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UFC 244: Masvidal vs Diaz - Nov 2 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 2nd November. New York City. Madison Square Garden. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz - BMF Title

Kelvin Gastelum vs Darren Till 

Wonderboy Thompson vs Vicente Luque 

Derrick Lewis vs Blagoy Ivanov

Kevin Lee vs Gregor Gillespie

 

ESPN PRELIMS
Johnny Walker vs Corey Anderson

Shane Burgos vs Makwan Amirkhani 

Brad Tavares vs Edmen Shahbazyan

 

ESPN+ PRELIMS
Andrei Arlovski vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik 

Katlyn Chookagian vs Jennifer Maia

Lyman Good vs Chance Rencountre

Julio Arce vs Hakeem Dawodu 

 

What a fucking card that is. So many great fights there and very little filler. I love the poster too with the play on the old ‘Parental Advisory’ thing. I think that’s the correct bout order but if it changes, I’ll change it. 

 

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Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz is your bad motherfucking main event. Supposedly for this BMF Title. All a bit cringey to me. I love the fight itself. It didn’t need the gimmick of a bollocks championship belt but whatever, I’ll roll with it. 

I’ve never been a fan of Jorge Masvidal. Well, actually nobody else was either until this year. His fan club consisted only of people with the surname Masvidal, Yoel Romero and Ebb. Now everyone’s suddenly on the bandwagon but it’s taken people a long time to get on board. Jorge came up on the Kimbo Slice street fight videos in the early days of YouTube. 

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There’s a young Jorge in what appears to be Emmanuel Yarbrough’s back garden. Ready to scrap. He did this on and off for a few years from what I can gather. And I think he even had a few street fights after his pro MMA career began but it’s all sketchy. 

Roughly around this same time, Nate Diaz was in his late teens and following in the footsteps of his older brother, BJJ black-belt and UFC fighter Nick Diaz. Nate followed the same path as Nick and focused his training around BJJ, Boxing and conditioning. By the time he was 17/18, he was throwing down in school gyms.

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There’s Nate on the right. Looking about as ‘gangsta’ as Roy Cropper.

2003: Jorge turns pro as a MMA fighter and quickly goes 4-0 in a promotion called AFC. 

2004: Masvidal only fights once this year and wins by decision. Nate makes his MMA debut in October at WEC 12. He wins by submission. 

2005: A rough year for both. Jorge fights three times and goes 1-2. He beats Joe Lauzon but loses to Raphael Assuncao and some fucker named Paul Rodriguez. Nate fights once in Pancrase and drops a decision to Koji Oishi. Oishi had just been battered by big bro Nick at UFC 53 a couple of months earlier. The year ends with Masvidal at 6-2 and Diaz at 1-1. 

2006: Both men bounce back in style. Masvidal fights four times, wins all of them and also becomes AFC’s Welterweight champion. 

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Nate fights five times and goes 4-1. The loss being a submission to future UFC veteran and nonce case Hermes Franca at WEC 24. 

2007: Another strong year. Both go undefeated in 2007. Masvidal wins three fights. Most notably, a headkick KO against Yves Edwards. He also appears in Strikeforce for the first time. Nate gets his big break, appearing on The Ultimate Fighter 5 and winning the whole thing. 

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As well as winning TUF itself and a UFC contract, he raised his profile and kind of stepped out of the shadow of his brother. He beat Manny Gamburyan in the finals in anti-climatic circumstances due to injury. He followed that up with a submission over Junior Assuncao in September. 

2008: Jorge gets another four fights in and goes 3-1. Gets stopped by Rodrigo Damm in June but bounces back with two wins to close out the year. Nate builds on his momentum coming off the TUF win. He goes 3-0 with 2 subs. Most memorable being his double flex, double middle fingers triangle choke on Kurt Pellegrino in April. 

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G shit. 

2009: Four more fights for Jorge. And he goes 3-1 again. Fights at Bellator 1 in April and TKOs Nick Agallar in the tournament quarter final. But then in the semis in May, this happens...

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Toby Imada chokes him the fuck out with an inverted triangle. Still maybe the most stunning submission I’ve ever seen. Either this or Korean Zombie’s twister. I can’t choose one over the other. Jorge rebounds though with two stoppage wins to end 2009 on a high note. Speaking of high, Nate’s little run of wins goes down the shitter here. He loses decisions in back-to-back fights to Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson. He redeems himself somewhat with a submission over Melvin Guillard in September. We close 2009 with Masvidal at 19-4 and Diaz at 11-4. 

2010: Masvidal goes 1-2. Loses on points to Paul Daley at a Shark Fights event in September. Haven’t seen it in years but I remember it being a bit of a controversial decision at the time. I’ll have to watch it again. If for no other reason than it having Don Frye on commentary. Nate loses a decision to fellow TUF 5 contestant Gray Maynard in January. He then moves up to Welterweight where he TKOs Rory Markham in March and submits Marcus Davis in August. 

2011: All Strikeforce for Masvidal. But still patchy in form. He goes the distance in all three fights and beats Billy Evangelista and KJ Noons, earning himself a crack at the Strikeforce Lightweight belt in December. 

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And it would be against a longtime friend and teammate of the Diaz brothers, Gilbert Melendez. I remember this being a disappointing and lacklustre fight with Gil just proving too crafty and shutting him down. 

Meanwhile in the UFC, it was a 50/50 year for Nate. He lost to Dong Hyun Kim in January and got ragdolled and chucked all over the place by Rory MacDonald in April. The Rory loss in particular was so dominant that it seemed clear that 170 wasn’t Nate’s weight class. He got completely overpowered. He dropped back to 155 and walked through Takanori Gomi in a round in September. Then finished the year handing Donald Cerrone an absolute arse kicking. 

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Cowboy got fucking battered. To this day, one of Nate’s finest hours. Going in I thought Cerrone would outstrike him quite handily and kick the shit out of his legs. But he got his head boxed off and totally outworked 

2012: Jorge fights once, beating Justin Wilcox on points in July. This would be Jorge’s last fight in Strikeforce as the UFC was about to take over the world, dissolve the roster and poach all their best talent. Nate fights twice. And it’s another 50/50 year. He looks spectacular beating down and submitting Jim Miller in May. This sets him up for his first crack at UFC gold on Big FOX in December. Where then champ Benson Henderson pretty much schools him to a shutout. 

2013: Masvidal finally enters the Octagon. And it starts off well. His first two fights in the promotion are on FOX. In his UFC debut in April, he decisions Tim Means. Then in July he submits Michael Chiesa with a D’Arce choke. As usual though, his momentum doesn’t last long. He loses to Rustam Khabilov in November on the Fight For The Troops show. 50/50 Nate is back again. He gets headkicked into oblivion by Josh Thomson in April. This is still the only time Nate’s ever been stopped by strikes. It was a bad one. You know it’s a brutal finish when Nick Diaz throws the towel in! Nate came back in style in November, smashing old rival Gray Maynard to pieces. 

2014: Jorge finally has a perfect year. He goes 3-0 with points wins over Pat Healy, Daron Cruickshank and James Krause. Diaz fights once, in December, and gets savaged by Rafael Dos Anjos for the full 15 minutes. 

2015: Back to the land of inconsistency for Masvidal. He gets a finish over Cezar Ferreira in July. But it’s sandwiched between split decision losses to Al Iaquinta and Benson Henderson. It was around this time I really started losing interest in Masvidal. He always clearly had skills but it was often frustrating to watch him fight as it nearly always seemed to play out the same. Close decisions where you felt like he could’ve done more. Nate only fights once in 2015. He clowns Michael Johnson to a one way traffic decision then calls out Conor McGregor post-fight. 

2016: Jorge starts the year off losing another fucking split decision to Lorenz Larkin. He then beats Ross Pearson on points in July and stops the shell of Jake Ellenberger in December. For Nate, 2016 was all about that Red Panty Night. Even though he’d called out McGregor after the Johnson fight, I don’t think anyone truly thought it would happen. Why would it? McGregor was on top of the world, had just knocked Jose Aldo out in 13 seconds and was the UFC’s Featherweight champion and biggest star. Nate had fought once in 12 months and had lost a bunch of his most recent fights. But McGregor was set to face Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196 in March and RDA broke his foot and had to withdraw. With the UFC scrambling for a replacement on just 2 weeks notice, Nate swooped in and the rest is history. 

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They fought at 170lbs and there was no title or real stakes. Everyone just said ‘fuck it’ and made the fight that people wanted to see. They went to war. Nate took a load of damage but wouldn’t fuck off and when he came through the worst of it, Conor was gassed. So Diaz did what Diaz’s do to gassed opponents. Boxed his face in, talked shit, boxed his face in some more, then strangled him. 

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”Fook. This isn’t going te plan.” 

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”Argh bollocks ye...” tap tap tap

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“I’m not surprised, motherfucker.”

Conor got dragged into deep water and drowned. Naturally, everyone was clamouring for the rematch and they did it again at UFC 202 in August. This time McGregor got the win, fucking barely, on the scorecards. All tied at 1-1. Nate then disappeared with his paycheque into a cloud of marijuana smoke, never to be seen again. Well, for 3 years anyway. 

2017: Masvidal is at it again. He has a big breakthrough win on FOX in January, knocking Donald Cerrone out. Then proceeds to lose frustrating decisions to Demian Maia and Wonderboy Thompson. Natey Boy Spliff didn’t grace us with his presence all year. 

2018: ...

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No Jorge. No Nate. Both off being gangstas, I suppose. 

2019: And here we go. It’s finally revealed what Jorge Masvidal was doing with his 2018. Growing his hair.

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He turns up in London for his fight with Darren Till with the new look and is quickly dubbed ‘Cuban Jesus’ and ‘Street Jesus’. Things like that. Hilarious. The laughing stopped when he knocked Till out cold with a left hook though.

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The way Till’s head bounces off the canvas is horrible. He followed that up by getting into a scuffle with Leon Edwards backstage after the show. Which is where the annoying “3-piece and a soda” and “super necessary” catchphrases were born. Which it feels like everyone’s been quoting and tweeting incessantly for the last 6 fucking months. 

Then in July at UFC 239, Jorge was matched up with Ben Askren. And I think everyone expected Askren to just drag Mr 3-Piece to the mat and smother him to a decision. But...

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5 seconds is all it took. Then there was about a 20 second spell where I honestly thought Askren might be dead. There’s been a lot of revisionist shite since but nobody called it to go like that. Even people picking Masvidal couldn’t have predicted something that barmy. And I still think it’s a bad matchup stylistically for Masvidal, as nuts as that sounds now. He just played it perfectly on the night. After that, it seemed like the options for Masvidal were either a title shot, settling the score with Edwards, or something crazy like enticing Conor McGregor away from Twitter for a bit. But the Welterweight title picture was a mess, he wasn’t interested in Edwards and Conor...ah, sod it. 

Nate was back though. It seemed to come out of nowhere. One day it was just announced. It all came together quickly and before we knew it, Nate was in the cage with Anthony Pettis.

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After 3 years away, nobody knew quite what to expect. It was an exciting fight as expected but Nate was pretty much dominant and won a convincing decision. 

Then it happened. 

“Jorge Masvidal had a good last fight. All respect to the man but there ain’t no gangstas in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who’s done it right but me and him. So I know my man’s a gangsta but he ain’t no West Coast Gangsta.” - Nate Diaz 

Masvidal was in the front row looking pleased as punch with all this. He’d said to the media that if he couldn’t get a title shot next he wanted a big name and specifically name dropped Diaz as someone he’d sign to fight in a heartbeat. Somewhere along the line, the goofy talk of this Bad Motherfucker belt came up and for some reason it grew legs to the point Dana White is apparently getting an actual belt made. A BMF belt. I’ve seen stuff about it costing $50K and that The Rock is going to strap it on the winner after the fight.

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It’s all a bit weird but whatever. As a one-off thing it’s fun, I guess. And the main thing is we get a cracking fight out of it. Don’t really have any idea how it’s going to play out. As much as I find him annoying, Masvidal has had a hell of a year. Can’t take that away from him. After years of all those close decisions, he busts out two of the most incredible knockouts of the year in consecutive fights. And over top contenders. Fuck, Askren was undefeated going in. He’s done good. And Nate’s Nate. You never know one fight to the next. It’s probably going to be Boxing heavy and mid-fight shit talk heavy but beyond that I really don’t know what to expect. 

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One thing that’s pretty much guaranteed though, this is going to be anything but dull. Even if Masvidal tries to revert to his frustrating, doing the bare minimum style he had at times in the past, I don’t think Nate’s output and pace will allow for that. Nate’s style forces a dogfight and Jorge will be up for that. 

 

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Kelvin Gastelum vs Darren Till is the MSG co-main event. Love this. Till teased it originally on Twitter but Dana shot it down at the time. Then all of a sudden it was back on and official. There’s been talk of Till moving up to Middleweight for a while now. He was a huge Welterweight and the cut to 170 must’ve been rough. But his losses to Woodley and Masvidal also completely shut him out of the title race at 170 anyway. So this fresh start made all the sense in the world really. But Kelvin Gastelum for your Middleweight debut? I’m not sure that’s such a good move. Gastelum is a beast. He’s beat Jacare, knocked the fuck out of Michael Bisping, bashed Vitor Belfort and Tim Kennedy. He’s a bloody handful. Especially at 185. Despite his short and stocky frame, he’s consistently found a way to get in range and land his shots on bigger opponents. No better example than his last fight against Israel Adesanya in April. That is still the front runner for FOTY so far for me. So Till has his work cut out here. If he can beat a guy like Gastelum right out the gate at 185, it’ll be a massive statement and would immediately put him straight into the title picture. Style-wise this should be a banger too. Can’t see this being anything but mayhem. 

 

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Wonderboy Thompson vs Vicente Luque is such a fan friendly fight. On paper this looks like the UFC are trying to throw Wonderboy a bone. He’s coming off that out of the blue KO loss to Anthony Pettis in March and he lost that dull decision to Till before that. He needs a win badly. And Luque has the kind of aggressive striking style that you’d think Wonderboy will be able to take advantage of with his counter attacking Karate game. I wouldn’t sleep on Luque though. He’s a hard bastard, tough, coming off 6 wins and has power. He’s also nearly a decade Wonderboy’s junior. I like this fight. It’s a good matchup for Thompson, IMO, but it’s also the kind of step up Luque needs at this point. 

 

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Derrick Lewis vs Blagoy Ivanov. You know how it goes with the Black Beast by now. There’s always about a 50/50 chance of it either being stupidly exciting to watch or plodding and a bit embarrassing. But whichever way it goes it’s usually perversely entertaining to watch. There’s always something to talk about after a Derrick Lewis fight. Either some mad comeback KO, or his mid-fight back spasms or telling you the temperature of his bollocks after the fight. There’s always something. This could be a tough one for him though. Ivanov is granite hard. Doesn’t do anything pretty or flashy but he can take it and dish it out. He’s beat Tai Tuivasa and Ben Rothwell in his last two outings. Lewis seriously needs that W after losses to JDS and Cormier in his last two. Hopefully the Beast gets back on track here. 

 

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Kevin Lee vs Gregor Gillespie is a very interesting matchup to me. Two men in completely different places in their careers at the moment but both are looking to get in the hunt in the stacked Lightweight division. A big win here for either man puts them in a good place going into 2020. Lee is in a tough place at the moment. He’s only 27 years old but he’s had some real jarring setbacks of late. He was being hyped up as the next big star at 155 until Tony Ferguson submitted him back in 2017. He bounced back with an impressive win over Edson Barboza but lost to Al Iaquinta in his next fight. Then he tried to make a fresh start at 170 and got turned away at gate by Rafael Dos Anjos, who tapped him in May. Lee took that loss especially hard and seemed really disillusioned after the fight with how his career was going. After a little break, he’s back for another run at 155. But he’s up against Gregor Gillespie who’s a bit of an unknown commodity at the moment but he’s undefeated at 13-0, a fantastic wrestler and this could be his breakthrough moment. He’s a New Yorker as well so MSG is going to feel like home for him. The more I think about it, this could be disaster for Lee. His avenues to get back in the title picture are getting shut down at every turn, at both 155 and 170, and now they’re throwing him in with an unbeaten prospect in his backyard. 

 

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Johnny Walker vs Corey Anderson is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** solely because of Johnny Walker. It’s a bit of a weird one for me. On the one hand I love Johnny Walker. He’s must-see TV for me every time. On the other hand, I find Corey Anderson insufferably dull. Seems a nice enough bloke but I just can’t get into his fights. He’s not a bad fighter, he’s actually very decent. But he just bores me. And I hate the thought of him spoiling the fun here. Walker is 17-3 overall. He’s 3-0 so far in the UFC with 3 first round spectacular, highlight reel knockouts. The only damage he’s sustained so far in the UFC is when he dislocated his own shoulder doing The Worm after his last fight. He’s brilliant. Not saying he’s a future champ or anything but he’s a way more appealing challenger for Jon Jones than fucking Boring Corey could ever hope to be.

 

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Shane Burgos vs Makwan Amirkhani will understandably get overshadowed on a card like this but it should be really good. Burgos is from New York, he’s 12-1 with the only loss coming to Calvin Kattar in a fight he was doing well in. He beat Cub Swanson in his last fight. Amirkhani is from Finland, 15-3 record with 11 finishes. 5-1 in the UFC. Scored an 8 second flying knee KO in his UFC debut. Submitted Chris Fishgold with a sweet anaconda choke in his last fight in June. He’s great to watch. The only thing that’s held him back has been injuries. Looking forward to this one. 

 

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Brad Tavares vs Edmen Shahbazyan. This has just came together. Tavares was supposed to fight Ian Heinisch on the Singapore card. Shahbazyan was slated to fight Krzysztof Jotko on this card. Heinisch and Jotko both pulled out so Tavares got moved to MSG. Tough test for Shahbazyan. Tavares is an experienced veteran who’s taken Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero the distance. Shahbazyan is only 21 years old and he’s 10-0 with 9 finishes. A protégé of Ronda Rousey. He’s got a lot of potential. If he can beat a guy like Tavares the way he’s beat most of his opponents so far then the sky’s the limit with him. 

 

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Andrei Arlovski vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik could be a fun Heavyweight brawl or it could be a bit sad to watch. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be more the latter. Arlovski has been hanging on for a long time now. He’s had a funny old career really. Hot streaks followed by really bad slumps followed by bright spells followed by flat performances. It’s been so up and down, even by Heavyweight MMA standards. He’s coming off a win over Ben Rothwell but I don’t know. He doesn’t look completely shot when you watch him. It’s not like BJ Penn, Rashad Evans or Bigfoot Silva at the end. He still moves well and he can still crack. And he’s got better about avoiding those big KO bombs he used to get put away with regularly. His chin won’t have repaired itself so it can only be that he’s tightened up his defence. Fair play. I just think his time has gone. He’s 40 now and he’s got an insane amount of miles on him. He fought at UFC 28, for fuck’s sake. This is UFC 244. Rozenstruik is fresh as far as MMA is concerned. Although he’s a veteran of 80-odd Kickboxing fights. He’s 31 years old, undefeated at 8-0 with 7 knockouts. He KO’d Allen Crowder in just 9 seconds in his last fight in June.

 

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Katlyn Chookagian vs Jennifer Maia is just filler. Can’t say I give much of a toss either way. Chookagian usually bores me and I can’t even remember Maia. Chookagian outpointed Joanne Calderwood and dragged her into probably the crappiest snoozer of her career last time out. Maia is coming off decisions over Roxanne Modafferi and Alexis Davis. Easily the fight I’m least into on this card.

 

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Lyman Good vs Chance Rencountre is a fight I’m not really bothered about. Good’s alright. 20-5-1 record. Used to fight in Bellator, mixed results in the UFC. He got walked through by Demian Maia back in February. He’s a New Yorker so he’ll probably get decent support here. Rencountre is 14-3 and I have no recollection of ever seeing him fight. Which either means I haven’t or he was just that forgettable. 

 

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Julio Arce vs Hakeem Dawodu could well steal the show. And I’m not joking. Even on a card as loaded as this. I think these two match up perfectly for utter chaos. I like the bits of Arce I’ve seen (go on, insert your Kenneth Williams jpgs here). He looked awesome in his last fight against Julian Erosa in May. It’ll have gone under the radar because it was on the Fight Pass prelims. I only caught it by luck myself but I was very impressed. Looked really sharp in the striking and ended it with a beautiful headkick KO. And Dawodu is no joke himself. ‘Mean Hakeem’ is 10-1-1 with 7 knockouts in MMA. He’s also got a 12-0 Kickboxing record and a 42-5 amateur Muay Thai record. Looked a beast knocking out Yoshinori Horie in his last fight. All that and he’s still only 27. I think we’re either getting a highlight reel knockout either way or an all-out war here.

 

That’s it. UFC 244 is straight up gangsta trippin’

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Edited by wandshogun09

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