Two of the most polarizing figures in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) collided over the weekend to earn the rightful distinction as the promotion’s Badass Motherf***** (BMF).
In one corner is Jorge Masvidal, an American mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete of Cuban and Peruvian descent who has been in the sport for more than a decade. He has a wealth of fight experience under various organizations on his résumé. Never in a boring fight, he remains a threat no matter the opponent because of his array of diverse striking and solid submission grappling.
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Up against him is Nate Diaz, a combatant who needs no introduction. The proud fighter from Stockton, California embodies what being an exciting, all-action fighter is all about. He has the heart, will, tenacity, and technical ability to give foes a rough time in the cage.
The Masvidal-Diaz match was the main event of UFC 244, held in NYC’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday, November 3. To commemorate the occasion, the Las Vegas-based MMA company created the “BMF” championship belt and handpicked WWE superstar-turned-Hollywood sensation Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to award the strap to the winner.
The two fan favorites wasted no time as they exchanged hard flurries within seconds at inside New York’s famous arena, which drew roars from the sold-out crowd. Masvidal was the first to do damage as a knee to the body and a standing elbow to the head staggered Diaz, crashing to the mat with a cut above his right eye. The 24-year-old spent the first half of the round standing over the trash-talking Diaz, throwing solid punches to the body and head.
Diaz found his groove midway of the opening salvo, landing some flush headshots of his own, and his momentum carried over into the second round. There, his forward pressure and volume punching had Masvidal on his heels at times, until a hard right hook from “Gamebred” sent the loudmouth Stockton resident to the canvas for the second time in the contest.
Masvidal’s hand speed and power continued to pay dividends. By the third round, the fight was lopsided in his favor as he landed thunderous kicks to Diaz’s body as well as punches that worsened the lacerations around his eye.
Between the third and fourth rounds, however, the welterweight clash ended unexpectedly. A New York State Athletic Commission ringside physician decided to wave it off due to the gory gash over Diaz’s right eye. While the cut was definitely trickling blood into his right eye, it did not appear to be significantly worse than the facial incisions in bouts that other commissions have allowed to continue.
Masvidal was delighted in his performance against Diaz, but he expressed his disappointment over the anticlimactic outcome of the scheduled five-round encounter.
“I told Nate right now, let’s run it back. UFC, make it happen. I don’t like to leave the ring like this with my opponent conscious. There’s only one way to do it, and that’s to baptize them,” he says in a post-fight interview. “Don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen again. The only strategy was to take him out. Nate is a dog. I was sitting on that chair going into the fourth and fifth rounds, and I was hyped. I was ready to go. I saw it in his eyes. He was ready to go for championship rounds. I’m not the doctor here, so don’t boo me. I came in here to fight.”
Diaz, for his part, let everyone knew that he also wanted a second date with Masvidal.
“I’m going back for this mother******. Let me heal this up and go again,” he declares. “I didn't think they were going to stop it. I was getting ready to get started.”
UFC president Dana White was unhappy with the result, but ultimately stood by it. “Obviously, when you put on an event, you want a definitive, spectacular finish, but you don’t get it all the time. When the fight ended, I thought that the fight should have gone on,” he says. “Then I just went on and saw Nate. I was looking at him, and I was going, maybe the fight shouldn’t have gone on. His eyebrow was flopped over like this, and he’s got another cut underneath the eye.”
Unlike Masvidal and Diaz, White surprisingly expressed his disinterest in pitting the two again. “I think that I got asked a couple of questions tonight. ‘Diaz comes on in the later rounds. If this fight had gone later, would they have stopped it?’ But it didn’t. It got stopped with cuts and Masvidal looked very dominant. And he looked good,” he explained.
With the impressive triumph over Diaz, Masvidal improved his professional record to 35-13. In addition, he won his third-straight match in 2019, making him a strong contender to claim “Fighter Of The Year” honors.
“He’s looked good all year. He’s had nothing but great fights all year,” White says. “There’re a lot of options for him I think right now. We’ll see how everything plays out.”