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UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz

UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz (TV: Early Prelims ESPN +, Prelims ESPN2, Main Card ESPN + PPV)

Saturday, November 2nd Early Prelims 6:30 PM ET Prelims 8: 00 PM ET Main Card 10:00 PM ET Madison Square Garden (New York, New York)

Co-Main Event

Middleweight Fight: Kelvin Gastelum (16-4) vs. Darren Till (17-2-1)

Fight odds: Kelvin Gastelum -230 Darren Till +185

Main Event

Welterweight Fight (Baddest M.F. Title): Jorge Masvidal (34-13) vs. Nate Diaz (21-11)

Fight odds: Jorge Masvidal -160 Nate Diaz +130

UFC 244 Pick Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz

UFC 244 will return to New York with an exciting fight card. There are enthralling matchups and at the end of the night, the “Baddest M.F.” Title will be decided between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. The Co-Main Event will be a middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till. Gastelum is 28, 5’9 and 184 lbs with a 71.5 inch reach. Till is 26, 6’0 and 186 lbs with a 74.5 inch reach. The winner of this fight could be next in line to fight against Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Title. Gastelum has already fought Adesanya and gave him his toughest fight, losing by unanimous decision after a 5 Round war.

Gastelum will look to continue his momentum coming off two wins over Michael Bisping and Ronaldo Souza before losing to Adesanya in a competitive fight. Till is not the toughest opponent that Gastelum has ever faced and he should get the win over the younger fighter. Till is an interesting prospect that will be making the move up to middleweight (185 lbs) after previously fighting at welterweight (170 lbs). Till looked like he could possibly win the UFC Welterweight Title after knocking out Donald Cerrone and getting a decision win over Stephen Thompson.

But, Till’s forward trajectory was stopped after losing to Tyron Woodley by 2nd Round submission in the Welterweight Title fight. Till followed that up by losing to Jorge Masvidal by 2nd Round KO in his native London, England. The loss to Masvidal prompted Till to move up a weight division to see if he can have more success at 185 lbs. Woodley and Masvidal were a step up in competition for Till and Gastelum has proven to be one of the best middleweights, so he will be challenged once again. One of the weaknesses of Till is that he tends to stand tall with his chin out, making him easy to hit. Gastelum is the shorter, more compact fighter that can take advantage of Till’s questionable defensive skills.

Till should look to use his kicks and reach advantage to keep Gastelum on the outside and not allow himself to be pressured. Gastelum will not stop coming and has great endurance, so Till will need to be in great physical condition to keep up with Gastelum’s pace. The less intense weight cut should help Till come into the fight with more energy. With both fighters coming off losses they will both be hungry for a win. Gastelum showed excellent striking skills against Adesanya and the performance should give him confidence going in against a less formidable opponent in Till. Gasteulm may have the advantage on the feet and the ground, making this a difficult matchup for Till to win. Gastelum’s experience, punching power and wrestling acumen should result in a win over Till.      

The Main Event will feature two fan favorites as Jorge Masvidal will fight Nate Diaz for the Title of the “Baddest M.F.” in the UFC. While this is not an official Title, it is a huge fight that could determine who is next in line to challenge for the Welterweight Title. The next Welterweight Title fight has already been set for December 14th, when Kamaru Usman will defend his Title against Colby Covington. The winner of the Diaz-Masvidal fight should get the winner of the Usman-Covington fight to truly decide who is the best at 170 lbs. Masvidal is 34, 5’11 and 169.6 lbs with a 74 inch reach. Diaz is 34, 6’0 and 170.4 lbs with a 76 inch each.

Diaz is known for having great cardio and using combination punching to beat opponents either by submission or after taking an accumulation of punishment. Masvidal also has great cardio, but is known more for his one punch knockout power. This will be an exciting fight between two athletes that always come to fight. This bout should be full of action as it is unlikely that either man will want to take a step back. Expect most of this fight to be on the feet as both are excellent strikers with solid takedown defense. The reach of Diaz could present some difficulties for Masvidal, but he should be able to find his range over the course of 5 Rounds.

Masvidal might be the most popular fighter in the UFC after coming off of some great performances to set up this huge pay-per-view Main Event. He is coming off two impressive knockout wins over some decent opponents. Masvidal beat Darren Till by 2nd Round KO and followed that up with a 5 second knockout of Ben Askren in July of 2019. He got the fastest KO in UFC history with a flying knee as Askren was attempting a takedown and cemented himself as a force at welterweight. Masvidal has never backed down from a fight and will need to use all his skills to beat a warrior like Diaz. Masvidal has looked like an absolute destroyer in his two most recent fights and will look to out-strike Diaz in a great stand up battle.

UFC 244 Pick Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz

Diaz is coming off a unanimous decision over Anthony Pettis in August of 2019. That was the first fight Diaz had competed in since 2016. Diaz looked sharp following the long layoff and beat Pettis by utilizing a high pace and great boxing to beat up the smaller Pettis over the course of 3 Rounds. Pettis didn’t have the physical tools to challenge Diaz and it was a good warm up fight for Diaz who will look to make a statement against Masvidal. The key for Diaz will be to remain active and look to change angles against Masvidal who can end the fight with one punch.

Diaz has proven to not have the best defense and often employs the tactic of taking a punch to land a punch. Diaz will have to be careful doing this against a powerful striker in Masvidal who has 15 knockouts in 34 wins. Diaz is not as big a puncher and has 4 knockouts in 20 wins. The striking activity and wrestling skills of Diaz should keep this fight competitive throughout. Masvidal’s punching power could end up being the difference in this fight as Diaz will likely take a lot of punishment. Masvidal has all the momentum and should continue this against Diaz in a 5 Round war. The longer fight may favor Diaz and his cardio, but Masvidal seems to finally have figured out all the aspects of the fight game, both mentally and physically. This should be a fight of the year contender that Masvidal is just able to edge out.

Kelvin Gastelum by 2nd Round KO

Jorge Masvidal by Decision