UFC 244: Should Nate Diaz be the Underdog in Jorge Masvidal Fight?
On Saturday night, Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal are going to battle in what’s expected to be, one of the biggest bouts of 2019. As it stands right now, Diaz is the betting lines underdog and Jorge Masvidal is the favorite of the fight with odds at -160. But should he be?
Diaz’s long awaited, and triumphant return
After two years of speculation and debate as to when and who Diaz would fight next, the outspoken star returned to the cage this past August at UFC 241. Diaz was fighting for the first time since August, 2016, when he lost his rematch to Conor McGregor via majority decision. In their first bout that same year in March, Diaz rocked the MMA world by submitting the Irish superstar in round two.
At UFC 241, Diaz faced former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis in a fight at welterweight, and he outscored the decorated fighter for the decision win. After the bout, Diaz called out Masvidal, and the welterweights are going to battle in the headliner for UFC 244 this Saturday.
Diaz vs. Masvidal – the odds
Although Diaz is coming off an impressive win in his last outing, the same can be said about Masvidal and then some. At UFC 239 in July, Masvidal set a new UFC record by knocking out Ben Askren in just five seconds, with a vicious, flying knee. Prior to that, at UFC London in March, Masvidal recorded another of his most impressive wins to date, as he KO’d Darren Till in round two.
Fast forward to today, and Masvidal is the betting lines favorite for his bout with Diaz. Some of that is likely due to “Gamebred’s” aforementioned wins this year, which were very impressive to say the least. In addition, Masvidal is one of the most rugged fighters in the game, as evidenced by the fact that he’s only been finished in three of the 47 pro-bouts he’s had to date.
Over the years, Masvidal has also demonstrated that he’s far from just a striker, as he’s turned to his wrestling and top game in certain bouts to deliver a win. In the past, Diaz has struggled against the top games of some welterweights, like Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald.
But those losses were over five years ago, and there’s no question that the now, 34 -year-old Diaz appears to be a much bigger, stronger fighter. It’s hard to imagine him cutting to 155 again.
Further, most observers would probably agree that while Diaz may not have the punching power of Masvidal, his boxing is likely on a higher level. The dangers of Diaz’s guard are also well documented, as is his awe-inspiring cardio.
So, if Diaz can weather the storm from Masvidal early on, and take the dangerous fighter into the later rounds, his odds of winning the fight will rise significantly.
UFC 244 will be hosted by Madison Square Garden in New York City.