Jorge Masvidal captures the UFC’s inaugural BMF title — beats Nate Diaz via TKO (Doctor Stoppage)
With a stacked card from the opening bout to the main event, UFC’s fourth show in Madison Square Garden delivered just like the previous three. With almost like a WWE layout, it seems as though the UFC now have two shows to look for on the calendar for an action packed night along with international fight week which usually takes place around June/July of each year. Now, MSG has the same feel to it and again, it lived up to the billing for the most part until the co-main and main events arrived.
The president of the U.S., Donald Trump was in attendance, as well as many other celebrities to witness the violence by two of the sports longest and most game fighters in Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. With the main event dawning, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s WWE theme song sounded out through the arena as the former pro wrestler turned Hollywood mega star was given an entrance of his own to carry the UFC’s one and only model of the “BMF” title cage side, as well as to get the crowd on their feet in anticipation for the fight which was about to take place. It was a new but very smart move on the UFC’s part to have the self proclaimed most electrifying man in sports entertainment be the one presenting the title to the winner.
The magnitude of this bout was so big, that the MGM Grand in Las Vegas delayed Canelo Alvarez’s bout with Sergey Kovalev and contacted the UFC to seek permission to show their main event in their arena as they saw themselves as no competition going head to head with a Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal headliner.
In New York, “Gamebred” stepped into the octagon as the oddsmakers favorite, but nobody could have predicted that he would have such a one sided performance. When the action got under way, the crowd went back and forth with cheers for both Diaz and Masvidal and they were treated to an exciting contest. Masvidal had Diaz in a world of hurt only a minute into the bout, landing heavy elbows in the clinch and chasing down Diaz to catch him with rights and lefts and then a kick to the head which saw the Stockton, Calif. native hit the canvas with two nasty cuts gaping above and under his right eye. Diaz, a crafty veteran, seized every opportunity to allow himself to recover by throwing up a guard which could almost invite Masvidal to the ground, but also to prevent any serious punishment from strikes. It just seemed everything “Gamebred” attempted happened to find its home and he was quickly running ahead of Nate in terms of being in control of the contest.
A game Diaz was always going to be right in Masvidal’s face — looking to stay busy and find a home for shots of his own, but on the feet, it seemed to be Masvidal beating him to the punch and landing vicious body kicks to slow down the cardio machine that is Diaz. In round two, it would be rinse and repeat for Masvidal, putting Diaz on the canvas again, this time rocking him with a right hand and following up with a nasty kick to the body that appeared to bother Nate for the remainder of the bout. If there is one thing to be certain of, it is that Nate Diaz is battle tested and he was always going to see out the round and be ready for the opening of round three.
In what would be the final round of action, Masvidal again just looked to be in cruise control — always first to get a shot off and targeting the body of the Stockton native. A round that would go in favor of Masvidal, but it appeared Diaz was just about to find his feet, landing more frequently than the previous two rounds and as the round was brought to a close, Masvidal had definitely lost some steam but did not look any way in danger of gassing out.
The cage side doctor stepped in to have a look and asses the cuts on Diaz’s face, and as you would expect Diaz was more interested in getting back to action than to have a conversation about his health. But all of a sudden, to everyone’s surprise, the referee was notified to stop the bout. And although fighter safety is overall the number one priority, the cut that Diaz wore on his face was nothing in comparison to what fighters have finished bouts with in the past, with one example being as recent as “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury when he was badly cut in his victory over Otto Wallin back in September.
For a fight with such a high profile that had the entire world watching, for it to have ended in a doctor stoppage in favor of Masvidal just doesn’t sit right with me. Although I feel Masvidal would’ve probably went on to win a decision, it just seemed like we were robbed of what could have been something special.
Jorge Masvidal captured the BMF title but was disappointed not to put the stamp on his phenomenal performance, and for Diaz, he will feel like he was robbed of having any chance to turn the tide in his favor.
UFC president Dana White seemed a little reluctant to make an immediate rematch, although both fighters have expressed their interest to make sure that a sequel in the near future is a must.
If Nate Diaz’s recovery is a hefty stint, then sky is the limit for Jorge Masvidal — as three stoppage victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz will certainly be enough to see him compete with the winner of next months welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and top contender Colby Covington.