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 bout at the end of the third round because of several cuts on 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).
Biggest Winner: Corey Anderson
We get it, Masvidal is “the baddest motherfucker” after winning in the main event, but even “Gamebred” wasn’t too happy with the way it all went down, so while his performance was dominant, let’s put him aside for now and give Corey Anderson the nod here. That’s because “Overtime” may have punched his ticket to a title shot against Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, after ending Johnny Walker in the very first round, ending his nine-fight win streak and previously undefeated (4-0) run inside the Octagon.
Indeed, Walker was the talk of the weight class, especially after his last two knockout performances, leading many to believe he could give “Bones” a run for his money given his size and length. Anderson, however, was determined to get his due and did just that by knocking out the towering Brazilian bomber. Afterward, Anderson took to the media to demand a title shot or be released from his contract. While I’m sure there are better ways to go about it, it seems “Overtime” is going all in on his quest for a shot at Jones. That said, he still may not get it, as undefeated (12-0, 6-0 UFC) Dominick Reyes has also made a strong case for a championship bout.
Runner Up: Kevin Lee
Lee ended his two-fight skid in impressive fashion by absolutely obliterating Gregor Gillespie in the first round via devastating head kick knockout (recap). With the win, Lee not only earns a new lease on his combat life after dropping back down to Lightweight, but he hands the previously-undefeated (13-0, 6-0 UFC) Gillespie his first professional loss after running through the competition like a hot knife through butter. “The Motown Phenom” proved that he is far from done after being written off by many following back-to-back defeats to Al Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos. Indeed, Lee put the 155-pound division on notice and proved that he is back and better than ever under the tutelage of a whole new fight team in TriStar.
Biggest Loser: Kelvin Gastelum
Look, his performance wasn’t horrible (but not great, either), and he did barely get edged out in a close split-decision by Darren Till, but Gastelum gets the spot here for the fact that he has now lost two straight. Gastelum came up short in his bid to capture the interim Middleweight title a few months back against Israel Adesayna.
Against Till, Gastelum was hoping to earn a dominant win in order to get on the fast track back to a title fight. Instead, he ran into a determined “Gorilla” looking to right his own ship after losing two in a row. With back-to-back defeats on his resume, Gastelum will have to dig deeper and try even harder to climb back to the top. He will drop a few rankings and have to win impressively in his next two or three outings to get in the mix. That said, he is still just 28 years old, so he has plenty of time to fulfill his championship dreams.
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