Jorge Masvidal entered the octagon under the soundtrack of the film “Scarface,” further perpetuating the bad-guy image he earned as a Cuban street fighter in Miami.
Nate Diaz stepped into the cage in classic form as the curmudgeon he’s long been known to be, pacing back and forth with a scowl like a villain and antihero the MMA fans have loved to embrace.
As soon as the fight started, Masvidal channeled into his character of Al Pacino and immediately drew blood, but unlike the end of the acclaimed film the actor starred in, he remained standing, and continued his surprising resurgence in the sport, dominating Diaz for three rounds and stopping the fan favorite once doctors determined the cuts Diaz sustained to his eye were too dangerous to continue.
It was an anticlimactic end to a fight that still felt had plenty of drama in store for UFC’s 500th event. For his efforts, Masvidal earned the BMF title — an R-rated acronym and belt created just for this event.
Masvidal was visibly displeased that he won the fight the way he did, and so were the fans, unleashing a cattle-inspired, expletive-filled chant of their own.
“For a fact, I told Nate right now, let’s run it back,” Masvidal said in his postfight interview in the cage. “UFC, make it happen. Let’s run it back. I don’t like to leave the ring like this with my opponent conscious. There’s only one way to do it, and that’s to baptize them, and I didn’t get to baptize Nate, so we’re going to run it back.”
President Trump, who’s friendly with UFC President Dana White, was the chief observer in attendance for the much anticipated showdown, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bestowed the $50,000 BMF belt to Masvidal after he was awarded the victory.
Masvidal (35-13) dominated the fight from the opening, busting open the scar tissue on Diaz‘s face soon after the first minute and inducing a crimson mask with a double left elbow and a kick to the head, which opened cuts to the right eyebrow and cheek of Diaz.
The unbothered Diaz, a character unlike any other the UFC has ever seen, rose from adversity with 90 seconds left in the first round and countered with a clip to the jaw of Masvidal, proving he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
In the second round, Masvidal dropped Diaz again with a kick to the body but allowed for him to get back up shortly after, salivating at the thought of an all-action war that he promised all throughout the lead-up of their encounter.
As the blood flowed from the face of Diaz, Masvidal continued breaking the body. The triathlon-trained Diaz got the wind knocked out of him but weathered the storm until he was picked up and dropped again in the final minute.
“I didn’t think they were going to stop it,” Diaz said. “I was getting ready to get started.”
Masvidal made sure the first two rounds weren’t a fluke, landed a thudding left hand to the face of Diaz, who incessantly wiped the blood off it.
Diaz, somewhat in damage control in between the third and fourth rounds of the scheduled five-round fight, was sent to an early shower when the doctor examined his beaten right eye and stopped the fight.
Both of the displeased fighters clearly intimated afterward that for clear BMF status to be determined, a rematch would have to take place.
“I’m coming back for you ... ,” said Diaz, who added an expletive.
Said Masvidal, “We’re going to run it back, so don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen again.”