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Last Man Standing: Diaz v Masvidal Preview and Prediction

UFC legends Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal take their rivalry to the boxing ring as they look to settle their beef at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.


UFC legends Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal take their rivalry to the boxing ring as they look to settle their beef at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

4 AM Sunday SA time

Nate Diaz (3.00) v Jorge Masvidal (1.38)

Two of mixed martial arts’ ultimate gangsters, Diaz and Masvidal rose from the mean streets of Stockton and Miami to become UFC icons.

They went to war every time they stepped inside the Octagon and kept it real outside of it. That raw, rare and unapologetic combination has made them two of the most beloved fighters and biggest pay-per-view draws in UFC history.

Their heart and skill saw them fight for UFC titles, put on classic battles, produce iconic moments and defy the odds on several occasions. Diaz’s superstar-making moment came when he submitted Conor McGregor, who was unbeaten in the UFC and the featherweight champion when they fought for the first time in a welterweight clash in March 2016.

Meanwhile, Masvidal, whose combat roots were throwing hands as part of the late Kimbo Slice’s street fighting crew, became a megastar and viral sensation when he nearly decapitated Ben Askren with a flying knee in July 2019. The fastest knockout in UFC history at just five seconds, it broke the internet and Askren’s 10-year unbeaten streak.

The warriors’ paths crossed four months after that all-time great knockout. Diaz spoke the BMF (baddest motherf**ker) belt into existence and called out Masvidal with the two facing off for the specially designed belt in the main event of UFC 244.

Masvidal emerged victorious, becoming the UFC’s inaugural BMF champion via third-round doctor stoppage after opening up a deep cut over Diaz’s right eye. The intervention of the doctor was loudly jeered by the sold-out crowd and left a sense of unfinished business.

The rematch never materialised inside the UFC, and with both men now out of the promotion, they’ll run it back in the boxing ring in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds at 175 pounds.

Originally scheduled for June 1 at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, it was pushed back and relocated to the Honda Center in Anaheim, where the rematch will mark Masvidal’s pro boxing debut and return to combat sports after retiring from MMA last April, while Diaz made his professional boxing bow last August, losing a unanimous decision to influencer Jake Paul.

The press tour for the sequel inside the squared circle has been everything you’d expect from the two OGs, complete with a brawl between members of each fighter’s team.

Though he has good striking in the MMA realm, grappling is Diaz’s bread and butter. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt boasts a dozen tap-out victories and just five knockouts in his almost 20-year MMA career. Still, he was one of the better pure boxers in the UFC whose striking success was the result of him melting foes with pressure and endless barrages.

Masvidal, in turn, earned 16 of his 35 MMA wins by knockout. “Gamebred” possesses the one-punch knockout power Diaz lacks but doesn’t throw as much volume. He incorporated kicks into his MMA arsenal, which is how he hurt Diaz in the first fight, and with that stripped away, we’re left with a highly intriguing boxing duel.

Along with his otherworldly stamina that makes him stronger as the fight goes on, Diaz has superhuman toughness. The zombie-like 39-year-old has only been knocked out once, and that was when he ate a head kick from Josh Thomson back in 2013, so even with Masvidal’s stopping power, it’s highly unlikely the Stockton underdog will be KO’d.

Masvidal, who’s also 39, has an iron chin as well, with only Rodrigo Damm (in 2008) and then-UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (2021) managing to knock him out in his 52-fight MMA career. Therefore, it’s tough to see Diaz finishing him with anything other than a perfectly placed body shot.

Diaz has so much scar tissue that there’s the possibility this fight could also end by doctor stoppage, which is the worst-case scenario. A few will thus sprinkle a couple of pennies on a stoppage, but odds are the fight will go the distance.

Diaz has a bad habit of checking out of fights mentally when he’s frustrated, like he did in his boxing debut against Paul. He’ll land some good jabs and combinations, but Masvidal will do more damage and will be the hungrier, more committed fighter, which should see him get his hand raised.

Prediction: Masvidal by decision.

Best Bet: Masvidal by decision at 2.20

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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