Post-Fight Thoughts: Nate Diaz -vs- Jorge Masvidal
"The only prediction I can make with a large degree of confidence is that this should be a close fight. A one-sided route, one way or the other, would be a real shock.
So... uh, yeah; Jorge Masvidal dished out a one-sided, three-round beating on Nate Diaz last night. At no point was the fight close, and should have been scored 30-26 before the doctor ended up stopping the fight. Masvidal did everything I expected him to do, only better, and Nate was unable to deal with his accuracy or power — all Nate could do was remind us how sturdy his chin is. I really expected Nate to have better luck defensively, but Masvidal started fast and never let up at any point. Masvidal's conditioning was on point, too, because he was throwing hard shots throughout the whole fight — from the opening round all the way to the end of the third — and did not look fatigued whatsoever.
The doctor stoppage, in hindsight, was a good call. Nate's facial cuts were severe, especially the laceration above his left eye that was opened very early in the fight. Furthermore, Nate was getting destroyed. There is precedent that Nate has staged late comebacks in the past, such as his wins over Kurt Pellegrino, Melvin Guillard and Dong Hyun Kim, but this particular fight looked like a foregone conclusion after 3 rounds. Masvidal wasn't going slowing down, and Nate was accumulating a lot of damage and landing nothing more than token offence. Had there been no stoppage, that would have been fine as well, and I think Nate's reputation earned him some additional leeway that he was not afforded.
If anything, the fact the fight was called off by the doctor took some of the shine off of Masvidal's win. After all the pageantry for the BMF title, the winner is decided by the ringside physician. Such an outcome is so very MMA; the combat sports gods have a cruel sense of humour. Now, let us never speak of this ridiculously named ad hoc title ever again. This was a star-making performance for Jorge Masvidal, moving him into the elite tier that only the likes of Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor have ascended to. Masvidal is marketable, charismatic, and — most important of all — is riding a streak of brutally decisive wins that have broken him into the mainstream consciousness. I would expect Masvidal to be challenging the winner of Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington's welterweight title scrap in mid-December.
It is possible that the UFC runs this fight back, although I don't see the point. Nate had less-than a 1% chance to win that fight and, honestly, the doctor stoppage might have saved Nate's image a little by taking the decision out of his hands. Nate was almost certainly going to lose this fight, but he didn't get finished with strikes and can always claim — and believably so, given his career history — that he would have never given up. If they do rematch Nate and Jorge, I don't have any reason to expect a different outcome. Not that I actually want to see Conor McGregor fighting right now (more on that later), but doing a third fight with him and Nate makes sense since they are both coming off losses and really have no business in title discussions right now.
Even though it was a one-sided fight, I have nothing negative to say about it. This was a great pairing; a big money fight that proved there didn't need to be a title on the line. The BMF title was irrelevant, a simply marketing prop — and necessary to satisfy a contractual stipulation that pay-per-view events are always headlined by title fights — which didn't add anything to the fight. Thankfully it didn't detract from the bout either, it was just a thing we had to put up with. Still, for as long as it lasted this fight was fireworks. Congratulations to Jorge Masvidal and his success in such a crucial moment in a lengthy MMA career.
I've been a fan of Jorge Masvidal since Strikeforce ran shows at The Playboy Mansion. I never expected to see him ascend to such heights, but it's been quite a joy to watch. Likewise, it's been great to see Nate Diaz emerge as the headliner we've all known he could be, despite the UFC's refusal to acknowledge his value. I'm still shocked at how not close the fight was, but that's why we play these things out and don't just go by speculative analysis.
Published: November 3rd, 2019.