NEW YORK -- The UFC 244 main event in Madison Square Garden on Saturday to crown the first -- and likely only -- "BMF" champion between fan-favorites Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz gave the fans everything they'd been salivating for in a dream main event for three action-packed rounds. That action, mainly produced at the hands of Masvidal, would end up being the catalyst to the tune inside the world's "most famous arena" very quickly as the brutal damage he inflicted to the right eye of Diaz brought a stop to the historic matchup early. Heading into Round 4, the cage side doctor reentered the cage to give a second look to the battered eye of Diaz and shortly thereafter called a stop to the bout, giving Masvidal the TKO victory and the "BMF" championship.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was on hand, as advertised, to present the inaugural title to Masvidal amid a showering of boos from the passionate New York City faithful. Also post-fight, when pegged about running it back after the disappointing result, Masvidal, was adamant that these two need to arrange another meeting inside the Octagon in the near future.
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"I told Nate right now ... let's run it back," Masvidal said. "I don't like to leave the ring like this with my opponent conscious."
"I was f---ed because I had a cut ... I didn't think they were going to stop it. I was just getting started," Diaz proclaimed after the fight.
The rollercoaster of emotions felt in this "BMF" title fight will leave fans remembering this night for the good as well as the bad. Prior to the stoppage that has engulfed the MMA world in hatred, this was as entertaining as you could ask for from these two. It even began with a lighthearted twist as Masvidal feigned attempting the same flying knee that put him on the map and Ben Askren out cold in 5 seconds; this drew a laugh from the capacity crowd in MSG.
Things then turned serious, as Masvidal would floor Diaz with a kick-punch combination near the middle of Round 1 that would eventually open up the floodgates of damage. Masvidal brutalized Diaz throughout with various strikes, though Diaz, the consummate badass in his own right, kept firing back. The problem was, however, Masvidal had an answer for everything thrown his way by Diaz, eventually leading to the TKO finish.
Though not the desirable outcome by any means, we, at the very least, were afforded a glimpse of the chaos that could ensue when these two meet one another inside the cage. Running this one back would surely be welcomed by all sooner rather than later.
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UFC 244 updates, highlights
UFC 244 card/results
Jorge Masvidal def. Nate Diaz via third-round TKO (doctor's stoppage)
Darren Till def. Kelvin Gastelum via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
(30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
(30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Shane Burgos def. Makwan Amirkhani via third-round TKO (punches)
Jair Rozenstruik def. Andrei Arlovski via first-round knockout (punch)
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