Welcome to our coverage of UFC 244 from Madison Square Garden in New York City featuring Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal in the welterweight main event.
Phil Chertok and I will have the UFC 244 POST Show later tonight on the site.
*Hakeem Dawodu def. Julio Arce by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Lyman Good def. Chance Rencountre by TKO at 2:03 of Round 3
*Katlyn Chookagian def. Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Andrei Arlovski by KO at 0:29 of Round 1
*Edmen Shahbazyan def. Brad Tavares by knockout at 2:27 of Round 1
*Shane Burgos def. Makwan Amirkhani by TKO at 4:32 of Round 3
*Corey Anderson def. Johnny Walker by TKO at 2:07 of Round 1
*Kevin Lee def. Gregor Gillespie by KO at 2:47 of Round 1
*Derrick Lewis def. Blagoy Ivanov by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
*Stephen Thompson def. Vicente Luque by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
*Darren Till def. Kelvin Gastelum by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
*Jorge Masvidal def. Nate Diaz by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 3
JULIO ARCE (16-3, 145.4) VS HAKEEM DAWODU (10-1-1, 145.8) – FEATHERWEIGHT
This was a close fight and largely came down to the second round, which was the closest of the three rounds.
Dawodu displayed some great leg kicks that were efficient in the first round. The first was a clear round for Dawodu. In the second, Dawodu continued with kicks but was taken down with a trip. Arce worked in half-guard until a reverse and they were back up. The final round featured Arce having a strong 60 seconds in the end and landed three strong left hands and won that round. I had it 29-28 for Dawodu but you could either way.
WINNER: Hakeem Dawodu by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Dawodu said he doesn’t want to be in the first fight of the night any longer and would like to fight in Canada. After losing his first fight in the UFC, he has now won four straight. He wasn’t ecstatic with the performance and did slow down in the final portion of the third round.
LYMAN GOOD (20-5, 169.6) VS CHANCE RENCOUNTRE (14-3, 170.8) – WELTERWEIGHT
Good fought his style of fight and worked at a distance to set up strikes while Rencountre abandoned the wrestling game that opened him up to a difficult fight. In the first round, Good out-landed him 38-10 and started connecting with hard right hands as he teed off on him. It was enough you could argue for a 10-8 round.
In the second round, Good continued to land despite more composure from Rencountre. Good’s jab was on display throughout the third round until he threw a head kick that set up a straight right that dropped Rencountre and he was shut down due to strikes.
WINNER: Lyman Good by TKO at 2:03 of Round 3
Good was the superior striker and Rencountre could not adjust effectively. Good delivered a lot of damage in the first round and Rencountre just couldn’t take any more in the third round. Good, was the favorite coming into this fight, was coming off a loss to Demian Maia this past February as he earns his third win in the UFC.
JENNIFER MAIA (17-5-1, 127.2) VS KATLYN CHOOKAGIAN (12-2, 125.4)
Maia missed weight by 1.2 pounds on Friday. This was the second fight in a row she missed the flyweight limit.
Chookagian exploited her four-inch reach advantage in the first round and worked from the outside. Maia was patient and landed several right hands and clinched against the fence. Chookagian was more consistent with her strikes and won the first round. In the second, Chookagian doubled-down on the strategy of circling on the outside, her timing was on point through feints to set up her strikes. Maia would come through with isolated shots but nothing sustained. Maia had her best round in the third, chasing down Chookagian and eventually, taking her down to half-guard and working on top for the final minute. I scored the fight 29-28 for Chookagian.
WINNER: Katlyn Chookagian by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Chookagian wants to fight for the flyweight championship and has won five of her last six fights.
ANDREI ARLOVSKI (244) VS JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK (246.2) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Rozenstruik immediately went after it with a jab and heavy leg kick. Arlovski walked into a fight-ending left hand as he dropped to the mat upon impact.
WINNER: Jairzinho Rozenstruik by knockout at 0:29 of Round 1
Rozenstruik ended Arlovski’s run of eight fights that went the distance and is the first fighter to stop Arlovski since Francis Ngannou did in January 2017. This follows Rozenstruik’s last fight where he stopped Allen Crowder in nine seconds and is 3-0 in the UFC and 9-0 in his career.
BRAD TAVARES (17-5, 184.6) VS EDMEN SHAHBAZYAN (10-0, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Shahbazyan hurt Tavares early in the fight with a right hand that put Tavares down. Shahbazyan followed with hammer fists but Tavares got to his feet and was trying to recover. Shahbazyan kept the pressure on and nailed Tavares with a left head kick to end the fight as Tavares dropped.
WINNER: Edmen Shahbazyan by knockout at 2:27 of Round 1
Shahbazyan looked tremendous with great instincts when he had Tavares hurt and didn’t get too excited. At 21-years of age, Shahbazyan is now 11-0 and 4-0 inside the UFC and a major prospect on the rise following the biggest win of his career.
SHANE BURGOS (12-1, 145.8) VS MAKWAN AMIRKHANI (15-3, 145.4) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Amirkhani controlled the first round busting Burgos open by the left eye. Amirkhani continually threw him to the mat with control of his body. In the second, Amirkhani slowed as Burgos began attacking the body and lit him up with strikes inside Amirkhani’s guard. The third round was one-sided with Burgos rocking him with a left hand and followup right, he got on top with hammer fists and nearly finished the fight. Amirkhani continued and got attacked with elbows to the side of the head and was finished after taking one final body shot and dropped with a right. Burgos would have taken the final round 10-8 but finished it.
WINNER: Shane Burgos by TKO at 4:32 of Round 3
A strong comeback by Burgos and a tremendous strategy of breaking Amirkhani down with body shots. It was Burgos’ third straight win building off victories over Kurt Holobaugh and Cub Swanson in his last two fights.
COREY ANDERSON (12-4, 204.6) VS JOHNNY WALKER (17-3, 204.8) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Walker came out with his erratic movement but Anderson was not thrown off. Anderson drilled him with an overhand right and took over from there, putting Walker down and following with left hands. Anderson took him down, but Walker made it back to his feet. Anderson connected with a brutal right hand and one follow-up strike as referee Kevin MacDonald stepped in to stop it. Anderson was fired up after the win.
WINNER: Corey Anderson by TKO at 2:07 of Round 1
Anderson dominated the short fight and made a strong case for inclusion among the potential title challengers for Jon Jones. Anderson’s streak increases to four after wins over Patrick Cummins, Glover Teixeira, and Ilir Latifi. It would appear to be a decision between Anderson or Dominick Reyes for the next title fight.
The main card began and President Donald Trump entered the arena and was shown on camera.
KEVIN LEE (17-5, 155.6) VS GREGOR GILLESPIE (13-0, 155.4) – LIGHTWEIGHT
They both came out with jabs and Gillespie started to attack with his right hand and cut Lee under the left eye.
Lee connected with a right to the temple and hit a picture-perfect left head kick to put Gillespie to sleep in one of the most violent knockouts you will see.
WINNER: Kevin Lee by knockout at 2:47 of Round 1
After losing to Rafael dos Anjos at welterweight, Lee returned to lightweight for this fight and training under Firas Zahabi at Tristar for the first time. This was a spectacular knockout on a show with some exceptional ones. The most impressive win of Lee’s career and ends the undefeated run of Gillespie.
DERRICK LEWIS (21-7, 265) VS BLAGOY IVANOV (18-2 1 NC, 257.4) – HEAVYWEIGHT
This was a war between two heavyweights who absorbed a lot of damage. Lewis looked in the best condition he’s been in.
In the first round, Lewis threw a kick and immediately was taken down and put into side control. Lewis escaped to his feet and threw a flurry of strikes, including another kick. In the second round, Ivanov was stunned from a shot and took down Lewis as he attempted a keylock, which Lewis broke free from. Lewis got to his feet with a huge knee landing and several uppercuts. They traded bombs and ended with Ivanov landing a hip toss and went for a guillotine as the round expired. It was likely even after two rounds. In the third, both slowed down and it was anyone’s round until the final minute when Lewis landed a flurry with a left uppercut and knee to the body among the shots that landed. You could argue Lewis won 30-27, or at least 29-28.
WINNER: Derrick Lewis by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
This was Lewis’ first win since October of last year when he had the comeback victory against Alexander Volkov, which was followed by losses to Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos. Lewis mentioned Donald Trump in his post-fight speech, in a positive manner.
STEPHEN THOMPSON (14-4-1, 170.4) VS VICENTE LUQUE (17-6-1, 170.2) – WELTERWEIGHT
This was a fantastic fight and completely different from the Lewis vs. Ivanov fight in a technical sense.
Luque won the first-round landing over 40 significant strikes, including stunning Thompson in the round and showcasing his power to offset the speed of Thompson. Thompson rebounded in a big way from the second round onward. He sent Luque down with a sidekick and then rocked Luque against the cage, who briefly covered up. Thompson was firing with both hands and looking tremendous to win the second round. The third round was a dominant one from Thompson, sending Luque down with another sidekick, as well as a left hand dropping Luque. Thompson switched stances, attacked the body, was too quick and drilled him with a head kick and spin kick to the body at the end. I had it 29-27 for Thompson with a 10-8 round in the third.
WINNER: Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
It wasn’t only a must-win for Thompson but the way in which he won proved he was still a top-tier welterweight and looked as good as he ever has.
KELVIN GASTELUM (16-4, 184) VS DARREN TILL (17-2-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
The streak of great fights ended here as the two had a dull affair for three rounds.
Till won the first two rounds because of his leg kicks and a 1-2 he landed at the end of round one. In the second, Gastelum did land an elbow off the break and poked Till in the eye. Till finished the round winning the exchanges and relying on the leg kicks. In the third, Gastelum stunned him with a left hand and had a pair of takedowns where Till instantly got back up. This was not an entertaining fight and was a disappointment.
WINNER: Darren Till by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
How a judge scored it 30-27 for Gastelum is beyond comprehension.
JORGE MASVIDAL (34-13, 169.6) VS NATE DIAZ (20-11, 170.4) – WELTERWEIGHT
It was a tremendous fight for the three rounds that it lasted. Masvidal cut him open badly in the first round landing an elbow and a brutal kick. The bad cut was above the right eye of Diaz that he weathered throughout the fight. Diaz came back later in the round with a series of strikes and lost the round but recovered.
In the second round, Masvidal dropped him with a body shot and that was a primary target throughout the fight that affected Diaz. Masvidal landed two left hooks to the body and swarmed him with strikes, including a knee from the clinch sending Diaz to the mat. Masvidal was clearly up two rounds at this point.
It continued in the third round with Masvidal dropping him with a body kick. Diaz came alive and began landing but stopped when Masvidal attacked the body with a kick. Diaz was put on his back and was throwing shots, which ended with Masvidal started drilling him with elbows.
After the third round, the cage side doctor called the fight off due to the cut sustained by Diaz and the crowd was irate.
WINNER: Jorge Masvidal by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 3
Everyone was upset because it was a great fight. Both fighters want to run it back and Diaz said he was “getting ready to get started”. Rogan wanted the rematch in Las Vegas and was vocal about the stoppage being unnecessary.
The Rock presented the BMF title to Masvidal, who was flanked by Roberto Duran for the post-fight interview. Masvidal said he didn’t end the fight and told the audience not to boo him.