The BMF Belt
The main event of the evening sees Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz face off in a highly anticipated bout for the ‘BMF’ belt, created especially for this fight by UFC to mark the 500thevent. The ‘BMF’ belt is due to be presented by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Competing in professional MMA since 2003, Masvidal’s career has taken off in recent times and “Gamebred” enters the fight on a two-fight win streak. This included a breath-taking victory over Ben Askren last time out, where Masvidal stunned with a KO after just 5 seconds following an intense back-and-forth with “Funky” on social media. His attempt to win the BMF title, will not be straight forward however, as a true UFC legend in Nate Diaz stands in his path.
After nearly 3 years away from the Octagon®, Diaz, whose brother Nick was also a UFC athlete, marked his return to the promotion in emphatic fashion with a convincing decision victory over Anthony Pettis in August. Expect fireworks in this one as both men will have to be at their very best to be crowned ‘BMF’ in the game.
Liverpool native No. 10 ranked UFC welterweight Darren Till makes his debut in the middleweight division against no. 4 ranked Kelvin Gastelum in the night’s co-main event.
Having previously fought for the UFC welterweight title, “The Gorilla” faces a former welterweight in Gastelum, who has won 2 of his last 3. Till has spoken openly about the risk associated with facing such a quality opponent in his first fight in the division, but believes he has nothing to lose and is taking a chance in going for glory.
Till will be looking to exploit his reach advantage to keep distance between himself and Gastelum, but he faces a tough task to keep the former interim middleweight title challenger at bay. Till remains a strong contender against Gastelum and he will be looking to place it all on the line to make his mark in the middleweight division.
UFC veteran Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will also be in action at UFC 244, as he takes on Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque in a welterweight contest.
A former kickboxer, “Wonderboy” owns a combined 57-0 kickboxing record which includes over 40 KOs. Whilst Thompson has had mixed fortunes inside the Octagon in recent times, he is still fighting at a high level, boasting 5 first round finishes to date in his MMA career.
Luque, however, enters the bout on a 6-fight win streak, having edged a potential fight of the year candidate against Mike Perry in his last outing. Wonderboy will be hoping to utilise his impressive kickboxing skills to neutralise Luque’s striking power to secure a win in this one.
Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal vs Nate Diaz
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren “The Gorilla” Till
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque
Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis vs. Blagoy “Baga” Ivanov
Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee vs. Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie
Corey “Overtime” Anderson vs. Johnny Walker
Shane “Hurricane” Burgos vs. Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani
Brad Tavares vs. Edmen “The Golden Boy” Shahbazyan
Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski vs. Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik
Katlyn “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian vs. Jennifer Maia
Lyman “Cyborg” Good vs. Chance “Black Eagle” Rencountre
Julio Arce vs. Hakeem “Mean” Dawodu