It’s a UFC first at Madison Square Garden this weekend, as Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal and Nate Diaz go toe-to-toe for the Baddest Mother****** (BMF) Belt on Saturday night.
Two battle-hardened welterweights, two mouths that like to tell it how it is, two men who both believe they’re the baddest mixed martial artist around, and one atypical finding from an out-of-competition drugs test. Nate Diaz pulled out of UFC 244’s main event at the end of last week on account of an elevated substance called LGD-4033, but it turns out no doping violation has been committed. UFC president Dana White spoke of his confidence in Diaz’s status as a clean athlete as he confirmed this bout with Jorge Masvidal will go ahead as planned.
Diaz to win by submission
The five-round contest is the second of Diaz’s comeback following a three-year hiatus that ended with a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in August. Despite now being 34, the Stockton brawler looked as though he’d never been away from the Octagon in that impressive performance. The potential to go 25 minutes will test his cardio, but Diaz has always been strong in that department. He’s also a strong submitter, having recorded the fourth-most submissions in UFC history. Diaz usually starts relatively slowly while he tries to wear down his opponents, and that could be a useful tactic once more to last course and distance here, or force a late submission.
Masvidal to win in the first round
Jorge Masvidal’s last fight couldn’t provide any more of a contrast to those sentiments. Gamebred recorded the fastest knockout in UFC history as he landed a stunning flying knee to settle his grudge match with Ben Askren in just five seconds. If the referee had been closer, it would’ve been three. There’s little chance of Masvidal trying anything similar against such a wily campaigner as Diaz, nor would Diaz fall for such a trick. Masvidal is probably riding his highest wave in the UFC after recovering from back-to-back decision defeats against Demian Maia and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in 2017, to win successive fights against Askren and former title contender Darren Till this year after taking the whole of 2018 off.
Fight to go the distance
With both men back with a bang, this fight will decide who continues on their upward trajectory in the welterweight standings. Currently, Masvidal is ranked as the #3 contender in the division, while Diaz is #6 despite his lengthy absence. Saturday’s contest is likely to ebb and flow, with Masvidal making a stronger start and Diaz coming into the fight before taking control in the later rounds. The question is whether we’ll get to them or not. Both of these men are incredibly durable, which suggests we will. Masvidal has heavy hands and will hurt Diaz in the early rounds, but Diaz will continue to come forward and pick up rounds on the judges’ cards. As the underdog with all of the best betting sites, there could be some good value on Diaz to win via decision this weekend.
Diaz to win via decision
Nate Diaz to win the fight
With the BMF Belt on the line, as well as the future prospects for each of these 34-year-olds, this looks like being a fiercely contested and bruising encounter. Nate Diaz usually shines in this kind of fight, but Jorge Masdival is tougher than most. The Miami native will have a major say in this bout, particularly in the early rounds, but Diaz has incredible resilience and durability, and he’ll keep coming at Masvidal. Diaz’s performance against Anthony Pettis was hugely impressive, blowing out any ring rust that may have built up with consummate ease. Setting his sights on one last crack at UFC gold, we’re backing Diaz to at least add the BMF title to his CV this weekend.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
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