UFC 244 went down last night (Sat., Nov. 2, 2019) inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., which saw Jorge Masvidal defeat Nate Diaz in a rather anti-climactic ending to an otherwise great fight, as the ringside doctor decided to call the fight at the end of the third round because of cuts to Diaz’s face (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Darren Till made good on his Middleweight debut, defeating Kelvin Gastelum via split decision (recap).
Winner: Jorge Masvidal
Who He Should Fight Next: Nate Diaz rematch ... maybe
Masvidal won the “BMF” title after the fight was stopped due to the damage he delivered on the face of Diaz. No, people weren’t happy, but it was a fair win. Afterward, both men were adamant that an instant rematch was the only thing to do after the rather unexpected finish to what was an otherwise entertaining bout through the first three rounds. The problem is, there is no guarantee that the two will get their wish for a rematch, as Dana White didn’t sound too committed to making it happen. That means Masvidal could very well be in line for a Welterweight title fight against the winner of the upcoming showdown between division champion, Kamaru Usman, and Colby Covington. Either way, it’s a win-win for “Gamebred” ... not-so much for Diaz.
Winner: Darren Till
Who He Should Fight Next: Jack Hermansson
The thing with Till is in his 185-pound debut, he defeated the No. 4 guy, so it’s going to be hard for him to go backward from here. That said, I can’t justify giving him Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa or Robert Whittaker next. I don’t even think a fight against Jared Cannonier makes sense, either. That leaves a fight against Jack Hermansson. Ranked No. 6, Hermansson is coming off a knockout loss to the aforementioned Jared Cannonier, which ended his four-fight win streak and a potential shot at the strap. He could give Till a great challenge, and “The Gorilla” won’t enjoy the size and reach advantage here, so he will be in for a tough fight. But if he can take out “The Joker,” his run up to a championship fight will be expedited.
Winner: Kevin Lee
Who He Should Face Next: Dan Hooker
Lee made his way back into the win column in emphatic fashion, knocking out Gregor Gillespie violently in the first round to snap his two-fight losing streak. It was a much-needed win for “The Motown Phenom,” who has loses in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, but it’s clear his home is 155 pounds. I’m feeling a fight between Lee and Hooker next. “Hangman” scored his second straight win a few weeks back after defeating Al Iaquinta at UFC 243. Afterward, he called for a fight against Dustin Poirier and was firmly denied. Dan is ranked a couple of spots ahead of Lee, so I don’t think Kevin would turn down this fight. Hooker, meanwhile, is seemingly looking for the bigger fights, but the people ahead of him are eying title and money-fights. In theory, this fight makes sense, it’s just a matter of convincing “The Hangman.”
Winner: Derrick Lewis
Who He Should Fight Next: Curtis Blaydes
Lewis escaped “The Big Apple” with a close split-decision victory over Blagoy Ivanov. Up next for “Black Beast” should be a hard-hitting showdown against Curtis Blaydes. It’s hard to believe that these men have yet to cross paths, especially since Blaydes has fought Francis Ngannou twice already. This fight makes sense for both as Blaydes won’t be facing Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier or Francis Ngannou (again) anytime soon. Junior dos Santos is on the bench for a bit, so these two are the odd men out.
Winner: Stephen Thompson
Who He Should Fight Next: Rafael dos Anjos
Thompson got a much-needed win last night after dismantling Vicente Luque in what was an absolute striking clinic from “Wonderboy.” I think a fight against dos Anjos makes sense. “RDA” is coming off a loss against top division contender, Leon Edwards, so he needs a big win to stay in the mix, and Stephen fits the billing. Both men love to strike and dos Anjos could test Thompson on the ground should it get there. For Thompson, taking out a former world champion like “RDA” could be an even bigger boost to gain some momentum in a highly-competitive division. I like this fresh match up.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 244: “Masvidal vs. Diaz” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.