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.

Is Justin Gaethje Ready For a Title Shot?

A first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 158 on Saturday edges Justin Gaethje closer to a title shot, and the Arizona fighter wants the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.

Gaethje saw off Cerrone with relative ease in Vancouver. Cowboy looked unsettled by the power and forward pressure of Gaethje, who dropped Cowboy twice before the ref called a stop to the fight near the end of the first round.

A 21st professional win for Gaethje, and a third straight win by first-round stoppage. Now a top 4 contender in the lightweight division, Gaethje wants a shot at the title – namely the winner of the as-yet-unconfirmed Khabib-Tony fight.

Red Panty Night for Justin Gaethje?

Overtaking Cerrone to go fourth in the division, only Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier stand between Gaethje and the number one contender Tony Ferguson.

In an interview with ESPN last month, McGregor told Ariel Helwani that he was due to fight Justin Gaethje in June this year but for a hand injury. Gaethje later said that he was unaware of this scheduled ‘fight’ with the Irishman, which now seems unlikely to happen.

The next most likely fight for McGregor is Poirier. The pair exchanged tweets after Poirier loss to Khabib at UFC 242 last month, and fans seem keen on a rematch between the two before the end of the year. That clears the way for Gaethje to fight the winner of Khabib-Tony next year, but is Gaethje ready?

Lightweight Contender

It’s been a turbulent two years for Gaethje. Having won at the TUF Finale against Michael Johnson in 2017, he suffered back-to-back defeats against Eddie Alvarez and Poirier before concluding a three-run streak last weekend.

At only 30-years-old, is Gaethje ready for a shot at the title? He was stopped in his two UFC losses but has come back with three exciting and promising wins. But maybe he needs one more stepping stone on his road to being lightweight champ?

A possible match-up could be against the winner of Al Iaquinta and Dan Hooker at UFC 243 this weekend. Fifth-ranked Iaquinta will be expected to beat Hooker, and with similar brawler-mentality to Gaethje it could make for an enthralling contest.

Justin Gaethje is ranked up their with the top lightweight fighters in the world. He still has the fighting world at his feet and could go on to achieve great things in the sport. Realistically, the winner of McGregor’s next bout will have the next shot at the title, which may leave Gaethje needing another win to earn himself that shot.

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Alex Davis sees critical flaws in sport’s structure he believes must be addressed ‘for a better MMA’

For the past few days, I’ve been sitting here and reflecting over the 20-odd years I have been working in MMA, and one thing really bothers me. The fighting, itself, has evolved exponentially in that time, seeing MMA develop into an exciting and technically beautiful sport. But it’s not possible to say the same about the structure around it.

We seem to be simply stuck doing the same things – committing the same errors over and again. There is simply no effort or attempt to really improve anything about the sport as a whole. These guys and their camps work extremely hard to do what they do. It would be only fair if we worked extremely hard behind the scenes to try and evolve, as well – to try and improve. We need to work together to make a better MMA.

For example:

  • How about if we announced the score between rounds?
  • How about if we create, as I have said before, a fight gradings system based on entertainment value. Every fight would be rated with either a 1, 2, 3 or 4. This way, if you have a guy that’s lost three fights in a row, but they were all recorded as grade-4 fights, it would mean that even though this fighters lost, you know he came to fight every time, and we want him back!
  • How about the weigh-in system? Why don’t we try something similar to ONE Championship’s weigh-ins, a system that doesn’t let anyone go through extreme dehydration?
  • How about if we had five judges?
  • Or how about if the strike count was fed to the judges from one of these FightMetric-type sites, leaving only the subjective parts to the fights for the judges to evaluate? That might narrow the error margin in judging.

These are just some ideas, and I am sure there will be many people who don’t agree, who have different opinions and ideas – and that is OK. What is not OK is that we do not discuss, that we do not try. It is not OK that we do not evolve.

It seems that we are stuck in this trend of trashtalking, social media battling. MMA journalism reads more like a soap opera review then sports journalism! Dozens of new journalists are entering the sport every year, and most of them with a very poor understanding of what they are actually watching and writing about. Name me one MMA journalist who actually discusses the technical aspects of the sport!

Some people will say, “Well, with the UFC, Zuffa is a company with a primary goal is of making money. It’s not up to them. Although their help would be great, at the end of the day, they are making money.”

But it is simply undeniable that there are structural problems in many areas. Just look at how many controversial decisions are given out? Look at how these athletes are suffering with the current weight system?

This is our fault. We do not get together and discuss these things. If they are not discussed, if there is no thought put into an effort to evolve the sport, then we absolutely will not evolve.

We are a very fragmented sport. I write this to shout out at the public – to everyone who participates in or follows MMA – to point out a problem, to encourage discussion, and create change and evolving. I would ask that everyone who reads this and cares, please help spread this article, this feeling. Although I have been doing this for over 20 years, I do not own the truth; I am but one individual. But I do know that if we do not try, if we do not fight, if we do not discuss, nothing will ever change.

We need to get together as a community to help build a better MMA.

Alex Davis is a lifelong practitioner of martial arts and a former Brazilian judo champion. A founding member of American Top Team, Davis currently oversees the careers of a number of prominent Brazilian fighters, including Edson Barboza, Antonio Carlos Junior, Rousimar Palhares, Thiago “Marreta” Santos, Antonio Silva and Thiago Tavares, among others. Davis is a regular contributor to MMAjunkie, sharing his current views on the sport built through his perspectives that date back to the Brazilian roots of modern MMA.

Michel Pereira responds to criticism, vows to prove he can go three full rounds with same approach

Michel Pereira has received a lot of heat following his loss to newcomer Tristan Connelly.

Pereira lost a unanimous decision to Connelly at UFC on ESPN+ 16 in Vancouver in a fight in which he appeared to run out of gas.

Pereira (23-10 MMA, 1-1 UFC) showed off his acrobatics before the fight even started, and proceeded to throw wild attacks, backflips and flying knees right off the bat. He wasn’t able to land anything effective early, and started to slow down as the rounds winded down.

The gritty Connelly was able to withstand the early barrage, and controlled the rest of the fight with his grappling, wearing down Pereira. Originally a lightweight, Connelly took the fight on only five days’ notice. Pereira missed the welterweight limit by one pound.

Pereira, who was the biggest favorite on the card in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was showered with criticism following his loss to Connelly and he took to Instagram to respond to the critics. He insists that he got tired because his body shut down due to a tough weight cut, not because of his wild and acrobatic antics in the fight.

He vows to show that he can indeed go the full 15 minutes with his same entertaining style.

“Guys, a lot of bad things happened, I got tired, it was not because of the things I did, but because of the heavy weight. I cut 17.5 kgs alone, with no one helping me, and dealing with the stress of my cornerman’s visa who wasn’t there. Everyone else had someone to help and me with no one, no excuse, but I am a fighter who grows as the rounds are going and so I used a lot to reach the weight and my body shut down at the beginning of the second ROUND! I fight for you to give a show, let’s encourage more and criticize less, I already fight like this to have more fun at UFC, today’s fighters only think about winning the fight and making boring fights and that’s why MMA is falling a lot! I just want to make all my fans happy to watch a fight of mine, but this time things happened that led to my defeat! I lost to myself! Personal gratitude. I AM BACK AND I WILL BE BETTER STILL! And you will see that I have gas to fight the 3 ROUNDS no problem!”

“Demolidor” took the MMA world by storm in his UFC debut when he took out Danny Roberts in the first round at UFC on ESPN+ 10. While his second fight in the UFC didn’t go as planned, Pereira is eager to bounce back while delivering more show-stopping performances.

Makhmud Muradov, Floyd Mayweather’s only signed MMA fighter, inks deal with the UFC, debuts in Copenhagen

Floyd Mayweather’s only signed MMA fighter, Makhmud Muradov, is now part of the UFC roster.

He will step in to replace an injured Peter Sabotta and face Alessio Di Chirico in a middleweight bout at UFC on ESPN+ 18 in Copenhagen. News of the replacement was first reported by Cageside Press.

UFC on ESPN+ 18 takes place Sept. 28 at Royal Arena in Copenhagen. The event streams on ESPN+.

Muradov took to Instagram to share the news of his signing with his fans.

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Альхамдулиллах за все что мне даёт Всевышний 🤲🏻☝🏻 Сегодня Я подписал контракт с сильнейшей организацией мира @ufc Хотел бы поблагодарить свою команду братьев за проделанную работу @adrian1mma @lusenbakos @first_mma_management ✊🏻 Вместе мы творим историю Альхамдулиллах ❤☝🏻 Я первый Узбек в UFC 🇺🇿 Большое всем вам спасибо за вашу поддержку за вашу веру в меня Ин Ша Аллах вместе мы идём за очередной победой ☝🏻 ——————————————————- Dnes oficiálně podepsaná smlouva s UFC na 4 zápasy 💥Stále tomu nemůžu uvěřit, můj sen se stal realitou. Nevím co víc říct, než to, že jsem vděčnej a šťastnej. Děkuji všem co mi věřili, co mi věří a podporují mě. První uzbek v historii v UFC ! Jdeme pro další výhru 🔥💥 Děkuji vám všem ! ♥ #UFC #muradov #TMT #fighter #mma #history #uzbek #uzbekistan #czechrepublic #czech

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Muradov (22-6) is the first Uzbekistan-born fighter to sign with the UFC. He is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak and is coming off a second-round finish over UFC veteran Wendell Oliveira in the Slovenian-based promotion Oktagon 13.

Mayweather posted a video on Twitter in August boasting that Muradov is the best fighter in the world along with a series of his fighter’s highlights. Now Muradov will get his wish to compete in the UFC octagon.

Italy’s Di Chirico is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Kevin Holland at UFC on ESPN+ 12. Prior to that, Di Chirico had back-to-back wins over Oluwale Bamgbose and Julian Marquez.

With the change, the UFC on ESPN+ 18 lineup currently includes:

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 2 p.m. ET)

  • Jack Hermansson vs. Jared Cannonier
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Gunnar Nelson
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Ovince Saint Preux
  • Alen Amedovski vs. John Phillips
  • Ion Cutelaba vs. Khalil Rountree
  • Macy Chiasson vs. Lina Lansberg

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 11 a.m. ET)

  • Alessio Di Chirico vs. Makhmud Muradov
  • Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Danilo Belluardo vs. Mark Madsen
  • Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Ismail Naurdiev
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Lando Vannata
  • Nohelin Hernandez vs. Jack Shore
  • Mike Davis vs. Danny Henry

Bellator Europe 5: Ashley Reece steps in to face Stefano Paterno in Milan

It’s one British fighter out, one in as Stefano Paterno gets a new opponent for his hometown promotional debut at Bellator Europe 5 in Milan.

Former Cage Warriors welterweight champion Paterno (12-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) was due to take on Galore Bofando at the Allianz Cloud on October 12, but Bellator officials confirmed to MMA Junkie that the London Shootfighters welterweight has withdrawn from the card, with fellow countryman Ashley Reece signing on the dotted line to replace him.

Known as “The Beast”, Reece (8-1 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) has appeared twice under the Bellator Europe banner, having picked up back-to-back victories at Bellator Europe 1 in Newcastle and Bellator Europe 2 in Birmingham. Now the former Full Contact Contender veteran is set to make the third appearance of his Bellator career as he steps in to face Paterno on less than a month’s notice.

Bellator officials also confirmed they are working behind the scenes to fill another vacant slot on the card, with Italian welterweight Giorgio Pietrini ruled out of his fight with Sweden’s Oliver Enkamp on the Bellator 230 portion of the card in Milan.

Enkamp (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) impressed last time out at Bellator 223 in London in June when he finished Walter Gahadza via first-round rear-naked choke to make a winning start to life as a Bellator fighter. The 28-year-old Stockholm native now faces a wait to discover the identity of his new opponent for the October 12 show.

Urijah Faber wants to snatch Henry Cejudo’s belts and gold medal, then ‘silence the cringe’

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Urijah Faber sees a potential fight with Henry Cejudo as a golden opportunity.

After defeating Marlon Moraes to become the new bantamweight champion, Cejudo proceeded to call out a list of names.

One of them was Faber, who immediately accepted. The four-time UFC bantamweight title challenger sees a lot to gain in a potential fight with Cejudo.

“Henry Cejudo’s got the world strap, and a couple of them, and an olympic gold medal – which I never set my goals on as a young wrestler. I probably should have. But that’s enticing,” Faber said at a fan Q&A ahead of the UFC on ESPN+ 16 weigh-ins this past Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “To snatch up a belt – a couple belts – and a gold medal and silence the cringe would be a great step in the direction for me. And it’s a great matchup. He’s naturally a (1)25-pounder. I’m a big (1)35-pounder. He’s got the wrestling pedigree. I’ve got better jiu-jitsu. He breaks guys, and I don’t break. So I think that’s a good matchup.”

Since Faber (35-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) accepted Cejudo’s callout, he hasn’t heard back. Cejudo (15-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is still sidelined, healing from shoulder surgery, and will most likely be ready to return at the beginning of 2020.

Faber is still open for the fight.

“He called me out. One week later, I answered the call and then he starts calling out girls, birds and everything else,” Faber said. “If he wants it, he can get it.”

Cejudo’s new persona has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The flyweight and bantamweight champion has not only called out a bunch of top contenders and future Hall of Famers, but even female champions – which has made many question his gimmick.

But Faber can appreciate what Cejudo has done in reviving the flyweight division, and getting everyone to talk about him.

“I think it’s kind of smart what he’s doing,” Faber said. “He’s trying to do something that’s important to me, which is reestablish the 125-pound weight class. I mean, I don’t think it was fair for him to put blame on Demetrious (Johnson), one of the best champions of all time, for not holding it down. But he’s getting a bunch of people to talk about him.

“Right after my comeback fight, I mentioned his name. He’s got Dominick Cruz, one of the best fighters in the history of the division of all time (talking about him). He’s got the girls speaking about him for all the wrong reasons, which we knew that was going to happen. So he’s trying to get some clout, some recognition. He’s going to get beat up, most likely.”