UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz fight card announced

UFC 244 Masvidal vs Diaz fight card

UFC will hold its 500th event at the World’s Most Famous Arena, featuring a stacked card headlined by an East Coast-West Coast battle between No. 3 ranked welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal and No. 6 Nate Diaz. In a thrilling middleweight bout, No. 4 ranked contender and recent title challenger Kelvin Gastelumwelcomes No. 8 welterweight Darren Till to the 185-pound division.

UFC 244: MASVIDAL vs. DIAZ takes place Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden and will streamlive nationally on Pay-Per-View exclusively through ESPN+ in the U.S. at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in both English and Spanish.

ESPN+ is the exclusive provider of all UFC Pay-Per-View events to fans in the U.S. as part of an agreement announced in March and continuing through 2025.

As UFC 244: MASVIDAL vs. DIAZ approaches, fans will be able to purchase it online at ESPNPlus.com/PPV or on the ESPN App on mobile and connected-TV devices.  ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App on all major mobile and connected TV devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, X Box One and more.

Preliminary fights will air nationally in English on ESPN2 and via streaming on the ESPN App (in Spanish) starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the early prelims simulcast on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT.

A perennial fan favorite, Masvidal (34-13, fighting out of Miami, Fla.) etched his name in the UFC history books for fastest knockout after executing a stunning flying knee against previously undefeated Ben Askren. The 16-year veteran has also delivered unforgettable knockouts against Darren Till, Donald Cerrone, Jake Ellenberger and Cezar Ferreira. Masvidal now aims to deliver another sensational finish in the biggest fight of his career.

Among the most popular athletes on the UFC roster, Diaz (21-11, fighting out of Stockton, Calif.) returned from a three-year hiatus in August by securing a thrilling win over Anthony Pettis. Known for his submission win over Conor McGregor, Diaz has also picked up incredible victories against Michael Johnson, Gray Maynard, Jim Miller and Takanori Gomi. He now hopes to keep his momentum going and enter the welterweight top five.

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Winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 17, Gastelum’s (16-4 1NC, fighting out of Yuma, Ariz.) last outing saw him put on a Fight of the Year-worthy performance against interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Throughout his UFC stint, he has netted impressive wins against Jacare Souza, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy. Gastelum now hopes to re-assert himself as a 185-pound title threat.

A former welterweight title challenger, Till (17-2-1, fighting out of Liverpool, England) will now test the waters in the ultra-competitive middleweight division. During his run at 170 pounds, he earned hard-fought wins over Stephen Thompson, Donald Cerrone and Jessin Ayari. Till now has his sights set on turning heads at 185 pounds by taking out one of the division’s top contenders.

Additional UFC 244 bouts on the card include

  • Former heavyweight title challenger and No. 5 ranked contender Derrick Lewis (21-7 1NC, fighting out of Houston, Tex.) battles rising No. 9 Blagoy Ivanov (18-2 1NC, fighting out of Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • No. 7 ranked light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson (13-4, fighting out of Robbinsville, N.J.) goes for his fourth consecutive win against surging No. 10 Johnny Walker (17-3, fighting out of Phuket, Thailand by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Former title challenger and No. 9 ranked welterweight contender Stephen Thompson (14-4-1, fighting out of Simpsonville, S.C.) squares off with surging No. 14 Vicente Luque (17-6-1, fighting out of Westwood, N.J. by way of Brasilia, Brazil)
  • In a pivotal flyweight contenders’ bout, No. 1 ranked Katlyn Chookagian (12-2, fighting out of Kenilworth, N.J.) takes on No. 5 Jennifer Maia (17-5-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil)
  • Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski(28-18 2NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Minsk, Belarus) faces undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik (8-0, fighting out of Paramaribo, Suriname)
  • Julio Arce (16-3, fighting out of Bayside, N.Y.) meets Hakeem Dawodu (10-1-1, fighting out of Calgary, Canada) in an exciting featherweight bout
  • Krzysztof Jotko (21-4, fighting out of Orneta, Poland) aims to be the first fighter to defeat unbeaten Edmen Shahbazyan (10-0, fighting out of Glendale, Calif.)
  • Lyman Good (20-5 1NC, fighting out of New York, N.Y.) looks to defend his home turf against Chance Rencountre (14-3, fighting out of Pawhuska, Okla.)

Tickets for UFC 244: MASVIDAL vs. DIAZ go on sale Friday, September 20 at 10 a.m. ET. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

UFC owner Endeavor looking to raise nearly $700 million when it goes public

New UFC championship belt circa 2019

UFC majority owner Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) is set to go public with the possibility of raising in the neighborhood of $700 million dollars from its initial public offering.

Endeavor has been in the process of going public for quite some time, but put off its initial summer timeframe to acquire live events company On Location Experiences LLC.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Endeavor has registered more than 22 million shares of Class A common stock shares, which it expects to sell in the range of $30 to $32 per share. If Endeavor sold all of its registered Class A shares at the high end of its target range, the company would raise around $712 million.

According to a report by The Wrap, Endeavor is more likely to release 19-million-plus Class A shares at the time of the IPO. At the low end of $30 per share, Endeavor would raise over $580 million or more than $619 million at the top end of $32 per share.

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Endeavor was the driving force behind the $4 billion UFC purchase in 2016. The UFC generated revenue of just over $600 million in 2015. Estimates have the company producing revenue of just under $1 billion in 2020.

Was Urijah Faber’s UFC return one and done?

Urijah Faber - UFC on ESPN+ 13

(Video courtesy of MMAFightingonSBN | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber made a successful return to the Octagon earlier this year after two-and-a-half years on the sidelines. But was it a one-and-done fight?

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Faber was in attendance at UFC Vancouver this past weekend, where he met with reporters and discussed why two months after his return, there has been no chatter about his next fight and if there will even be one.

Cody Garbrandt updates wrist injury, timeline for UFC return

Cody Garbrandt double fists

(Video courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Three years ago, Cody Garbrandt was at the top of the UFC bantamweight division. After three consecutive losses, he went back to the drawing board, but the drawing board threw a wrench in the works. Garbrandt damaged his wrists in training. 

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Having been on the sidelines since March, Garbrandt is now eyeing his return and recently provided an update on his injuries and the timeline for his next fight.

Francis Ngannou is waiting for the call to fight UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic

Francis Ngannou UFC 226 Media Day Vegas

(Courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Francis Ngannou missed out on his first opportunity to capture the UFC heavyweight title, but has put himself in position to get another shot at gold. He’s ready to go, but is currently awaiting a phone call to tell him when and where the fight will happen.

Champion Stipe Miocic defeated Ngannou in a five-round unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January 2018. His confidence shaken, Ngannou then lost to Derrick Lewis in his next bout.

Following the first back-to-back defeats of his career, Ngannou has since returned to form knocking out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos in consecutive bouts.

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Tyron Woodley wants to win his belt back and challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov (video)

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tyron Woodley

(Video courtesy of TMZSports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

In the latest Hollywood Beatdown, Tyron Woodley reacted to Kobe Bryant’s controversial IG post about his daughter’s youth basketball team. Also, Woodley called out current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, saying he wants to get his belt back and then fight the champ.

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Lupita Godinez critical of her winning Combate Americas performance

Though she was able to pick up a unanimous decision victory in her Combate Americas debut on August 23 versus Felisha Magallan, strawweight Lupita Godinez feels she could have done better.

Never one to be satisfied with her performance, Godinez is quick to point out what when wrong in a fight rather than what went right, even in the case of a win.

“I think I didn’t do perfect,” Godinez told MMAWeekly.com. “Always, every time, every fight, I always see the bad things I did. And I did a lot of bad things or things I wanted to do that I didn’t do. I got the win and there’s nothing wrong with that.

“She was a tough cookie. She kept coming no matter how hard I was hitting (her). She also hits hard. I had a lot of fun, and I’m really happy I got to do this, and I want to do it again soon.”

Though she’s always critical of the way she performs in fights, Godinez does see the improvements she’s managed to make in her game since she turned pro in June of 2018.

“I see a lot of changes for sure,” said Godinez. “Not only in my techniques and having more techniques in my tool box and that, but just when I’m fighting I see everything. I’m calmer. I’m relaxed. I know how to manage my nerves better.

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“I keep evolving with my coaches and my team, and we are just getting better, and are putting everything together and what works for us. I’m happy with this.”

Having had the opportunity to step into an international promotion with Combate Americas, Godinez is looking to secure a spot with the company and see what kind of opportunities it can provide her in the near future.

“I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” Godinez said. “I’m not rushing things. I’m taking things how it goes. But I do want to be more active. I just want to be busy.

“I am not exactly sure (what’s next). I think my coach is going to talk to Combate and see what’s next. I don’t know what I’m going to sign or know anything right now, but I just know I really like Combate.”