In a unique pay-per-view main event generated by the promotion over a period of time, UFC 279 lands in Las Vegas on Saturday at Crossroads Welterweight The match headlines the new-feeling Khamzat Chimaev pairing up with legendary fighter Nate Diaz.
The fact that Diaz went into the last fight of his UFC deal – expecting him to be out of the Octagon forever – just adds to the soap opera element of the fight card, it doesn’t A title fight of any kind, and it doesn’t make any sense on paper either.
As we approach this weekend’s battle card in T-Mobile Arena, let’s take a closer look at the biggest storylines.
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1. Nate Diaz’s willingness to accept this game is why fans adore him
He’s 37 years old. He has only won one UFC in the past six years. He will also face an undefeated future star who will enter the Octagon with stakes up to -1100. So why did the Stockton, California native sign up to face such an indomitable monster as the 28-year-old Chimayev? The romantic answer is that Diaz has always lived this way. (As brother Nick once famously said: “Don’t be afraid, bro.”) But the reality is that Diaz is tired of being snubbed by the UFC brass. Does the promotion just offer Diaz fights it knows he won’t take, hoping to wait for Conor McGregor to return from injury to fight in the trilogy? It’s possible, but the better answer is that Diaz is still the perfect boxing match for YouTube star-turned-boxer Jack Paul. Either way, Diaz got tired of waiting, so he started pushing for a fight the UFC couldn’t refuse – an opportunity that could damage the Diaz brand on the way out, while giving Chimaev the best possible shot at becoming a crossover star platform before fighting for the 170-pound title. Knowing Diaz, he’s probably going to take the fight anyway, even without a contract drama. Let’s not forget that he previously fought UFC’s prized calf (McGregor) and wasn’t at all surprised by the result.
2. Was Khamzat Chimaev exposed in his all-out win over Gilbert Burns?
This is a million dollar question for anyone looking to bet big cash on Diaz as a huge underdog. Chimaev and Burns co-created one of the wildest fights of 2022 at UFC 273 in April, and the Chechnya, Russia, won by unanimous decision after three rounds. According to Chimaev, he deliberately avoided his dominant wrestling attack to show how brutal a fighter he could be when needed. Others in the fighting game, however, have openly pondered whether Burns’ ability to trade punches on relatively fair terms proved that Chimayev was human (to the extent that his dismantling of Gerald Meerschaert and Li Jingliang failed) do it). Burns’ game was notable because it was the first time in 11 games of Chimayev’s career that his opponent had reached the third round. Diaz’s bout will be Chimayev’s first attempt in a five-round limited match, and it happens to be a fighter fit and tenacious enough to never really quit the fight until it’s over. Just ask newly crowned welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
3. Tony Ferguson Attempts A Bold Makeover At 170 Pounds
Just over two years ago, “El Cucuy” The most dangerous division in the sport’s 12-game winning streak. No, after five UFC attempts to schedule a fight, Ferguson never got a chance to finally challenge former lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov. But the idea of Ferguson’s career falling off a cliff as he finally came close to an elusive title didn’t seem realistic at the time. But Ferguson is suddenly 38 and has suffered four losses, including two devastating stoppage losses. The former Ultimate Fighting 13 welterweight champion, returning to the 170-pound division for the first time in 11 years, will face Chinese slugger Jing Liang, who has been eliminated in his last four victories. Will it get easier for Ferguson in his new department? Unlikely, especially considering how often his aggressive style hurts. Either way, Ferguson has been a ready and willing fighter in the UFC for so many years that he was given the opportunity to do so. But the challenger Ferguson is up against is an uphill battle.
4. Expect Kevin Holland-Daniel Rodriguez to steal the show
It was a welterweight matchup (with a 180-pound bout), and hardcore UFC fans rejoiced. Rodriguez, who has won 12 of his last 13 fights, returned from a 13-month hiatus with a hand injury as he welcomed the brash Holland, whose record has since been cut at middleweight 2-0. Not only is this a key pairing in the 170-pound rankings, as every fighter wants to be in the top 15, the fans’ expectation is that it’s tantamount to a war. Yes, Holland can wrestle, and he showed his ground game in June by submitting a stubborn veteran in Tim Means. But Holland likes to raise his hands as much as he likes to talk, and one can expect “D-Rod” to be a willing dancing partner. fasten your seatbelt.
5. Johnny Walker has little chance
The 6-foot-5 Walker once seemed to never have encountered a spin-strike-reel knockout that he couldn’t be the highlight. In fact, back in 2019, he looked just one win away from an unlikely title after kicking off his UFC career with a three-peat in the first round. Since then, however, Walker has lost four of his five games, and SBG Ireland’s new coach John Kavanagh’s recent attempts to temper the Brazilian’s high-line performances have been ugly. Walker doesn’t look at all comfortable in the cage these days, and he’s set to take on the bumpy Ion Cutelaba in a lightweight bout this weekend, which isn’t inaccurate in terms of Walker’s overall job security. 30 years old.
Diaz vs. Chimaev who won? How exactly does each battle end? Visit SportsLine today to learn more about every fight at UFC 279, all from the unrivaled experts who have made over $13,000 in MMA over the past three years, and find out.