The Octagon returns to Madison Square Garden tonight for their penultimate pay-per-view of the year, as Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal meets Nate Diaz for the BMF championship at UFC 244. American Top Team trainee Masvidal attempts to extend his win streak to three, following two huge knockouts of Darren Till, and a record-setting stoppage of Ben Askren earlier this year. Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product Diaz, returned from a three year layoff recently, where he returned to the win column with a one-sided victory over former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
One-time interim middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum makes his first Octagon walk since April, as he welcomes fellow one-time title hopeful, Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till to middleweight. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson looks to reignite his career and earn a third crack at welterweight gold, as he’s tasked with snapping promising Brazilian striker Vicente Luque’s six fight win streak. Former heavyweight title challenger Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis throws down with former WSOF heavyweight kingpin Blagoy Ivanov. Opening up our main card action, one-time interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee returns to 15-pounds as he meets the undefeated wrestling presence, Gregor ‘The Gift’ Gillespie.
Opening up our stacked card, we’ve got a clash of featherweights as Julio Arce meets Canada native, Hakeem Dawodu. Extending his win streak to four, kickboxer Dawodu managed a split decision in a close contest.
Lyman Good returns to action next at welterweight, as he looks to find his way back to the win column after a loss to Demian Maia. At 170-pounds, he matches with Chance Rencountre. Lodging one of his most impressive Octagon performances, Lyman Good secured a third round knockout after a tremendous display of striking.
We’ve got a potential flyweight title eliminator in our featured UFC Fight Pass prelim, as Katlyn Chookagian meets former Invicta FC flyweight title holder, Jennifer Maia. Maia has been fined 25% of her fight purse as she missed the flyweight limit 1.2 pounds. In a phenemonal counter striking performance, Katlyn Chookagian managed a dominant unanimous decision over Jennifer Maia. Shevchenko vs. Chookagian?
In out ESPN2 preliminary card opener, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski takes on knockout artist, Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Adding to his timely finish over Allen Crowder, Rozenstruik moved to 9-0 with an opening minute stoppage of Arlovski via a counter left hook. Scary power.
Replacing Krzysztof Jotko, Brad Tavares meets with middleweight riser, Edmen Shahbazyan. Retaining his undefeated record, Shahbazyan scored a brutal first round head kick knockout of Tavares to improve to 11-0.
‘Hurricane’ Shane Burgos looks to build on his victory over Cub Swanson, as he meets with fellow featherweight contender, Makwan Amirkhani. Rallying from a first round wrestling display from Amirkhani, Burgos exacted a brutal body work display before securing a knockout late in the third and final round.
In a high stakes featured prelim bout at light heavyweight, title hopefuls meet as Corey Anderson attempts to finally earn a crack at Jon Jones as he meets the exciting Brazilian prospect, Johnny Walker. After some early clinch exchanges, Corey Anderson cracked Walker with a right hand, sending him to the canvas. Following up with a barrage at the fence, referee Kevin MacDonald called a halt to the action. Corey Anderson, who was incredibly fired-up, called for a title shot against Jon Jones.
Opening up the action on the main card, Kevin Lee returns to lightweight as he meets with the so far, flawless Gregor Gillespie. Under the tutelage of Firas Zahabi at Tristar for the first time, Kevin Lee returned to 155-pounds, and also the win column via a brutal head kick knockout of the undefeated Gregor Gillespie in the opening round.
Derrick Lewis returns to the venue of his one and only heavyweight title challenge as he meets with Bulgarian striker, Blagoy Ivanov. In a wild back-and-forth Derrick Lewis returned to winning ways via a split decision.
We’ve got a striking showcase in our next welterweight pairing, as Stephen Thompson meets New Jersey native Vicente Luque. In a vintage ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson performance, the South Carolina native lodged a unanimous decision victory in a consistent beating of Vicente Luque.
In co-main event action, both Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till attempt to earn their second tilts at Octagon gold, as they meet in a potential title eliminator at 185-pounds. In a tentative showing, Darren Till picked up a successful middleweight debut via a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum.
In our curtain-closer of the night, we’ve got the Baddest Motherf**ker championship up for grabs in a one off affair. It needs no introduction. Jorge Masvidal tangles with Nate Diaz. In the early goings, Masvidal threatened with shots in the clinch, before landing an early knockdown. Striking with a short elbow on the break, and then a combination, Masvidal launched a head kick which dropped a stumbling Diaz. Once more in the second round, Diaz was wobbled and dropped via an overhand right and body kick. Ahead of the fourth round, Diaz was checked by the New York State Athletic Commission doctor, who waved off the contest due to a cut above the right eye of Diaz. Masvidal was strapped with the BMF championship by The Rock as boos and jeers rang through Madison Square Garden. Masvidal spoke with Joe Rogan afterwards where he agreed to run-back the matchup with Diaz once he heals up. A hugely anti-climatic ending to a stellar bout.