Diaz vs Masvidal Predictions: UFC legend battle favours ‘Gamebred’

 | Friday 5th July 2024, 16:12pm

Friday 5th July 2024, 16:12pm

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UFC legends Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will meet this Saturday July 6 in a boxing match. The MMA icons will swap the cage for the squared circle at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The bout will take place at light heavyweight with DAZN screening the card live.

Here are my Diaz vs Masvidal predictions ahead of this unconventional scrap.

Diaz vs Masvidal Tips

  • Masvidal on points @ 13/8
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 4/5

The accomplishments of these men will live on far beyond their retirements from competitive combat. Masvidal holds the UFC record for the quickest knockout in history, which he earned by blitzing Ben Askren in five seconds. Diaz drew millions of pay-per-view buys for his feud with Conor McGregor, where he tapped the Irishman out in their first bout.

Incredible achievements, that much is clear. But what is interesting in the context of their fight on Saturday is this; none of these milestones took place in a boxing ring. Why is it that two icons of UFC history, two men that actually fought each other in the famous Octagon back in 2019, are clashing in boxing rather than MMA?

The noble art of boxing has attracted a bizarre parallel following in recent years. While your traditional boxing fans have marvelled at the likes of Oleksandr Usyk, Naoya Inoue and Gervonta Davis, there is an almost-separate breed of follower that will be feverishly consuming the Diaz-Masvidal bout.

Jake Paul, KSI and the YouTube boxing scene have opened two sets of doors. One has allowed young fans with no previous interest in boxing to engage with the sport. The other has allowed ageing stars from not only boxing but MMA to find a second life in the ring. 

Diaz has already fought Paul, climbing off the deck on the way to a points defeat last August. As recently as 2022, he was still competing in the UFC. Diaz’s last Octagon outing was a Performance of the Night victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279. That was the final fight on Diaz’s contract and he has instead opted to enter the lucrative world of celebrity boxing.

The transition feels a little more natural for Masvidal. Unlike Diaz, ‘Gamebred’ had actually boxed professionally before the current YouTube boxing craze took hold. Masvidal won his sole pro boxing outing back in 2005, beating pub quiz answer Joseph Benjamin. Boxing was also very much part of Jorge’s MMA DNA, with 16 of his victories coming by knockout compared to just two submissions.

The truth is that this fight is taking place in boxing rather than MMA because that is where it will generate the most cash. Masvidal retired from the UFC last year, having lost four fights on the bounce. ‘Gamebred’ last won a competitive match-up in 2019. With Diaz unwilling to deal with the UFC, even a bout in a promotion like PFL would not generate huge interest due to Masvidal’s lack of form.

But boxing offers a levelling of the playing field. Diaz was always more of a submission specialist in the cage. Masvidal’s reputation as a brawler gives him an advantage he wouldn’t have if takedowns and ground work were on the table.

Also, unless it is UFC or to a lesser extent the PFL, fans just aren’t tuning in to an MMA card in huge numbers. But those same fans know these guys, particularly Diaz because of his time spent in Jake Paul’s slipstream. And those fans want boxing.

So boxing is what we will have, 10 rounds in the light heavyweight division. It is a bout that will have very little impact on said division. But it will draw money and to many in this sacred but creaky old sport, that is all that matters. 

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Diaz vs Masvidal Fight Odds

Diaz is a 9/4 underdog here, giving him an implied chance of 30.8% for a victory. Masvidal is the favourite at 4/11, which is no surprise given his striking pedigree. The draw is available at 16/1.

Diaz vs Masvidal Full Card

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Diaz vs Masvidal Prediction

As much as these celebrity fights always promise fireworks, with tense press conferences full of viral-ready moments, they rarely deliver. There is usually a good reason people fight in these types of bouts, particularly as ex-fighters nearing middle-age.

This is ultimately a soft-touch payday for each man. A way to trade off their name value for what will be one of the last times. I think this one goes the distance, which is a 4/5 shot. As for a winner? I’m backing Masvidal on points at 13/8. His greater boxing acumen will serve him well in a fight where the lingering threat of Diaz’s submission skills has been entirely neutralised. 

You can find all our latest boxing betting tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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