UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz Live Report

This Saturday night, UFC will hold UFC 244, a pay-per-view live from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA. The stacked card is headlined by Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz battling for the B.M.F Championship. Follow this article throughout the night for live results and updates.

The preliminary card begins at 6:30 PM EDT. For prerequisite reading, check the site’s UFC 244 preview article.

Bout 1: Julio Arce (16-3) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (10-1-1) (Featherweight)

The first fight of the evening was Julio Arce returning to MSG to face Canadian prospect Hakeem Dawodu. Dawodu was landing good leg kicks early on. Dawodu put Arce in a clinch against the cage, but they separated shortly after. Arce landed a good left straight with two minutes to go which stunned Dawodu. Dawodu continued with his stellar kicks. Dawodu landed good knees in another standing clinch.

In the second round, the fighters went into a clinch after exchanging hard strikes. They separated after a minute or so. When Dawodu initiated another clinch with two minutes left, Arce got a trip takedown, taking top position. Arce took the back of Dawodu and then pursued a rear naked choke. Dawodu flipped over and took top position. Dawodu got up and landed some leg kicks before Arce got up. 

Dawodu put Arce up against the cage in the first minute of the final round. Arce shoved him off and they returned to striking. The same exchange happened again later in the round. Arce tried for a takedown in the final minute of the fight which Dawodu defended. The striking hit the highest gear in the final moments, as both fighters were landing good shots. The fight went the distance, with Hakeem Dawodu getting the victory via split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). Dawodu was upset about his performance afterwards.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Arce 9 10 9 28
Dawodu 10 9 10 29

Bout 2: Lyman Good (20-5) vs. Chance Rencountre (14-3) (Welterweight)

The next fight saw up-and-coming welterweights in Lyman Good and Chance Rencountre face off. Good landed a jab right off the bat in the fight. He was landing the better strikes early on, especially leg kicks. Rencountre tried for a takedown in the third minute. Good got pinned against the cage but resisted takedown and eventually got back to striking. Rencountre clinched up again after Good landed some hard punches. Good kept tagging him, although Rencountre was absorbing the shots. Good landed a solid head kick in the closing ten seconds of the first round.

At the start of the second round, good capitalized off a failed flying knee attempt from Rencountre, coming in and landing a combination of punches. While Rencountre was landing some strikes, Good was pushing the pace of the fight throughout the second round.

Good continued to land good shots in the final round. Good landed a right which dropped Rencountre in the second minute of the third round. Only seconds later, the referee came in to end the fight. In nothing short of an impressive showcase, Lyman Good stopped Chance Rencountre in the third round.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Good 10 10
Rencountre 9 9

Bout 3: Katlyn Chookagian (12-2) (#1) vs. Jennifer Maia (17-5-1) (#5) (Catchweight 127 lbs).

Finishing off the early prelims was Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia. What was originally set to be a flyweight match was changed to catchweight after Maia missed weight. Chookagian had some solid strikes early on. Maia put Chookagian up against the cage with two minutes left in the first round.

The second round was another one where Chookagian was out-striking Maia.

Maia put Chookagian in a clinch in the first minute of the final round. She let go of the clinch, going back to stand-up. Maia finally landed a takedown with a minute left in the round. The fight went the distance, with Katlyn Chookagian getting the win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Chookagian 10 10 10 30
Maia 9 9 9 27

Bout 8: Kevin Lee (17-5) (#10) vs. Gregor Gillespie (13-0) (#11) (Lightweight)

The main card started with a battle between Kevin Lee and undefeated Gregor Gillespie. Starting the fight, both fighters had close striking, mostly throwing jabs. With just over two minutes left in the round, Lee landed a punch and a head kick which absolutely shut Gillespie off. Kevin Lee got a vicious first round knockout victory, taking Gregor Gillespie’s undefeated record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 9: Derrick Lewis (21-7) (#5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (18-2) (#8) (Heavyweight)

In a ranked heavyweight clash, Derrick Lewis faced Blagoy Ivanov. Early on, Ivanov caught a kick and brought Lewis to the ground. Lewis got up and landed some punches. They went into a standing clinch, then Lewis got a takedown. They stood up shortly after. The rest of the round had close striking from the fighters.

Ivanov landed a good right straight in the first minute of the second round. Ivanov landed a trip takedown after both fighters landed good punches. In top position, Ivanov put in a kimura. Lewis was in it deep, but escaped and got back up. He stormed Ivanov with punches, then had a stand-off. Ivanov came in for a clinch up against the cage again. Lewis landed a knee and punches exiting the clinch. Ivanov initiated another clinch after scoring a few strikes. Ivanov got a throw takedown and tried for a choke before the round ended.

The final round was mostly slow from both fighters until Lewis had a flurry of punches at the very end. Heading to the scorecards, it was Derrick Lewis who took a split decision victory (30-27 Lewis, 29-28 Ivanov & 29-28 Lewis).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Lewis 10 9 10 29
Ivanov 9 10 9 28

Bout 10: Stephen Thompson (14-4-1) (#9) vs. Vicente Luque (17-6-1) (#14) (Welterweight)

The next fight saw well-known Stephen Thompson face the red-hot Vicente Luque. The first round had very close striking from both fighters. Both fighters were very selective with their shots.

The second round was a continuation of the one before. It was clear that each fighter respected the other’s power. Thompson landed a sidekick to the head which dropped Luque. When he got back up and resumed, Luque got stunned by a punch. 

In the first minute of the third and final round, Luque was getting picked apart. Luque got knocked down by a punch, and then was forced to stand back up moments after. By the end of the fight, Luque was showing real damage on his face. The judges all had the fight heavily in favour of Stephen Thompson (30-26, 30-26 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Thompson 10 10 10 29
Luque 9 9 9 28

Bout 11: Kelvin Gastelum (16-4) (#4) vs. Darren Till (17-2-1) (Middleweight)

In the co-main event of the evening Darren Till moved up to middleweight to face Kelvin Gastelum. Many clinches happened in the first round, although each one didn’t seem to have much action in them.

Till constantly kept his distance from Gastelum, dipping in for a strike or two before backing up again. A pause came after Till was poked in the eye. They resumed quite quickly. The crowd started to boo with a minute left in the round. 

Till caught a kick early in the third round and landed a punch because of it. Gastelum tried for a double leg takedown but Till avoided it. Till was able to take down Gastelum by catching another kick, although he got up moments later. Gastelum finally landed a takedown in the final minute of the fight. Till got up within seconds and continued with stand-up. The fight went all 15 minutes, with Darren Till getting a split decision win (30-27 Gastelum, 29-28 Till & 30-27 Till).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gastelum 9 9 9 27
Till 10 10 10 30

Bout 12: Jorge Masvidal (34-13) (#3) vs. Nate Diaz (20-11) (#7) (Welterweight)

In the main event of the evening, Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz battle for the B.M.F belt. Masvidal started the fight running similar to when he fought Ben Askren, but stopped himself before doing anything. Masvidal clinched up with Diaz against the cage after Diaz came forward with a few punches. Masvidal landed elbows while leaving clinch, and then dropped Diaz with a leg kick. Diaz was on his back on the ground. He got hit with some punches and become quite bloodied. Diaz did a front kick to Masvidal which he seemingly pretended to be hurt by. Diaz was eventually stood up by the referee. Diaz exploded forward with punches which Masvidal ate. Masvidal went into a clinch smiling. Diaz landed another left straight before the round ended.

Both fighters had good strikes in the opening minutes of the second round. Diaz got hurt by a right hand, dropping him for the second time in the fight. He stayed on his back after falling, but was told to stand up by the referee. To an extent it felt like Diaz was just absorbing damage in this round. Masvidal got the first takedown of the fight with a minute left in the round.

Masvidal landed a strong right straight in the first minute of the third round. Diaz had some good combinations at the start of the round, although he was the fighter circling the outside of the octagon. Just over halfway through the round both fighters were trading punches. After being in a standing clinch for some time, Masvidal took Diaz down and landed strikes from above.

Before the fourth round was about to start, a doctor came in to check on Diaz. After seeing the cuts on his head, the fight was waved off. Jorge Masvidal won the fight via doctor’s stoppage, and had the B.M.F belt put on him by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Masvidal 10 10 10
Diaz 9 9 9


UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz Full Preview

Ever since mixed martial arts have been legalized in New York State, UFC has made an effort to do an annual large show at Madison Square Garden. The first time, it was Conor McGregor becoming a “Champ-Champ,” dethroning lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. The next year it was MMA legend Georges St-Pierre returning to win a belt off of Michael Bisping. Last year, Daniel Cormier built on his legacy, making his first heavyweight championship defense against Derrick Lewis. This year is a little different.

Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz will headline the show, although a belt with lineage won’t be on the line. Instead, a new belt is being introduced, and will be awarded to the “BMF (Baddest M*****F*****).” Along with the main event is also a stacked card, even down to the preliminary portion. Celebrating their 500th show, live from Madison Square Garden on Saturday, here’s a look at UFC 244.

Bout 1: Julio Arce (16-3) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (10-1-1) (Featherweight)

The evening will begin on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 PM EDT with a battle of two featherweight prospects. Julio Arce and Hakeem Dawodu are both currently with a 3-1 record in the UFC. Dawodu most recently finished Yoshinori Horie with a head kick at UFC 240. Arce also finished his last fight with a head kick, defeating Julian Erosa in the third round. This will be Arce’s second appearance at Madison Square Garden.

Bout 2: Lyman Good (20-5) vs. Chance Rencountre (14-3) (Welterweight)

The welterweight division has a real pick-em bout between Lyman Good and Chance Rencountre on the prelims. While being the more experienced fighter, Good is returning from a loss to Demian Maia. Rencountre hasn’t faced anyone big like Maia yet, but is currently on a two-fight winning streak.

Bout 3: Katlyn Chookagian (12-2) vs. Jennifer Maia (17-5-1) (Catchweight 127 lbs)

While only being in the UFC for three years, Katlyn Chookagian has racked up an impressive promotional record of 5-2. She attempts to better that against Jennifer Maia, who is currently riding a victory against Roxanne Modafferi. Maia missed weight on Friday by one pound, causing the fight to be moved from flyweight to a catchweight bout.

Bout 4: Andrei Arlovski (28-18) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (8-0) (Heavyweight)

At 8 PM EDT, the broadcast will move to TSN 5 for four final preliminary bouts. The first of the four is between Andrei Arlovski and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Arlovski recently snapped a winless streak of four bouts by defeating Ben Rothwell. While experience weighs heavily on Arlovski’s side, he will have to try to snap the undefeated record of Rozenstruik. The Suriname fighter has won twice via stoppage since joining the UFC. More notably, Rozenstruik finished Allen Crowder in nine seconds in June.

Bout 5: Brad Tavares (17-5) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (10-0) (Middleweight)

Young and undefeated fighter Edmen Shahbazyan will see his biggest UFC challenge yet when he faces Brad Tavares on Saturday. Tavares is a UFC veteran who got into the promotion in 2010 by winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 11. To compare, Tavares has been in the UFC for six years more than Shahbazyan has been doing MMA. Tavares hasn’t fought in over a year, with his last fight being a decision loss against Israel Adesanya in July of 2018 (for reference, Adesanya has fought four times since then). Shahbazyan most recently finished Jack Marshman in just over a minute at UFC 239.

Bout 6: Shane Burgos (12-1) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (15-3) (Featherweight)

Two experienced UFC fighters in Shane Burgos and Makwan Amirkhani will face off on the prelims. Burgos is a New York fighter who competed on the MSG show last year as well. He most recently bested Cub Swanson in a split decision bout in May. Amirkhani has fought only half as many times as Burgos in the past three years, but is still a young and successful fighter. He defeated Chris Fishgold with an anaconda choke in June, sounding his return after a one year absence.

Bout 7: Corey Anderson (12-4) vs. Johnny Walker (17-3) (Light Heavyweight)

The preliminary card will finish off with Corey Anderson and Johnny Walker competing. Walker has become a famous name within the promotion due to his flashy KO victories. His most recent appearance, while being a cakewalk of a fight, sidelined him for some time. This was because his post-fight celebration which included falling on the canvas dislocated his shoulder. Anderson is a step up in competition for Walker. Anderson is on a three-fight winning streak, most recently beating Ilir Latifi. The majority of Anderson’s career has happened in the UFC, unlike Walker’s. Will Walker put on another memorable performance, or will Anderson out-wit the Brazilian’s dangerous flashes of offense?

Bout 8: Kevin Lee (17-5) vs. Gregor Gillespie (13-0) (Lightweight)

The main portion of the show will kick off at 10 PM EDT on pay-per-view. Starting the main card will be lightweight gatekeeper Kevin Lee facing undefeated Gregor Gillespie. Despite having a six-fight winning streak in the UFC and having never lost, Gillespie flies under the radar of many. It’s possible that a win over a name of Lee could finally give him attention. Lee is conditioned to fighting five round fights, having last done a three round fight in 2017. Lee is 2-3 in his last five, all up against fighters of a similar calibre.

Bout 9: Derrick Lewis (21-7) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (18-2) (Heavyweight)

While Derrick Lewis fights on the main card this year against Blagoy Ivanov, it’s a clear step down from main eventing, which he did in 2018. Lewis is on a two-fight losing streak, recently dropping to Junior dos Santos on the main event of a fight night card. Ivanov is considered an up-and-coming fighter within the division. He bounced back from his UFC debut loss by recently defeating Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa.

Bout 10: Stephen Thompson (14-4-1) vs. Vicente Luque (17-6-1) (Welterweight)

Vincente Luque has been on the rise lately, defeating high level welterweights. Most recently, Luque got a split decision win over Mike Perry. He will look to add Stephen Thompson to his list of names on Saturday when they match up on the main card. Thompson has been absent since his knockout loss to Anthony Pettis. He also lost to Darren Till in the fight before then. He will aim to return to his winning ways against a seemingly unstoppable Luque.

Bout 11: Kelvin Gastelum (16-4) vs. Darren Till (17-2-1) (Middleweight)

Darren Till was an undefeated fighter a year ago that was near championship material. He was pushed into a fight against Tyron Woodley for the welterweight belt in 2018. The fight was one-sided, with Woodley ending Till’s championship hopes in under two rounds. Till then went against Jorge Masvidal in March, getting finished via punches in less time than his championship outing lasted. In hopes of finding success, Till moves down to middleweight for his fight against Kelvin Gastelum. The bout is no step down in competition, as Gastelum was the runner-up to face Robert Whittaker and unify the middleweight belts. He got bested by Israel Adesanya in April, losing via scorecards. Before then, Gastelum had wins over Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza.

Bout 12: Jorge Masvidal (34-13) vs. Nate Diaz (20-11) (Welterweight)

The main event of the show sees Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz face off in a five round competition. The winner receives the BMF Championship, a one-use belt to determine the “Baddest M*****F*****.”

Masvidal’s rise in popularity was quite out of left field. The welterweight has been in the game for longer than most people at this point, and has stayed at a mid-level or gatekeeper status for a long time. After a brutal victory over Darren Till in early 2019, Masvidal went viral with a flying knee knockout to Ben Askren. The knockout was brutal and online basically overshadowed the two championship bouts that happened that night as well.

The story of Nate Diaz lately is similar to his opponent. Diaz has been popular before, but his mid-2019 run could be described as a resurrection. After losing to Conor McGregor in 2016, Diaz disappeared until late 2018. He was scheduled to be on the 2018 MSG show, facing Dustin Poirier. That fell through after Poirier got injured, putting Diaz back on the bench. Diaz finally made his long-awaited return in the summer of 2019, defeating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241.

While it could be described as unexpected that these two fighters would headline one of the biggest cards of the year, their collision makes sense. Two fighters who are in the same division, both have charisma, both had a boom at a similar time, and are both considered real badasses.

UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2 Full Report

In one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year, Stipe Miocic will attempt to take the Heavyweight Championship from Daniel Cormier in a rematch. The former champ was stopped in one round against Cormier a year ago. He attempts to take back his belt after a year’s layoff. Also on the card is the return of Nate Diaz after almost three days of a layoff. In his return, he’ll face Anthony Pettis. Along with those two fights is 10 other fights. Stay tuned on this post for updates throughout the night.

Bout 1: Sabina Mazo (6-1) vs. Shana Dobson (3-2) (Flyweight)

Starting off the evening was a flyweight bout between Sabina Mazo and Shana Dobson. Dobson has been absent from MMA for a year due to injury, making her return with this fight. Very early in the fight, Mazo hurt Dobson with a kick to the mid-section. She came forward with punches, and then landed a takedown. After Mazo landed punches from above for a while, Dobson tried to take her back. It worked for a second before Mazo brought them back to the position they were in. They stood up in clinch up against the cage, but Mazo took them back down shortly after. Mazo utilized her kicks quite a bit at the start of the second round. Dobson searched for a takedown but couldn’t get one, being put in a standing clinch against the cage. With two minutes left in the second round, Mazo got a takedown. They went back to stand-up as the round concluded. Halfway through the final round, Dobson was put up against the cage and was getting hit with tons of knees. Referee Frank Trigg was getting closer, warning Dobson that she needs to fight back. Mazo got a trip takedown with just for 90 seconds left. The fight ran out of time as Mazo landed punches from above. The judges gave Sabina Mazo the win in very decisive fashion (30-24, 30-25 & 30-25).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Mazo 10 10 10 30
Dobson 9 9 8 26

Bout 2: Brandon Davis (10-6) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (15-8) (Bantamweight)

The next fight was a bantamweight battle between UFC veteran Kyung Ho Kang and Brandon Davis. In the first round, Kang was landing good jabs. Davis was targeting the left leg. Kang rocked Davis with a right jab, then took his back with a minute left in the round. Kang switched over into full mount before the round concluded. In the second round, Davis tried for an armbar to counter a takedown attempt by Kang. That didn’t work, with Kang taking top position moments later. When they went back to stand-up, Davis was swinging for the fences. His fought without his mouthguard for a minute or so. They went to the groudn early in the final round after Davis slipped and fell after throwing a kick. When they were on the ground in side control for a minute or so, the referee stood them up. The commentators seemed to be in disbelief about that. Kang got another takedown moments later. Davis got up and threw some punches before Kang landed a third takedown. The fight ended with Kang in top position. In a split decision, Kyung Ho Kang got the victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Davis 9 10 9 28
Kang 10 9 10 29

Bout 3: Hannah Cifers (9-3) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-5) (Strawweight)

Finishing off the Fight Pass early prelims was Hannah Cifers and Jodie Esquibel in a strawweight fight. The first round of the fight was a slow one from both fighters. It was strictly stand-up. Esquibel got a takedown early in the second round. They were stood back up, although Cifers got another takedown right after. Cifers tried for an omoplata but couldn’t get it. They went back to stand-up with a minute left in the round. Halfway through the final round, Esquibel got another takedown. The fight went the distance with Hannah Cifers getting the victory (30-28, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Cifers 10 10 9 30
Esquibel 9 9 10 27

Bout 4: Manny Bermudez (14-0) vs. Casey Kenney (12-1-1) (Catchweight 140lbs)

Kicking off the prelims on ESPN, Manny Bermudez put his undefeated record up against Casey Kenney in a 140 pound fight. Bermudez got a takedown after a minute of the first round. Both fighters had a fair share of control on the ground in the round. With more close ground fighting in the second round, Kenney tried for a choke. It was obvious that both fighters preferred being on the ground. Near the end of the second round, Bermudez had some good striking when they went back to stand-up. Kenney started to look very fatigued. Bermudez brought it to the ground and tried for a choke but Kenney got out and took top position as the round ended. On the ground in the final round, Bermudez tried for a guillotine but couldn’t get it. All three judges had it in favour of Casey Kenney (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). Throughout it was a close competition on the ground.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bermudez 10 9 10 29
Kenney 9 10 9 28

Bout 5: Drakkar Klose (10-1-1) vs. Christos Giagos (17-7) (Lightweight)

Continuing on the prelims was Drakkar Klose versus Christos Giagos. The first round was a quiet one, with Giagos doing most of the work. Klose landed a good shot right at the for at the end of the first round. On the ground in the second round, Klose was put in a rear naked choke. When they went back to stand-up, Klose was landing tons of punches. He got a trip takedown and took top position with a hammerfist. In the final round Klose looked like the fresher fighter. Klose continued to apply the pressure in the final round with striking. With a minute left in the final round, Klose picked up Giagos and did quite the ceremonial slam to the ground. Both fighters traded punches as the final round ended. The judges all were in agreement that Drakkar Klose had won the fight (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Klose 9 10 10 29
Giagos 10 9 9 28

Bout 6: Raphael Assuncao (27-6) (#3) vs. Cory Sandhagen (11-1) (#9) (Bantamweight)

In the first fight of the evening with ranked fighters, Cory Sandhagen fought Raphael Assuncao. Sandhagen was frequently the fighter coming forward with strikes in the first round. Assuncao wasn’t doing much in the first round, although he didn’t leave himself open to a ton of strikes. In the second round, Assuncao caught a leg kick and turned it into a takedown. Sandhagen was able to take control for most of the time on the ground in the second round. Assuncao got another takedown after a minute of the final round. They got back up immediately. Assuncao got a few more takedowns as the round continued, but they never stayed on the ground. The fight went in favour of Cory Sandhagen (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28). This was the highest profile win that Sandhagen got in his career up until this point.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Assuncao 9 9 10 28
Sandhagen 10 10 9 29

Bout 7: Devonte Smith (10-1) vs. Khama Worthy (14-6) (Lightweight)

Finishing off the preliminary section of the card was Devonte Smith and Khama Worthy in a lightweight competition. Worthy came into this fight was a steep underdog. This was also his UFC debut. Halfway through the first round there was a pause because Worthy was poked in the eye. The crowd started to boo as the first round was closing out. Both fighters were very methodical through the first few minutes. Worthy landed a combo of punches which dropped Smith, then finished the fight on the ground. The fighter who took the fight on less than a week’s time made a lot of underdog betters happy tonight. He asked for a performance bonus in the post-fight interview since he’s the first finish of the evening. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 8: Derek Brunson (19-7) (#8) vs. Ian Heinisch (13-1) (#10) (Middleweight)

The PPV started off with middleweight gatekeeper Derek Brunson facing up and coming fighter Ian Heinisch. Right off the bat, Heinisch opened with punches and a clean head kick which had Brunson in trouble. Brunson clinched up which stopped the momentum from the very start. They went back to stand-up. Brunson tried for a takedown with over a minute left in the round. Heinisch stayed hopping on one foot while throwing punches. He was able to avoid being taken to the ground. Brunson failed to score another takedown as the round ended. Heinisch tried for a takedown in the second round but Brunson stuffed it. Heinisch looked more tired in the second round, getting hit more in stand-up. In between rounds the crowd erupted with boos as Colby Covington walked into the venue. Both fighters were quite tired in the final round. Brunson was dictating the fight through the final round. The fight went all 15 minutes, with Derrick Brunson getting the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Brunson 9 10 10 29
Heinisch 10 9 9 28

Bout 9: Sodiq Yusuff (9-1) vs. Gabriel Benitez (21-6) (Featherweight)

In the next main card fight, Sodiq Yusuff, a prospect from the Contender Series fought Gabriel Benitez. Yusuff was in control from the start, with powerful strikes making Benitez backtrack. Halfway through the round Benitez landed some strikes that had Yusuff in trouble. It seemed like both fighters were taking turns dictating the fight. With a minute left in the round, Yusuff landed a right hook which dropped Benitez. He landed lots of shots on the ground before referee Herb Dean stepped in. He was in trouble during moments in the fight, but his power to finish the fight got him the win. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 10: Yoel Romero (13-3) (#2) vs. Paulo Costa (12-0) (#7) (Middleweight)

In a real middleweight division superfight, Yoel Romero faced Paulo Costa in the next bout. Romero landed a high kick in the first minute and then got a takedown, but Costa got up right after. Romero was clipped with a punch after a minute of the fight, but when he got up he dropped Costa with a punch. He stood back up and went back to stand-up. Romero stayed on the outside of the octagon while Costa was coming forward. After being up against the cage for a while, Romero came forward with a flurry of punches. The action was paused after Romero was kneed in the groin. They resumed after a minute or two of a break. Romero tried for a takedown but it was blocked, with Costa landing punches to the body while stuffing it. Back on the feet, both fighters were eating hard shots. Costa seemed to be controlling the second round Romero was backtracking throughout the round. Romero threw a lot of jabs. Romero scored a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the second round. The crowd was cheering in appreciation before the final round started. There was a pause due to Costa getting poked in the eye. After they traded punches for a few minutes, they started taunting. Costa saluted Romero and stuck his tongue out. Romero had strung together some good combinations. Romero got a takedown again in the finale seconds of the round. The fight went the distance, with the crowd cheering quite a bit when it ended. The judges all favoured Paulo Costa (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). The crowd was booing after the result was announced. He called out the winner between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Romero 9 9 10 28
Costa 10 10 9 29

Bout 11: Nate Diaz (19-11) vs. Anthony Pettis (22-8) (#7) (Welterweight)

In a long awaited return, Nate Diaz fought Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of the evening. Diaz’s last fight was his sequel bout against Conor McGregor, in the summer of 2016. Pettis has stayed active through that time, recently defeating Stephen Thompson via superman punch. Diaz took a takedown with 90 seconds left in the round, thought Pettis tried for a guillotine from it. Diaz got out of it in short time. Diaz took the back of Pettis twice. He was completely dominant on the ground. After a couple minutes in the second round, the referee paused the fight so that a doctor could check an eye of Diaz. He said he was fine, so they resumed. Diaz landed a good knee to the head and then a hard elbow in clinch. Up against the cage, Pettis was getting hurt by strikes. Diaz was landing punches until the last moment of the round. Up against the cage again, Diaz was landing punches and knees that dropped Pettis. Diaz took the back of Pettis, but Pettis flipped around. Diaz continued to be in control on the ground. With 30 seconds left, he tried for a rear naked choke. Pettis escaped as the fight ended. Diaz was cut around his right eye. Nate Diaz walked away with a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28). After the fight, Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal, saying he’s a gangster but not like him.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Diaz 10 10 10 30
Pettis 9 9 9 27

Bout 12: Daniel Cormier (22-1) © vs. Stipe Miocic (#1) (18-3) (UFC Heavyweight Championship)

Finally, in the main event of the evening, Daniel Cormier faced Stipe Miocic in a fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. This rematch is the second time DC attempted to defend his Heavyweight Championship. Both fighters threw leg kicks in the first minute. Cormier started to dip into the pocket with some punches, then backing up. He shot for a single leg takedown after a few punches. Cormier held Miocic up high for a few moments before dumping him onto the canvas. In top position, Cormier landed punches to the mid-section. On the back of Miocic, Cormier landed hammerfists. Cormier would land punches after grabbing the hands of Miocic. Cormier started coming forward more, but started get clipped with punches. They clinched against the cage after both fighters landed hard shots. Miocic started to utilize his reach advantage more with jabs. Upon replay it became obvious that Miocic was poked in the eye during the round. Miocic tried for a takedown in the opening minute of the third round but couldn’t secure it. They continued to practically take turns landing shots. Miocic put Cormier up against the cage in a standing clinch. Miocic got a takedown later in the round. They got back up wand went back to striking with a minute left in the round. Both fighters seemed very fatigued. Miocic was coming forward throughout the fourth round. Miocic hurt Cormier with a with a punch which stunned him, then dropped him with a few more. After numerous strikes, referee Herb Dean stepped in to end the fight. Stipe Miocic has gotten his UFC Heavyweight Championship back. Cormier said that he has to make an educated decision about his career moving forward.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Cormier 10 10 9
Miocic 9 9 10

UFC’s next show is on the 31st in Shenzen, China, with Weili Zhang challenging UFC Strawweight Champion Jessica Andrade. That show will be broadcasted on the ESPN+ platform. Before then, UFC’s final two episodes of the Contender Series will air on Tuesday at 8 PM Eastern Time.

UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2 Preview

In one of the UFC’s biggest shows of the year, Daniel Cormier will attempt to repeat history, beating Stipe Miocic for the second time. Last year in the summer, Cormier earned a first-round KO victory over Miocic, ending the Ohio raised fighter’s two-year reign over the heavyweight division. In a well-deserved rematch, Miocic will try to take back the belt that he had for quite some time. Also on the card is the return of Nate Diaz. The polarizing fighter from Stockton will face Anthony Pettis after a few days short of a three-year absence from MMA. Along with those two fights are 10 other fights on the UFC 241 PPV card. Let’s start by looking at the preliminary card for the show.

Bout 1: Sabina Mazo (6-1) vs. Shana Dobson (3-2) (Flyweight)

Starting off the evening will be a flyweight competition between two fighters with small records. Mazo is coming back from her first pro loss, which came in her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz. Before then, she was a success story from the LFA promotion. Shana Dobson is coming back from a near year and a half layoff, losing to Lauren Mueller. Both early in their UFC runs, these fighters have something to prove on Saturday.

Bout 2: Brandon Davis (10-6) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (15-8) (Bantamweight)

The second fight of the show is a battle between two fighters who are no new faces to the UFC. Kyung Ho Kang joined the UFC in 2013 and since has racked up the respectable record of 4-2 1 NC. His recent win came over Teruto Ishihara in the February PPV in Australia. The placement of Kang on this card makes the timing work out that he can be on UFC’s end of year show in Korea. While Davis has spent less time in the UFC, his record is of a similar size, with 2-3. He’ll look to even his UFC record on Saturday against Kang.

Bout 3: Hannah Cifers (9-3) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-5) (Strawweight)

Jodie Esquibel’s run in the UFC has so far been unsuccessful. Entering the promotion with a record of 6-2, Esquibel has since lost three in a row. In what’s likely her last chance to stay in the UFC, she will face Hannah Cifers, who has a 1-1 record in the UFC. With Cifers being the favourite to win the bout, Esquibel will try to beat the odds on Saturday evening.

Bout 4: Manny Bermudez (14-0) vs. Casey Kenney (12-1-1) (Bantamweight)

Ending the early prelims and moving to the prelims on ESPN, two big bantamweight prospects will face off. Casey Kenney, a fighter who has only faced defeat once in his career, will face the undefeated Manny Bermudez. Kenney took his loss in 2017 on the Dana White Contender Series. He since then went off to LFA, where he earned four straight wins. He got signed to the UFC, and most recently in March got a win over Ray Borg. Bermudez has had quick submission losses throughout his career. With 14 wins, he has only left the first round four times. In his three-fight UFC career, he has stopped all of his opponents within two rounds. In what could be an explosive fight, these two bantamweights will likely put on a show.

Bout 5: Drakkar Klose (10-1-1) vs. Christo Giagos (17-7) (Lightweight)

Both Drakkar Klose and Christo Giagos have been successful recently in their MMA career. Klose, who has been in the UFC for a few years now, is riding a two-fight win streak currently. Same is the case for Giagos. All of those aforementioned wins came from decision. Actually, neither fighter has seen a stoppage victory since they joined the UFC. Both fighters have gotten their first UFC win, but one of them might get a first in a stoppage on Saturday. What’s more likely though is that someone’s streak will end.

Bout 6: Raphael Assuncao (27-6) vs. Cory Sandhagen (11-1) (Bantamweight)

Cory Sandhagen has had an undefeated run in the UFC thus far but will meet his biggest challenge on Saturday when he faces Raphael Assuncao. Assuncao is currently coming off a loss from Marlon Moraes, but his decade of high-level MMA experience gives him an edge over Sandhagen. With a 4-0 UFC record, Sandhagen has gotten wins via strikes, submissions and decisions. His recent win came over John Lineker in April. Who will prevail on the prelims with near perfection faces a veteran of the sport.

Bout 7: Devonte Smith (10-1) vs. Khama Worthy (14-6) (Lightweight)

Finishing off the prelims of the card on ESPN is Devonte Smith versus Khama Worthy in a lightweight bout. Smith came from the Contender Series and has gotten two first-round victories since his debut. He’s a tall order for Worthy, who will be making his UFC debut. While he’s coming in as a huge underdog, Worthy is on a five-fight winning streak, all within a two year period.

Bout 8: Derek Brunson (19-7) vs. Ian Heinisch (13-1) (Middleweight)

Starting off the main card of UFC 241 is Derek Brunson facing Ian Heinisch. Brunson is coming off a victory of Elias Theodorou, which was a bounce back from losses to high profile fighters in Jacare Souza and Israel Adesanya. Heinisch is heading into his third UFC fight, coming from the Contender Series back in 2018. Heinisch has quickly established himself in the middleweight division. A win over Brunson would make it his first win over a real gatekeeper/contender fighter.

Bout 9: Sodiq Yusuff (9-1) vs. Gabriel Benitez (21-6) (Featherweight)

Before the AKA gym puts their focus on Daniel Cormier’s fight, they’ll have duty watching Gabriel Benitez face featherweight prospect Sodiq Yusuff. Making his UFC debut in 2014, Benitez has a record of 5-2. Yusuff has been perfect since his arrival, with 2 wins, one of them coming via first-round punches. He impressed in 2018 on the Contender Series, earning his contract. While Yusuff’s record in MMA is small, his success arguably makes him a fair opponent for Benitez, who hasn’t been doing too bad for himself either.

Bout 10: Yoel Romero (13-3) vs. Paulo Costa (12-0) (Middleweight)

In a fight that has been a long time coming, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa will finally face off on Saturday. This matchup was first planned for November, but couldn’t happen as Romero wasn’t cleared to fight. Romero was then matched up with Jacare Souza, but pulled out of the bout due to pneumonia. Costa was offered to fight as a replacement in that bout but turned it down. Now, with tons of cancelled bouts, these two are paired up once again. Both fighters haven’t competed in over a year, but are both still valued highly in the middleweight division. Costa will be putting his undefeated record in the bout. Romero’s last fight was a championship loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 225. Will Costa continue his slow but steady climb up the middleweight division, or will Romero prove he deserves another shot at the title?

Bout 11: Nate Diaz (19-11) vs. Anthony Pettis (22-8) (Welterweight)

In the co-main event, the fan-friendly fighter Nate Diaz will make his long-awaited return against Anthony Pettis. Diaz’s last two fights were his famous original and sequel bout against Conor McGregor. Since then, he’s faded into the background of the UFC. He was expected to face Dustin Poirier back in the fall, but Poirier pulled out with an injury, he was benched once again. Pettis has remained busy as of late, recently knocking out Stephen Thompson with a superman punch in a fight night main event. He took a loss to Tony Ferguson in the Fall, defeating Michael Chiesa before then. Those two fights were lightweight bouts. While Pettis won’t have the concern for ring rust like Diaz might, he is still testing the welterweight waters.

Bout 12: Daniel Cormier (22-1) vs. Stipe Miocic (18-3) (UFC Heavyweight Championship)

In the main event of the PPV, Daniel Cormier will attempt to defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Stipe Miocic. He earned the belt in their first meeting, knocking out Miocic with an elbow while in a clinch. Cormier has since fought once, defeating Derrick Lewis to make the first defence of his belt. Miocic hasn’t fought since last summer.

The first fight with Miocic was an uphill battle for Cormier, being the short fighter by quite the length. His win proved that he can hang with Miocic, though the sudden fashion of the victory opened speculation about if he could do it again. On Saturday he’ll have the chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke, while Miocic will have the opportunity to do the opposite.

UFC will take a week off next weekend after having many consecutive weeks of events. The promotion will come back at the end of the month, with Weili Zhang facing Jessica Andrade for the Strawweight Championship in Shenzen, China. While there will be no fight night next weekend, the promotion will air the second last episode of Season 3 of the Contender Series on Tuesday. The show will conclude on the following week.

Nate Diaz set to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 241

Nearly two years after his last MMA fight, Nate Diaz will compete against Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. Reported by Ariel Helwani at ESPN, the news of the matchup came Saturday evening. The fight is scheduled to take place on August 17th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, USA.

“Showtime” Anthony Pettis is coming off a main event victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, getting his second round victory from a superman punch. Before that he lost to Tony Ferguson after a hand injury made his corner call the bout in-between rounds.

Nate Diaz last fought in 2016 against Conor McGregor, with McGregor tying the rivalry between them after a five round decision victory. The bout before that was his first meeting against “Mystic Mac,” getting a second round rear naked choke victory as a +350 underdog. Diaz originally set to make his return back in November at Madison Square Garden facing Dustin Poirier. The fight was cancelled after Poirier pulled out with an injury.

The August show is scheduled to include Daniel Cormier defending his Heavyweight Championship in a rematch against Stipe Miocic. Their first fight was in July of last year, with Cormier getting a KO victory to become champion. Since then he has defended the belt once, defeating Derrick Lewis in the aforementioned November event at Madison Square Garden, UFC 230. Yoel Romero versus Paulo Costa is also currently scheduled to be on the card.

Luke Rockhold Off UFC 230 Due To Injury

UFC 230 lost it’s co-main event again. This time the fight between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman has been scrapped. Earlier this evening ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the story that Rockhold had withdrawn from his bout due to injury. In the tweet that reported the story he also added that UFC is currently “shuffling things around” because of this.

What was one of the first bouts announced for the show, Nate Diaz versus Dustin Poirier, was also thrown away due to an injury to Poirier. Injuries aside, this card has seen its fair share of shuffling around. Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks were set to fight for UFC’s vacant flyweight championship, but Eubanks has been re-booked to fight Roxanne Modafferi on the prelims, with Shevchenko fighting for the belt against Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 231.

People have become wary of undisclosed injuries lately due to the USADA’s new policy. In September it was announced that USADA will no longer announce drug test violations until the case is closed. Fighters now only have to notify the public about their violation if they want to. Recently Sean O’Malley did this once he was taken off of the UFC 229 prelims. While Rockhold’s injury may very well be legitimate, people won’t hesitate to speculate on the situation (and they haven’t).

UFC’s last two appearances at Madison Square Garden came with fewer bumps in the road, with each being supercards in their own right. The promotion’s debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in 2016 consisted of three title fights, with Conor McGregor defeating Eddie Alvarez in the main event. The next year the venue would see another three title event, with George St. Pierre returning to MMA for the first time in four years in the main event.

Currently the main event of 230 is Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier versus Derrick Lewis, who received a huge boost in popularity after UFC 229. On that show he performed a last minute knockout in a bout he would have otherwise lost. Alongside that performance he was praised online for his comedic post-fight interview. As a result, he shot up from around 300 thousand Instagram followers to over a million before the weekend was over.