UFC 244 tips: Best bets for Masvidal v Diaz
Jack Green's UFC tips for Saturday night at Madison Square Garden cover the BMF title fight and the co-main event.
JORGE MASVIDAL V NATE DIAZ
The UFC’s brand new BMF belt – and yes, that stands for ‘Baddest Motherfucker’ – is on the line on Saturday night, and it’s fitting that it’ll be contested by these two fighters.
Masvidal and Diaz have become huge stars in recent years thanks to their no-nonsense approach to both fighting and promotional interviews, and their meeting at Madison Square Garden is sure to be a cracking fight.
Diaz returned from a three-year layoff in August and looked fantastic in a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Pettis.
The 34-year-old was coming off a decision defeat to Conor McGregor in August 2016, having beaten the Irishman by submission in March of the same year.
That win over McGregor showed Diaz’s greatest strengths.
He started slowly but used his precise boxing to pick McGregor apart in the second round. As his opponent tired, Diaz’s excellent cardio came into play and he stuffed an ill-advised takedown attempt before sinking in a choke for the victory.
A similar approach is necessary for him to beat Masvidal.
‘Gamebred’ is a more dangerous fighter than Diaz, with 15 KOs on his record, including a stunning flying knee against Ben Askren just five seconds into their bout in July.
Masvidal also knocked Darren Till out cold in the fight before that, ending a run of back-to-back defeats against Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson.
He has the power to stop Diaz with one shot, but will be in trouble if he tries too hard to finish the fight early on and gasses himself out.
Diaz has proven that he can keep up the pace for five rounds, and while it would be no surprise if he’s down on the scorecards early on he should manage to push Masvidal back with sheer volume of strikes.
Diaz looks a good bet to earn the decision in an exciting, close fight.
Diaz to win on points
KELVIN GASTELUM V DARREN TILL
Till looked like the UFC’s next great welterweight not too long ago, but back-to-back defeats inside the distance to Tyron Woodley and Masvidal have left him in desperate need of a win.
The Englishman has moved up to middleweight and immediately faces a huge challenge in Gastelum.
The American lost on points in a title fight against Israel Adesanya in April, but he put his tall, rangy opponent under huge pressure and could arguably have been awarded the decision.
Till is similar to Adesanya in stature, but he isn’t as creative a striker and lacks the Nigerian’s seemingly unshakeable confidence.
Gastelum proved with his KO win over Michael Bisping in November 2017 that he can close the show with one punch, and that’s got to be a huge concern for Till given that he’s been hurt by big shots in his last two fights.
Till may have improved his defence enough to get through the three rounds here, but it’s hard to trust him against a fighter like Gastelum and a knockout win for the American looks the best bet.
Gastelum to win by KO, TKO or disqualification
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