The UFC 279 fight card underwent a massive shake-up following Khamzat Chimaev missing weight Friday morning. Nate Diaz now faces Tony Ferguson in the main event.
Undefeated rising welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev was supposed to square off with Nate Diaz in the Stockton superstar’s final fight on his UFC contract. Even a backstage scuffle that canceled Thursday’s UFC 279 pre-fight press conference didn’t derail the bout. It took Chimaev stepping on the scale 7.5 pounds over the allowed weight to do that.
Once he missed the mark so egregiously, numerous UFC fighters came out of the woodwork to criticize Chimaev. Most said that with that big of a miss, Chimaev didn’t miss weight, but that he simply didn’t want to make weight.
A firestorm ensued with top lightweight Dustin Poirier offering to step up to welterweight and fight on the card. In the end, that was deemed unnecessary.
UFC 279 fight card revisions
Following hours of negotiations, UFC president Dana White on ESPN announced that the UFC 279 fight card was revised as follows:
- Nate Diaz will now face Tony Ferguson in the UFC 279 main event in a five-round welterweight bout. Ferguson was originally slated to face Li Jingliang in the UFC 279 co-main event.
- Khamzat Chimaev will square off with Kevin Holland, whom he had a backstage altercation with prior to the canceled UFC 279 pre-fight press conference. They will meet in a five-round 179.5-pound catchweight co-main event bout, since Chimaev weighed 178.5 pounds and Holland weighed 179.5 pounds.
- Jingliang will now face Daniel Rodriguez in a 179-pound catchweight bout. Rodriguez was supposed to have face Holland and stepped on the scale at 179 pounds. Jingliang weighed in at 170.5 pounds for his original bout with Ferguson.
UFC 279 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It is available exclusively on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View. MMAWeekly.com will have UFC 279 live results starting with the first bout, which is currently slated to start with the UFC 279 early prelims at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.