Madison Square Garden in New York City will play host to UFC 244 on Saturday night in what should be one of the most memorable evenings in recent years for the fight game. In what will be the UFC’s 500th live event, the undercard is stacked with battles between some of the sports best including Kevin Lee vs Gregor Gillespie and Kelvin Gastelum vs Darren Till.
The main event of the evening, however, is what fight fans are willing to throw their money at faster than a Jon Jones left. Two of the sport’s most iconic gangsters of all time will enter the octagon when Nate Diaz (+138) takes on Jorge Masvidal (-170) with the winner taking home the ‘one-and-done’ Baddest Mother F***** (BMF) belt. Let’s take a deeper look at this welterweight matchup to see where we can find some value.
Jorge Masvidal (34-13-0) vs. Nate Diaz (20-11-0)
These odds were taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on November 1, 2019.
Just over a week ago this fight was in question when Diaz had tested positive for traces of Ligandrol, a selective androgen receptor modulator, that would’ve removed him from this fight. A subsequent charade from the UFC cleared Diaz, stating it was related to a tainted batch of organ vegan multivitamins. For the Diaz camp, this is yet another notch on the belt and chip on the shoulder for a guy that has been outcasted in many respects from a company in the UFC desperate for him to conform to their improving public image.
After a three-year hiatus from fighting, Diaz returned to the octagon in August at UFC 241 to fight Anthony Pettis who he defeated by unanimous decision. The decorated fighter once again dominated in the octagon, controlling that fight from start to finish looking poised for one more run at a belt before it’s all said and done. It’s what happened after the fight that led to this one, as Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal, who was in attendance, to find out who the baddest motherf****** in the game truly was.
Largely a UFC journeyman for much of his career, Masvidal has earned Performance of the Night honors in three of his last five fights, including the fastest knockout in UFC history in his last time in the octagon. At UFC 239 over the summer, Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren with a flying knee in just five seconds, in one of the most iconic UFC moments of all time. A native of Miami, Florida, like Diaz, Masvidal grew up fighting in the streets and is widely known for his gangster persona and thus has been kept from many of the company’s promotional materials and big cards over the years.
Since 2016, Masvidal has lost just twice, both decisions against studs in Stephen Thompson (unanimous) and Demian Maia (split). Before the Askren fight last summer, Masvidal faced off with Darren Till in a back and forth fight that saw Masvidal get dropped in the first round before ending it himself with a knockout in the second. An area of Masvidal’s game where he holds an edge over Diaz is his submission grappling, in which he’s a decorated competitor from his time before the UFC. The only problem for Masvidal, and it could be a big one, is getting the long and lanky Diaz to the ground in the first place.
Looking at these two fighters on paper is nearly a dead-even proposition. Both are right around 6’0″ and 170 pounds. Both are scrappy fighters who thrive standing up and exchanging blows. But I think most importantly, both fighters are nearing the end of their careers and need this fight to keep their upward momentum going. In what will be a five-round event, rare for a non-title bout, both of these guys also have the stamina to go the distance. My edge goes to Diaz, who is more experienced in big-time fights like this. While I see this as even in many respects, I love the value he provides as an underdog here.