The UFC will be returning to the world’s most famous arena this weekend with a stacked card full of young talent on the verge of greatness and you can watch it all go down on ESPN+.
UFC 244 will feature several very evenly matched fights, including a welterweight main event between the fast-rising Jorge Masvidal and popular UFC bad boy Nate Diaz. On top of that, there will be a handful of other fights with potential title implications. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important fights at UFC 244.
Welterweight bout: Stephen Thompson vs. Vicente Luque
This is a fight for true fans of mixed martial arts. Both of these guys are very good technical strikers who are certainly going to respect each other’s power and precision. Luque, currently ranked 14th in the welterweight division, is a bigtime power puncher coming off of six straight wins, with four of them coming by way of knockout.
Thompson, currently ranked 9th, is a dangerous counter striker who came so close to wearing the welterweight crown just a couple of years ago. He has since struggled a bit, losing two in a row including a highlight reel knockout loss to former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis back in March. This is a very important fight for both guys as they look to climb the rankings.
Middleweight bout: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till
Speaking of important fights, this one could have major title implications in the middleweight division. 4th-ranked Kelvin Gastelum is fresh off of taking dominant middleweight champ Israel Adesanya the distance and now he’s looking to get back into the title picture. Gastelum is another very powerful striker, with six wins by knockout. Most recently, he dropped former champ Michael Bisping with a punch back in 2017.
Till has been in a bit of a slide lately, dropping his last two, but the 26-year-old, 10th-ranked welterweight is ready to reverse his momentum while moving up to a new division. Prior to his failed attempt to capture the welterweight title and his knockout loss to UFC 244 main eventer Masvidal, Till won four in a row including a decision over the aforementioned Thompson. It’s worth noting, this will be Till’s first time in five fight where he will not be featured in the main event. Till tends to bring punches in bunches, resulting in 10 of his 17 wins coming by knockout. This fight is sure to feature some fireworks.
Welterweight bout: Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz
The evening’s main event will feature two of the UFC’s top welterweights as they try to secure themselves a future title shot. Jorge Masvidal is coming off of two knockout wins, including a record-breaking five-second finish of Ben Askren back in July. That’s right. Five seconds is all it took for Masvidal to finish off one of the best fighters in the world. It doesn’t get any more dangerous than that. The third-ranked welterweight is going to look to capitalize on that momentum and move closer to a title shot.
Nate Diaz is in a trickier situation. He’s is always finding himself in some sort of trouble, most recently almost having to pull out of this fight because of a failed drug test. Luckily for us, things were cleared up and Diaz was allowed to fight. The fan-favorite is coming off of a decision win over Pettis in August. Prior to that though, his previous two fights were the well-documented split series with then UFC megastar Conor McGregor. Those fights were more than three years ago and now Diaz has pretty much had to start from scratch in building his case for a welterweight title fight. A win over Masvidal would certainly be a big feather in his cap.
UFC 244 will be held tomorrow night, Saturday, November 2 at 10 PM ET. Fight fans can order the pay per view through ESPN+ and receive a special offer: $79.98 for UFC 244 and an ESPN+ annual plan. ESPN+ subscribers can order the pay per view for $59.99.