All it took was a flying knee to the head and in just five seconds, including the time it took for the referee to stop the fight, Jorge Masvidal had beaten Ben Askren at UFC 239. Hopefully, his upcoming bout with Nate Diaz will last a little longer than that, as we look forward to what promises to be a thrilling encounter at UFC 244.
To be, or not to be – that was the question little over a week ahead of the fight, as Diaz seemingly pulled the plug on this bout even taking place. After testing positive for a banned substance, he angrily withdrew from the main event at Madison Square Gardens in New York, leaving the UFC and USADA to set the record straight, absolving him of any wrongdoing.
Now that the dust has settled on that drama over the last weekend, the two fighters are busy focusing on their final preparations. Although his overall fight record is comparable to that of Diaz over the years, the latest betting on UFC 244 has Masvidal as the firm favorite to win. But what makes the bookies believe he’ll leave the octagon as the victor this time? Let’s take a look at his most recent fights.
Jorge Masvidal vs Ben Askren
Jon Jones versus Thiago Santos was the Light Heavyweight Championship headline fight for UFC 239 in Las Vegas, while the Women’s Bantamweight battle between Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm was the co-headliner. Lower down the billing was Jorge Masvidal versus Ben Askren, but in the end, this was the fight that actually grabbed all the MMA headlines, thanks to a record-breaking conclusion.
No sooner had the fight begun, it was all over. Masvidal with the flying leap and knee straight to the head, Askren looking to duck and grapple, knocked out cold with that first contact. Just to make sure, Masvidal smashed a couple more punches to the head, before the ref called the knockout with Askren out cold. The fastest knockout in UFC history in five seconds flat, although in reality, the fight was done and dusted in less time than that.
Jorge Masvidal vs Darren Till
As the headline battle for UFC Fight Night 147 at The O2 Arena in London, the home crowd were hoping that Englishman Darren Till could do the business. It almost looked as though he would, quickly flooring the American with a stinging jab that caught him by surprise. However, Masvidal recovered and this fight seemed destined to go the difference, both fighters trading blows with equal measure.
Nevertheless, in the second round it was Masvidal who struck the killer blows and punching power was the difference. Till wobbled after a glancing right jab to the face, a quick follow-up left piledriver spelled the end, with Masvidal ensuring he wouldn’t get back up by applying another powerful left. Not content with that victory, during his post-fight interview Masvidal also ended up brawling with Leon Edwards. Controversial, but added entertainment for viewers.
Masvidal to Hit Peak Knockout Form vs Diaz?
Given his last two fights, the range of skill and ability demonstrated, not to mention such lightning speed and ferocity, it’s hard to argue against thoughts that Masvidal could well be in the best form of his life. Consecutive defeats against Demian Maia at UFC 211 and Stephen Thompson at UFC 217, both by decision, might have left him thinking about his future. 16 months out of the octagon to focus on training seems to have done this fascinating fighter the world of good.
Since stepping back into the action, it’s fair to say that Masvidal looks as though he’s better than ever. Whilst it’s fair to say that Diaz is certainly no slouch, ahead of a fight that could go the distance and leave the judges to award a decision victory either way, there’s also a strong chance that the 34-year-old might get another knockout win. If he does, the American with Cuban roots will be hungrily waiting to devour the next rival UFC serves up.