Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will clash TONIGHT (Nov. 2, 2019) for the BMF title from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Personally, I’m fairly ambivalent toward the whole BMF title thing. It’s a gimmick, a fun one, but a gimmick nonetheless. However, what is undeniable awesome is the stardom and success of both Diaz and Masvidal. These two athletes worked hard for years and years with little payoff, but they established a strong following with devoted fans of the sport. Late in their careers, they were able to to parlay that support into mainstream stardom and much larger salaries. It’s nearly unprecedented, and there aren’t any fighters who deserve it more.
Oh, and it’s going to be an incredible fight. What’s not to like?
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Conor McGregor (UFC 196), Michael Johnson (UFC on FOX 17), Anthony Pettis (UFC 241), Donald Cerrone (UFC 141), Jim Miller (UFC on FOX 3)
Key Losses: Conor McGregor (UFC 202), Raphael dos Anjos (UFC on FOX 13), Josh Thomson (UFC on FOX 7), Ben Henderson (UFC on FOX 5)
Keys to Victory: It’s no secret what the Stockton scrapper brings to the table. The lanky Southpaw puts punches in bunches on each of his opponents, but it’s really his toughness and conditioning that allow him to drown his foes in volume. In addition, Diaz is a jiu-jitsu black belt, and grappling with him is a risky prospect.
Between the two men, Diaz definitely has a more established approach, whereas Masvidal tends to adapt to his opponents. As such, it’s Diaz’s mission to keep this in the pocket and clinch, the two areas where he tends to excel. Expect Masvidal to trade occasionally, but he’s going to want to take advantage of historic weaknesses.
Diaz’s Southpaw stance could be hugely important in shutting down Masvidal’s jab, a weapon “Gamebred” relies upon heavily. If he can successfully occupy Masvidal’s left with his right hand, it will make it much easier for Diaz to score with his cross and close range into the clinch.
Given the skill and experience of each man, there’s likely to be plenty of close ranges and rounds. If Diaz is the one moving forward and jamming Masvidal into the fence, that could be the difference maker.
Key Wins: Ben Askren (UFC 239), Darren Till (UFC Fight Night 147), Donald Cerrone (UFC on FOX 23), Tim Means (UFC on FOX 7), James Krause (UFC 178)
Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 211), Stephen Thompson (UFC 217), Benson Henderson (UFC Fight Night 79)
Keys to Victory: Masvidal has a lot of skill and trickery in every area of the game. On the feet, Masvidal is a defensively sound boxer with a sharp jab and ripping body kick. In wrestling and jiu-jitsu exchanges, Masvidal is an expert in transition, often running laps around foes that try to keep up with him on the mat.
Diaz’s recent win over Anthony Pettis proved that running around the Octagon and trying to kick him in the leg doesn’t work anymore, and that’s not Masvidal’s style anyway. However, smart footwork is still a major key opposite Diaz, as one can punish a flat-footed fighter without running away.
As such, lateral movement will be very important. Masvidal doesn’t have to run, but if he can take an angle and force Diaz to turn and face, there will be abundant opportunities to land. In addition, Masvidal is quite good at timing an opponent’s head movement with a high kick, which is a tactic proven to work against Diaz.
Lastly, I’d like to see Masvidal mix in some takedown attempts. Masvidal is pretty damn good at picking up a leg, dropping it, and delivering hard punches rather than a takedown, which could be another useful way to land safely.
Bottom Line: Like it or not, this is a pretty historic moment.
Diaz is already a huge star. Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton to lose for Diaz. Win or lose, the potential for a Conor McGregor trilogy match is alive and well, and Diaz has proven that he can disappear for years at a time without his popularity taking a hit. There is something to be gained — perhaps the BMF title could be defended in future?
As for Masvidal, there’s a lot more on the line. This match up has proved a major boost to his popularity, but winning the BMF title would lock those fans in and draw even more eyes to his next match. Given his current win streak, Masvidal is also the more relevant Welterweight contender of the two, which means a third consecutive victory could see him earn a shot at the official title next.
It’s all coming together for Masvidal, but he needs to win to make the most of it.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 244 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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At UFC 244, Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will go to war in the main event. Which man will be declared the Baddest Motherf*cker?