UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz

Preview and Predictions for UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 

The UFC is back in New York to anoint the Baddest Motherf*cker in the fight game with UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz, LIVE this Saturday night in Madison Square Garden. The action on this stacked card starts with:
UFC Fight Pass   Early Prelims     6:30PM/ET             ESPN2            Prelims     8:00PM/ET  UFC 244 PVV        Main Card   10:00PM/ET
UFC 244 Main Card Predictions 
#11 Gregor Gillespie (-170) vs.#10 Kevin Lee (+135)
New York’s own, Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie (13-0-0) faces a step up in competition as he takes on former title challenger “The Motown Phenom” Kevin Lee (17-5-0) to kickoff the UFC 244 Main Card. It was only two years ago that Kevin Lee was on a five fight winning streak and competing against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 for the Lightweight Interim Title. Since the loss to Ferguson, Kevin Lee is 1-2 with a TKO win over Edson Barboza that was followed by consecutive  losses to Al Iaquinta and in a bout with Rafael Dos Anjos at Welterweight. Lee now returns back to Lightweight to try and derail the Gregor Gillespie hype train. Gregor Gillespie improved to 6-0 inside the Octagon with a Second Round TKO of Yancey Medeiros at UFC Brooklyn in January and now has five  finishes in his last five fights. With a win Kevin Lee can prove that he is still relevant. A win for Gillespie should see the Gift break into the top ten rankings and with more big fights on the horizon. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Gillespie via Second Round TKO 
D’Bo’s Pick: Gillespie via Decision 
#5 Derrick Lewis (+110) vs. #8 Blagoy Ivanov (-130)
“The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis (21-7-0, 1NC) is back in action as he takes on rising contender Blagoy “Baga” Ivanov (18-2-0,1NC) in a Heavyweight bout. Blagoy Ivanov may have lost a Decision to Junior Dos Santos in his promotional debut, but has rebounded nicely with back to back Decision wins against Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa. The former WSOF Heavyweight Champion looks to continue his climb up the rungs of the divisional ladder with a statement win over Lewis.  Last year at MSG, Derrick Lewis was given the late notice opportunity to headline UFC 230 and fight Daniel Cormier for the Heavyweight title. Lewis lost to DC via Second Round Submission in what will most likely be the Black Beast’ only chance to become UFC Champion. Lewis returned in March of this year at UFC Wichita and would lose to Junior Dos Santos by Second Round TKO. I feel like these fighters may be headed in opposite directions, and I predict Blagoy Ivanov to pickup his third consecutive win. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ivanov via First Round TKO 
D’Bo’s Pick: Lewis via First Round TKO 
#9 Stephen Thompson (-130) vs. #14 Vicente Luque (+110)
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-4-1) meets “The Silent Assasin” Vicente Luque (16-7-1) in a bout that could shake things up in the always competitive Welterweight division. Vicente Luque is finally getting some respect after a six fight win streak, destroying Mike Perry’s nose In August at UFC Uruguay, and winning ten of his last eleven bouts. Luque has tremendous power in his hands and possesses a dual threat on the mat as well. Stephen Thompson is a former two time title challenger who last win came two years ago at MSG where he earned a Unanimous Decision victory against Jorge Masvidal. Wonderboy has since dropped his last two bouts to Darren Till and Anthony Pettis and kind of finds himself at a crossroads in terms of his standing as a legit title contender in the Welterweight division. Oddsmakers see this fight  as a coin flip, and it will be interesting to see if Vincente Louque will be able to take that next step up into the upper echelon Welterweight contenders. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Thompson via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Luque via Decision 
#4 Kelvin Gastelum (-260) vs. #10 MW Darren Till (+220)
In the UFC 244 Co-Main Event, Kelvin Gastelum (15-4-0,1NC) hopes to secure another title shot by spoiling the Middleweight debut of Darren “The Gorilla” Till (17-2-1). In April Kelvin Gastelum was in what I consider to be one of the best fights in UFC history. Gastelum’s epic five round war with Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 was nothing short of legendary, with the outcome hanging in the balance heading into the final round. Gastelum did not get his hand raised against Adesanya, but cemented his position as one of the best Middleweights in the world. Darren Till may have bit of more than he can chew when deciding to face Kelvin Gastelum in his Middleweight debut. Till makes the move up on the heels of back to back stoppage losses to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal. With all of his issues inside and out of the cage, there is arguably no other fighter on the card that could use a win to turn things around. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Gastelum via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Pick: Till via Second Round TKO 
MAIN EVENT 
#3 Jorge Masvidal (-155) vs. #7 Nate Diaz (+130)
In a Welterweight contest, fan favorites Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (34-13-0) and Nate Diaz (21-11-0) meet in the headliner at Madison Square Garden to determine who is the BMF, or the Baddest Motherfucker in the UFC. The winner will be awarded a custom $50,000 BMF belt made by the UFC, the first of its kind and specifically for this fight. The confidence of Jorge Masvidal is sky high coming off of his UFC record five second flying knee knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 in July, his second highlight reel knockout of 2019 after starching Darren Till at UFC London in March. Following a three year layoff, Nate Diaz finally returned at UFC in August and earned an impressive Unanimous Decision win over Anthony Pettis. Nate Diaz has won three of his last four, and has only big money fights to look forward to in his future from here on out. This should be a great clash between two great fighters competing in their prime. Get the popcorn ready  

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Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Masvidal via Third Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Diaz via Fourth Round Submission 

Next week, the UFC heads back to Moscow, Russia for UFC on ESPN+ 21: Zabit vs. Kattar. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!! 

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