Nate Diaz’s showdown with Jorge Masvidal had been one of the most hyped bouts on the UFC 244 card - and for three rounds on Sunday, it lived up to expectations.
But fans were left outraged and the combatants vowing a rematch after the bout was stopped after three rounds.
A punishing start from Masvidal left him with a clear advantage, having knocked Diaz to the ground twice and opened up two cuts above his right eye.
Those two cuts were ultimately enough for the fight to be halted.
Both fighters were visibly irritated about the stoppage.
The Madison Square Garden crowd booed at the doctor’s decision and Masvidal agreed, offering an immediate rematch to Diaz.
“I told Nate right now … ‘let’s run it right back,’” Masvidal said.
“We’re going to run it back, New York. So don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen again.”
Diaz was game for that.
“I’m coming back for you mother******,” Diaz said.
“I didn’t think they were going to stop it.
“I was just about to start it.”
Whether that was going to happen or not remains unknown. The doctor continued to look at the cut and finally called it just before the start of the fourth round.
Irate fans took to social media to vent their frustrations over the stoppage.
Disappointing end to the fight. Nate Diaz never backs down. This doctor did Nate wrong. Smh #UFC244— Lexis Bill (@lexisbill) November 3, 2019
Absolutely trash that the doctor stopped that fight. I can't wait for them to run it back #UFC244— NRG Ashes (@thyAshes) November 3, 2019
That doctor really did Masvidal a disservice. He was dominating that fight. Hopefully, we do get a rematch #ufc244— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) November 3, 2019
That’s the benefit of the early lead, Masvidal punished Diaz and even though he apologised for how the fight stopped, there was no questioning he was the victor in the biggest fight of his lengthy career.
The fight was contested in the welterweight (170 pounds) division but wasn’t for the UFC welterweight title — Diaz has said those belts are meaningless.
Instead, at Diaz’s request, the UFC created the BMF belt to add pop to this match-up of two of the sport’s most exciting fighters. Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson slipped the belt on Masvidal.
The brawl between two of the UFC’s most exciting fighters was a wild capper to a historic night in mixed martial arts.
WITH YAHOO SPORT US/KEVIN IOLE