MMA

Dana White shuffles the UFC 279 card, with Nate Diaz-Tony Ferguson and Khamzat Chimaev-Kevin Holland now at the top.

The UFC has entirely rearranged the top three fights on its UFC 279 program just one day before the scheduled pay-per-view event, according to UFC president Dana White in a live Instagram video Friday. Nate Diaz will now meet Tony Ferguson in the main event of the T-Mobile Arena show on Saturday. Khamzat Chimaev, Diaz’s … Continue reading Dana White shuffles the UFC 279 card, with Nate Diaz-Tony Ferguson and Khamzat Chimaev-Kevin Holland now at the top.

The UFC has entirely rearranged the top three fights on its UFC 279 program just one day before the scheduled pay-per-view event, according to UFC president Dana White in a live Instagram video Friday.

Nate Diaz will now meet Tony Ferguson in the main event of the T-Mobile Arena show on Saturday. Khamzat Chimaev, Diaz’s intended opponent, missed weight by 7.5 pounds Friday morning, weighing in at 178.5 pounds for a 171-pound-limit battle. Diaz made the understandable decision not to face such an overweight opponent.

Chimaev began cramping and locking up amid his weight loss, according to White.

“It’s not by chance that we place guys of the same weight on the same card in case something goes wrong,” White explained. “It can be difficult to get these men to agree on certain fights at times, but we got it all done. We’re locked in.”

Chimaev’s weight miscalculation set off a chain reaction. The UFC spent the entire morning and afternoon negotiating these modifications with all six camps. Changes at this level so close to a UFC event are unprecedented.

Ferguson, a fan favorite like Diaz, was set to fight Li Jingliang in the co-main event on Saturday. For that bout, Ferguson weighed 170.5 pounds.

Diaz will face Ferguson in five rounds. Diaz was supposed to fight Chimaev in five rounds, but Ferguson vs. Li was only going to be three. Ferguson agreed to fight Diaz for five rounds.

“The fans have wanted to see this one for a long time, Nate Diaz and Tony,” White remarked. “It’ll happen now, before Nate departs the UFC, and it couldn’t have worked out better.”

Chimaev will now face Kevin Holland in the co-main event of UFC 279. Holland’s original opponent in a 180-pound catchweight bout was Daniel Rodriguez. Holland weighed in at 179.5 pounds on Friday morning. Holland-Chimaev will also go five rounds.

Li will now face Rodriguez, who weighed 170.5 pounds on Friday. Rodriguez weighed 179 pounds, therefore there will be a significant weight difference.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, Chimaev, 28, is one of the UFC’s top emerging stars and was a -1000 favorite over Diaz. The UFC booked this fight primarily to get Chimaev a battle against a major celebrity in Diaz, which he was expected to win. Diaz is nearing the end of his UFC contract and has stated that this will be his final fight with the organization, at least for the time being.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, Chimaev, 28, is one of the UFC’s top emerging stars and was a -1000 favorite over Diaz. The UFC booked this fight primarily to get Chimaev a battle against a major celebrity in Diaz, which he was expected to win. Diaz is nearing the end of his UFC contract and has stated that this will be his final fight with the organization, at least for the time being.

Chimaev has had an odd week. On Wednesday at the UFC Performance Institute, he got into a verbal spat with middleweight Paulo Costa, then on Thursday, before the UFC 279 press conference, he got into a spat with Holland, whom he will now face. During the backstage encounter, Chimaev kicked Holland. The press conference was eventually cancelled.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, Chimaev, 28, is one of the UFC’s top emerging stars and was a -1000 favorite over Diaz. The UFC booked this fight primarily to get Chimaev a battle against a major celebrity in Diaz, which he was expected to win. Diaz is nearing the end of his UFC contract and has stated that this will be his final fight with the organization, at least for the time being.

Chimaev has had an odd week. On Wednesday at the UFC Performance Institute, he got into a verbal spat with middleweight Paulo Costa, then on Thursday, before the UFC 279 press conference, he got into a spat with Holland, whom he will now face. During the backstage encounter, Chimaev kicked Holland. The press conference was eventually cancelled.

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