After the weight issues that threatened to disrupt proceedings, Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson has been decided as the main event of UFC 279 on Saturday, in Las Vegas, according to Dana White.
Khamzat Chimaev was supposed to fight Diaz, but Chimaev failed to make weight on Friday morning, by as much as 7.5 pounds. Neither welterweight competitor was allowed to weigh more than 171 pounds during the weigh-ins, as per Nevada State Athletic Commission regulations, and Chimaev weighed 178.5 pounds.
However, Diaz achieved the required weight coming in at 171 pounds. Ferguson, a fellow welterweight, who was scheduled to compete against Li Jingliang in the co-main event, was moved up to take on Diaz in the main card. The former interim champion has lost his last four matches. While Diaz is 1-3 in his previous four.
Other fights on the main card have been changed as a result of the change: Chimaev will now face Kevin Holland in a five-round battle, and Jingliang will now take on Daniel Rodriguez. Prior to Thursday’s UFC 279 news conference, Chimaev and Holland got into a fight backstage, which prompted Dana White to call off the press conference.
With 11 victories in a row in professional MMA, Chimaev is regarded as a rising star in the UFC. He has five triumphs (four by early finish) since joining the promotion in 2020 and has long been seen as a potential future champion. Holland, who has won his last two fights, most recently defeated Tim Means by second-round submission in June.