UFC 244 brings us one of the most anticipated fights in the history of the UFC. From the ‘world’s most famous arena’, Madison Square Garden in New York City, Jorge Masvidal will face off against Nate Diaz. Clashing for the ‘BMF’ belt, these two fan favourites bring exciting styles which make it impossible for a boring fight. Following UFC 243’s by the numbers article, we delve into the numbers between the two men in the main of UFC 244.
Gorilla Slayer, 5 second KO and an impressive win following a layoff
Jorge Masvidal has shot to stardom in 2019. Masvidal faced off against Darren Till in the main event of UFC Fight Night 147 following a long layoff. The underdog coming into the fight, Masvidal emphatically knocked Till out cold in the second round.
‘Gamebred’ was then booked against Ben Askren at UFC 239. It took only five seconds for Masvidal to score one of the most electrifying knockouts in the history of combat sports. Securing the quickest knockout in UFC history, Masvidal knocked Askren out via flying knee. This shot him into the title picture at welterweight and a fight between Masvidal and champion, Kamaru Usman was discussed briefly. It was almost set in stone however that Masival would face the ‘Westcoast gangster’ following Diaz’s callout at UFC 241.
Having been out for over 1000 days, Diaz returned at UFC 241 to face Anthony Pettis. Diaz outlanded Pettis 205 strikes to 86. He also landed more than Pettis even attempted, 153. Diaz also incredibly increased his output round on round. He landed 62 strikes in the first, 65 in the second and 78 in the third. Diaz will return at UFC 244 after a much shorter layoff, just over two months.
Historic 500th Event in a Historic Arena
UFC 244 will mark the UFC’s fourth annual trip to Madison Square Garden. It will also mark the 500th UFC show in the history of the promotion. It will be the Diaz’s seventh main event slot and just Masvidal’s third. These two men share a common opponent in Donald Cerrone.
Diaz faced ‘Cowboy’ back in 2011, defeating him by unanimous decision. In this three-round fight, Diaz landed an insane 260 total strikes, of which 238 were significant. He simply overwhelmed Cerrone with his work rate. He landed 98 total strikes in the first round alone, more than Cerrone was able to land on Diaz the entire fight. Diaz was clearly not phased by Cerrone’s stand-up game, as 95% of his significant strikes were landed from a distance, utilising the reach advantage he had over Cerrone.
When Masvidal faced Cerrone in early 2017, he was able to finish him early in the second round. Although the fight was much shorter than Diaz’s fight with Cerrone, Masvidal’s output was considerably less. He landed a total of 58 strikes over six minutes. Comparing Diaz’s first round with Cerrone against Masvidal’s, the Stockton fighter landed 58 more strikes on Cerrone than Masivdal managed.
Do these numbers tell us anything about the UFC 244 main event?
What the numbers would suggest is that Diaz is the more active fighter inside the octagon. He uses both effective distance strikes as well as swarming clinch strikes. This was on show in his second fight with Conor McGregor. He looked to close the distance and lean on McGregor in an attempt to wear him down.
The numbers would also suggest that Masvidal has the power advantage over Diaz. He holds 15 knockouts against Diaz’s four. At welterweight, Masvidal has five knockouts, two of which have been in 2019. Both men have had stints at 155lbs, but both men now seem settled at 170lbs. With a combined 78 professional MMA fights, these two OG’s know how important this fight will be in their careers.
The most important number of all, however? There can only be one inaugural BMF champion.
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