The "main event" was saved, but the program of the event went through certain changes. After Khamzat Chimaev exceeded the upper limit of the welterweight category by as much as 3.40 kilograms, Nate Diaz, as expected, refused to fight the fighter who appeared so much heavier at the weigh-in.
This is where the UFC ran into some problems as they were left without the main fight of the night, but the good thing is that they had more options for an alternative. Tony Ferguson immediately jumped out as the main favorite to jump into the match against Diaz.
"El Cucuy" was supposed to fight tomorrow against Li Jingliang in the welterweight division, but that has now been dropped, as Ferguson was eventually selected as a replacement for Khamzat Chimaev. So, the new "main event" of the UFC 279 event consists of Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz, and this information was announced by Dana White via a live broadcast on Instagram.
Although it is a kind of exchange, the reality is that almost all MMA fans are actually delighted with this outcome. The match between Ferguson and Diaz makes much more sense than the one originally agreed upon between Chimaev and Diaz.
Khamzat was a huge favorite against Diaz and the reality is that he would very likely win routinely. This is how Diaz was paired with Tony Ferguson in his last UFC appearance, and that match is very promising on paper. Both fighters prefer to fight in stand-up, possess incredible fitness, and are known as fighters who never deliver a dull match.
The fact is that both are far from their best days, but that does not make this match any less interesting. The fight will take place in five rounds.
Khamzat Chimaev vs Kevin Holland
It is also good news that Khamzat Chimaev remains on the fight card. UFC officials paired him with Kevin Holland, who was originally supposed to fight Daniel Rodriguez in the catchweight up to 180 pounds.
Nathan Diaz x Tony Ferguson
Kevin Holland x Khamzat Chimaev
Li Jingliang x Daniel Rodriguez
is your new UFC 279 lineup.
What a day.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 9, 2022
After all the friction that arose between Holland and Chimaev in the past few days, this match also makes a lot of sense. At the weigh-in, Holland weighed 179.5 lbs and Chimaev 178.5 lbs, so there won't be any drastic difference in weight. Chimaev and Holland will fight in the co-title fight of the evening, but also in five rounds!
Khamzat Chimaev ready for the title shot: “Now it’s my time”
Gilbert Burns predicts Khamzat Chimaev vs Paulo Costa: “it’s a very close fight”
Eddie Hearn reacts to Jake Paul vs Nate Diaz: “It was awful”
Nate Diaz goes the distance but gets outplayed by Jake Paul's tremendous striking
Nate Diaz thinks Conor McGregor should fight Justin Gaethje next
Bobby Green extends Tony Ferguson’s losing streak with a last minute stoppage