With Khamzat Chimaev missing weight for his main event bout by 7.5 pounds, the UFC 279 fight card on Saturday had to be dramatically rearranged. The top three fights all had to be shuffled and now the main event will be Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson in a welterweight battle. Chimaev will now fight Kevin Holland in a catchweight bout and Holland’s original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, will now take on Ferguson’s original opponent, Li Jingliang, in another catchweight bout. But now that the new UFC 279 fight card is locked in (10 p.m. ET main card), the UFC 279 odds have been updated and Ferguson is the -135 (bet $135 to win $100) favorite in the main event over Diaz.
How did we arrive here? Chimaev stepping on the scale so far overweight is difficult to process. He had also just engaged in a backstage fight the night prior against Holland, making this change seem also too convenient. Conspiracy theorists will have fun with this one. Chimaev walks around big, so his kidney issues could have started when started cutting weight, but there is also no doubt that the 279 card currently has much more excitement now than it did before.
Ultimately, the UFC’s job is to sell fights. These matchups make the most compelling bouts for 279. Ferguson competes with his entire being, displaying a fighting spirit that is uniquely compelling to watch every time he steps in the Octagon. He now has the chance to end his four-fight losing streak against Diaz, who claims this will be his last fight in the UFC. This is the best chance possible for Ferguson to re-enter the win column, and it should be explosive to see these two finally do battle.
UFC 279: Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson preview
The two UFC legends will step in to face each other after the scheduled Diaz vs. Chimaev fell apart. It’s a huge opportunity for Ferguson, a former UFC Lightweight Champion who is on a four-fight losing streak and is making his return to welterweight for the first time since 2011. With Ferguson stepping in on such short notice, the expectations will be relatively low and he could certainly revive his star status with a win given the circumstances.
UFC 279 main event: Tony Ferguson vs. Nate Diaz
Pick: Tony Ferguson
UFC 279 catchweight bout: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland
Pick: Khamzat Chimaev
UFC 279 catchweight bout: Li Jingliang vs. Daniel Rodriguez
Pick: Daniel Rodriguez
UFC 279 catchweight bout: Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson
Pick: Irene Aldana
UFC 279 light heavyweight bout: Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba
Pick: Ion Cutelaba
Last week: 4-1
2022 record: 100-59
UFC 279 odds, fight card
Tony Ferguson (-135) vs. Nate Diaz (+115)
Khamzat Chimaev (-550) vs. Kevin Holland (+400)
Daniel Rodriguez (-155) vs. Li Jingliang (+130)
Irene Aldana (-180) vs. Macy Chiasson (+160)
Ion Cutelaba (-220) vs. Johnny Walker (+190)
Hakeem Dawodu (-210) vs. Julian Erosa (+180)
Jailton Almeida (-750) vs. Anton Turkalj (+525)
Jamie Pickett (-135) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (+115)
Jake Collier (-400) vs. Chris Barnett (+320)
Norma Dumont (-400) vs. Danyelle Wolf (+320)
Melissa Martinez (-160) vs. Elise Reed (+140)
Darian Weeks (-125) Yohan Lainesse (+105)