranked welterweight in the promotion. The Gorilla is 26-years old and stands 6-0 with a reach of 74 ½ inches while also fighting as a southpaw. The Englishman has a record of 17-2-1 with 10 knockouts and 2 submissions. Till went unbeaten in his first six UFC bouts then ran into Tyron Woodley and lost by submission. In his last fight, he was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal last March.
Intimidation was a big part of what made Till successful during his failed title run at welterweight but that won’t be the case at middleweight. Sure, he is fighting a smaller Gastelum who is also a converted welterweight but remember that Gastelum is one of the toughest fighters we’ve seen. Till lost to Woodley and Masvidal because both didn’t give him respect and chose to fight him instead of fear him. Gastelum doesn’t mind his size and doesn’t back down from a fight. Remember he gave Israel Adesanya one tough bout last April, going toe to toe with the Stylebender. I don’t think Gastelum respects Till’s power and I think his chin is going to hold up against the Gorilla. If Till can’t get the KO here, Gastelum is going to keep going forward and put the pressure on. Till can’t handle pressure at all.
PREDICTION: GASTELUM -250
Stephen Thompson is a former two-time UFC welterweight title challenger and the 9th ranked welterweight in the promotion today. Known as Wonderboy, this Karate expert is a former kickboxing champion. He has a record of 14-4-1 with seven knockouts. Thompson stands 6-0 with a reach of 75 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter. He has a wide karate stance and is one of the best strikers in the business. Thompson’s leg kicks are one of the most lethal in the UFC.
Vincent Luque is the #14 ranked welterweight in the UFC. The 27-year old Brazilian-American has a record of 17-6-1 with nine knockouts and six wins by submission. He was a finalist at the TUF 21 tournament and is 10-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming at the hands of Leon Edwards. Luque has won six fights in a row and is coming off a split decision win over Mike Perry last August. He is an offensive fighter who takes some damage but doesn’t mind getting hit because of his impressive punching power.
Luque finishes his fights with 15 stoppages in 17 victories, including only three of a dozen UFC bout going to the judges’ scorecards. He is an aggressive fighter who constantly moves forward with powerful leg kicks and big punches. However, he plods too much to lure Stephen Thompson into an all-out war. If Thompson keeps his distance, which he surely will with his long stance, Wonderboy should be able to win a striking battle here. However, at age 36, there is a concern that Thompson no longer has the same speed and athleticism. But when you look at his previous fights, most of his losses have come from mental mistakes, not physical depreciation. I think Wonderboy has one last run. I can’t pick Luque at the same price as Thompson.
PREDICTION: THOMPSON -110
Derrick Lewis is the 5th ranked heavyweight in the UFC today The Black Beast challenged for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 230 but was choked out by Daniel Cormier. Lewis is coming off a knockout loss to Junior Dos Santos last March but doesn’t count him out as many people did against Francis Nagnnou and Alexander Volkov. The 34-year old from Texas stands 6-3 and has a reach of 79 inches. The Black Beast has a record of 21-7 with 18 knockouts and 1 win by submission. Lewis has one-punch knockout power and also has good leg kicks and knees that make him more dangerous in his attack.
Blagoy Ivanov is the 8th ranked heavyweight in the UFC rankings. The 33-year old Bulgarian was the former WSOF Heavyweight champion and a former gold medalist at the 2008 World Sambo Championships. Ivanov is 18-2 with six knockouts and six submission wins. He stands 5-11 with a reach of 73 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter. Ivanov is 2-0 this year with decision wins over Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa. While he is a very good striker, Ivanov isn’t a big puncher in the UFC and he only has two knockouts in his last 13 bouts.
It’s hard to pick a Derrick Lewis bout because while he was beaten as expected by Daniel Cormier and Junior Dos Santos in his last two bouts, he came up with incredible wins against Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov. Lewis is a bad man with 18 knockouts in 21 wins. He has knockout power even after a long and tiring flight. Ivanov only has two knockouts in his last 13 wins. He’s been more of a patient predator who has a good read on distance and range. I liked to pick Ivanov here because I think he has more skill but without that knockout power or elite takedown game, I think the Black Beast is going to beat him. I’d like to see a knockout here.
PREDICTION: LEWIS +100
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