The cageside doctor deemed the Stockton, California, native unfit to continue because of a nasty cut above Diaz's right eye.
For three rounds, Masvidal put on a clinic against his opponent. Gamebred set the tone early with a knockdown in the first round. The frenetic flurry included an elbow and head kick that started the gash.
Masvidal would continue to lay on the punishment until the cut became a bigger and bigger storyline. Going into the fourth round, the doctor surprisingly decided to draw the fight to a close. As ESPN Stats & Info noted, it was only the fifth time a doctor stoppage has ended a pay-per-view bout:
Regardless of the somewhat controversial ruling, this was a top-notch performance from the winner. Diaz showcased his typical toughness but not much else as Masvidal's boxing and body kicks proved to be too much for him as the fight wore on.
It was a bout that lived up to the hype as an exciting affair. Masvidal brought the heat, and Diaz was there to respond throughout. While the ending wasn't satisfying, the fight itself was.
Overall, it was a fitting end to a card that brought plenty of action to the Empire State.
UFC 244 Results
- Jorge Masvidal defeats Nate Diaz via TKO (doctor's stoppage), Round 3
- Darren Till defeats Kelvin Gastelum via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 27-30)
- Stephen Thompson defeats Vicente Luque via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Derrick Lewis defeats Blagoy Ivanov via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Kevin Lee defeats Gregor Gillespie via KO, 2:47 of Round 1
- Corey Anderson defeats Johnny Walker via TKO, 2:07 of Round 1
- Shane Burgos defeats Makwan Amirkhani via TKO, 4:32 of Round 3
- Edmen Shahbazyan defeats Brad Tavares via KO, 2:27 of Round 1
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik defeats Andrei Arlovski via TKO, 0:29 of Round 1
- Katlyn Chookagian defeats Jennifer Maia via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Lyman Good defeats Chance Rencountre via TKO, 2:03 of Round 3
- Hakeem Dawodu defeats Julio Arce via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till
Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum did very little to help fans stay awake in anticipation of the main event. The two former welterweights engaged in a slow-paced bout that saw Till pick up a decision win.
The Brit was making his middleweight debut after a checkered history with making the 170-pound limit at welterweight. With a less drastic weight cut, he appeared to be more agile and kept Gastelum guessing as to where he was going next.
The bout was somewhat difficult to score. The exchanges between the two were few and far between, but the scorecard that had Gastelum winning the bout 30-27 was especially puzzling, as the American certainly didn't appear to do enough to win all three rounds.
While this wasn't the flashiest of entries into the division, it does give Till new life. His knockout loss to Masvidal erased any chances of being a welterweight contender any time soon, but a win over Gastelum means something in the middleweight division.
One would hope that he opens up more when the time comes, but this win should have opened up doors for Till to take on other big names in the division.
Stephen Thompson vs. Vicente Luque
Reports of Stephen Thompson's decline were greatly exaggerated.
The 36-year-old karate fighter was written off by many (and for good reason) with a 1-3 record in his previous four fights, but he did a lot to prove he's still a threat in the welterweight division. The South Carolina native taught Vicente Luque lessons on footwork and counters.
Luque had moments of aggression, but the threat of Thompson's strong counter game subdued the aggressive style that he's been known for. Wonderboy was able to keep the distance with his body kicks, forcing Luque to cover too much ground when trying to initiate the action.
Thompson looked sharper than he has during his struggles of late. He landed punches squarely with regularity, and Luque, to his credit, seemed to be largely unfazed by them.
Thompson didn't pick up the finish, but this appearance will definitely keep him in the mix of top welterweights before he's written off.
Blagoy Ivanov vs. Derrick Lewis
After watching three rounds of Derrick Lewis and Blagoy Ivanov slug it out, there should be only one question: What exactly would it take to knock out Ivanov?
Lewis' cinder-block fists couldn't do it. The Black Beast is usually lights-out any time he connects, but he was able to land some of his best stuff against the Bulgarian, and he just kept coming back swinging.
For those who love the hallmarks of heavyweight MMA, this fight was glorious. It had two big fellas slinging leather in wild exchanges, but also had prolonged periods of hugging through bouts of heavy breathing and recovery from said exchanges.
The scores were a bit all over the place. One judge saw the bout as a clean sweep for Lewis, while another gave it to the winner by a 29-28 score. Ivanov did enough to take one scorecard 29-28.
The win gets Lewis's hand raised for the first time in three fights after losses to Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos in his last two bouts. In a division as shallow as heavyweight, it won't be long before Lewis is given another crack at a big name toward the top.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Kevin Lee
After a 13-0 start to his professional MMA career, Gregor Gillespie finally got a shot against a big-name opponent on a pay-per-view card. It couldn't have gone worse for him.
Gillespie has utilized his tenacious wrestling to great effect in his career but didn't have time to get things to the ground before Kevin Lee slept him in the first round. Lee threw an overhand right and followed it directly with a beautiful head kick that landed flush and brought the fight to an immediate halt.
Lee needed a win in the worst way. After losses to Al Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos in back-to-back fights, the UFC thrww Lee to the up-and-coming Gillespie. Instead, he finds himself with a revitalized outlook, as he stole some of Gillespie's shine.
When watching someone like Lee go 1-3 for a stretch, it is easy to write him off. However, a performance like this reminds fans that he is still just 27 years old and will likely be a player in the lightweight division for years to come.