Last night we finally got to witness the much hyped slug-fest between Stocktons Nathan Diaz & street Jesus himself; Jorge Masvidal.
Masvidal managed to pick up his 3rd win of the year, battering Diaz to pieces over the course of 15 minutes. The fight (Unlike Till VS Gastelum) managed to live up to every bit of the hype that the blood thirsty MMA hardcores had. Whilst the co-main played out like a tense chess match that was ultimately decided by footwork and kicks (was a bit of a dud), the later main attraction was an all out war of blood, guts & attrition.
Diaz was dropped and smashed up pretty bad just a minute into the fight, he got his eye gashed up from an elbow strike and then when he was falling to the canvas he ate a huge soccer kick to the dome. It was enough to KO any fighter, but despite the early setback, Diaz managed to use his cardio, super-human chin and legendary endurance to weather the early storm and take the action to Masvidal.
Though Diaz recovered from the early pounding, he never really seemed to get much offence going. He landed a few great jabs here and there but he never tested Masvidal, who ultimately ended up steamrolling over Nate.
Sadly the fight was called to a stop by the NYSAC doctor who believed that Diaz’s gnarly eye was so badly cut up, that he wasn’t able to keep fighting. It was a rather anticlimactic finish to one of the most anticipated fights of the year. It’s quite unfortunate that we didn’t get to see the championship rounds play out, as Diaz is synonymous for making late comebacks and coming alive the more damage he eats. If you remember back to UFC 196, Nate was getting completely destroyed and lit alive by Conor McGregor up until, well he wasn’t. In this outing we never got to see if Nate could make a legendary comeback and I feel like the fans felt a little short changed. Hence, the booooing.
But with Jorge Masvidal now crowned as the inaugural BMF, where does both he and the UFC go from here? Here’s a quick bullet point run through:
- Masvidal has looked like a calculated killer this year. Anytime he has stepped foot inside the octagon he has shined ultra-bright. Though the finish last night wasn’t sweet, the performance was excellent! If the UFC can market him correctly and find him worthy opponents he could be one of MMAs biggest stars. He may not be the ‘greatest’ or the most tactically sound fighter, but he’s super entertaining both inside the octagon and out. His charisma, showmanship and brawling skills could potentially attract a plethora of casual viewers, if the UFC market him right.
- Though Nate Diaz lost the battle, he’s still winning the war. His star power and cross-over casual appeal still seems to be pretty great. The Diaz VS McGregor fight is still super viable and the appetite for a rematch with Jorge is there. The future for the Stockton slapper still looks bright with tons of fun potential matchups that’ll no doubt happen further down the pipeline.
- Based on the UFCs previous matchmaking decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up booking Masvidal VS (The winner of Usman VS Covington). It’s a fun stylistical clash for the super hardcore fight nerds that are interested in seeing how Masvidal striking would work against these elite wrestlers, but I reckon Jorge would get easily destroyed or mauled on the ground by the two wrestling kings. If you’re after a ‘big fight’, then booking Jorge against either of these two seems like the wrong decision as Jorge’s star-power & current aura of invincibility will likely be wrecked if he loses in dominant fashion to either Usman or Covington. Neither Covington or Usman have star-power, so the fight likely wouldn’t attract any casual viewers.
- I found the farcical nature of the ‘BMF’ title and the baroque pro-wrestling slant to be quite tasteful and well executed, but by the UFC brand endorsing this new creative flair it sets a precedent for creating more of these ‘fake’ titles. The UFC has continually tried to move away from its raw and rough roots by legitimising itself as a ‘Sport’, it’s come a long way since the early days of openweight tournaments. There’s now multiple weight divisions, a fixed rule-set and a (Kinda) legitimate hierarchical system of ranking. But by the UFC creating the ‘BMF’ belt it shows that they’re now willing to make concessions to fighters and fans in order to build a big show. It now feels like a turning point for the UFC and their brand, as now they’re more interested in putting together fan favourite fights than those which suit the previously adhered to conventions of matchmaking. Though the idea of creating more super-fights and progressing the ‘BMF’ belt sounds like a good way to put together fights, it creates tons of complications. For instance what variables are used to decide whether a fighter is in fact the baddest fighter? Surely Khabib, Stipe Miocic or Jon Jones can stake a claim to being the baddest fighter, yet by the UFC creating this fake belt it de-legitimizes the sport they’ve worked so hard to build up. The UFC probably only made the ‘BMF’ belt as a one off, but if they do decide to take this gimmick further and create more and more fake belts it could lead to big issues further down the line.