Nate Diaz makes his final appearance in an Octagon after an epic UFC career Saturday in the main event of UFC 279 in Las Vegas against former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. The two fan favorites finally face-off in a welterweight fight after an unprecedented turn of events shook up the main card.
Diaz began his UFC career in 2007 on “The Ultimate Fighter” and has compiled a professional MMA record of 20-13 with 11 of those wins coming by submission. His biggest victory to date was a short-notice submission win in 2016 over Conor McGregor, who was coming off back-to-back title victories for the featherweight and then lightweight championship belts. Choking out the UFC’s first simultaneous double-champion catapulted the fighter from Stockton, California, to fame. He lost the rematch to McGregor later that year and a trilogy fight has been talked about since, but failed to materialize.
Since losing the majority decision to McGregor, Diaz has fought just three times: a win over Anthony Pettis and a TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal in 2019, then a unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards in June 2021.
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Ferguson, who first fought for the UFC back in 2011, was scheduled to face Li Jingliang on Saturday in his first fight since a devastating knockout loss to Michael Chandler in May. But after Khamzat Chimaev weighed in 7.5 pounds heavy for his scheduled bout versus Diaz atop the card, Ferguson was offered the main event slot against Diaz and accepted.
Though Ferguson is riding a four-fight losing streak, the losses were to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush and Chandler — all bona fide studs of the UFC’s stacked lightweight division. Before the losses started piling up, Ferguson was riding a incredible 12-fight winning streak in which he captured the interim lightweight title, but he never fought for the undisputed title.
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Chimaev’s weight issue cost him the main event spotlight versus Diaz, but not a spot on the card as he now faces Kevin Holland in catchweight bout in the co-main event. The two were involved in an altercation backstage at Wednesday’s news conference so the fight makes sense.
Also on the main card, Jingliang will now fight Daniel Rodriguez, who was originally supposed to face Holland. Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson meet in a catchweight bout at 140 pounds and light heavyweights Johnny Walker and Ion Cutelaba open the pay-per-view.
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole is cageside for the show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas so follow our live tracker below for all of the latest updates and analysis.
UFC 279 live results, highlights, analysis
UFC 279 main card odds, results, highlights (Start time 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV)
All odds via BetMGM.
Welterweight: Nate Diaz +130 vs. Tony Ferguson -155
Catchweight (180 lbs): Khamzat Chimaev -600 vs. Kevin Holland +425
Catchweight (180 lbs): Li Jingliang +135 vs. Daniel Rodriguez -165
Catchweight (140 lbs): Irene Aldana -170 vs. Macy Chiasson +140
Light heavyweight: Johnny Walker +170 vs. Ion Cuțelaba -210
UFC 279 prelims odds, results, highlights (Live now on ESPNEWS/ESPN+)
Catchweight (149.5 lbs): Hakeem Dawodu -215 vs. Julian Erosa +175
Catchweight (220 lbs): Jailton Almeida def. Anton Turkalj by submission (rear naked choke) at
Middleweight: Denis Tiuliulin def. Jamie Pickett by TKO at 4:52 of R2
Catchweight (267.5 lbs): Chris Barnett def. Jake Collier by TKO at 2:24 of R2:
UFC 279 early prelims full results
Women’s featherweight: Norma Dumont -def. Danyelle Wolf by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Bantamweight: Alateng Heili def. Chad Anheliger by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Women’s strawweight: Elise Reed def. Melissa Martinez by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Yohan Lainesse def. Darian Weeks by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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