Nate Diaz Makes its final appearance in the octagon yet Epic career UFC Saturday in the main event UFC 279 In Las Vegas against Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson. The two fan favorites finally face off in a welterweight battle next Shake an unprecedented turn of events the main card.
Diaz began his UFC career in 2007 on “The Ultimate Fighter” and compiled a 20-13 professional MMA record with 11 of those wins by submission. His biggest victory to date was his brief win in 2016 over Conor McGregor, who was racking up back-to-back wins at the featherweight and then the lightweight championship belts. The UFC’s first concurrent double chokehold champion catapulted the fighter from Stockton, California, to fame. He lost a rematch to McGregor later that year and a three-way fight has been talked about since, but failed to make it.
Since losing a majority decision to McGregor, Diaz has fought only three times: a win over Anthony Pettis and a TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal in 2019, then his unanimous loss to Leon Edwards in June 2021.
[UFC 279 result: Chris Barnett’s epic comeback, in-cage interview delights fans]
Ferguson, who first fought for the UFC in 2011, was scheduled to face Li Jingliang on Saturday in his first fight since. A devastating knockout loss for Michael Chandler in May. But after Shemayev’s 7.5-pound heavyweight punches for his scheduled match against Diaz at the head of the card, Ferguson was offered a main event spot against Diaz and was accepted.
Although Ferguson has a losing streak in four fights, the losses have been to Justin Gethje, Charles Oliveira, Benelle Darius and Chandler — all bona fide studs from the UFC’s stacked lightweight division. Before losses began to pile up, Ferguson was riding an incredible 12-fight winning streak in which he claimed the interim lightweight title, but he never really fought for the undisputed title.
Chemayev’s weight issue cost him the main event spotlight versus Diaz, but it wasn’t a place on the card as Kevin Holland was awarded to face him in a co-main event weight match. It turned out to be a crush as Chemayev scrambled to beat Holland and stay in control before handing him a Darchy kick minutes into the first round.
Li Jingliang and 14th-ranked welterweight Daniel Rodriguez agreed to fight each other at 180 pounds just a day before the two meet in the cage on Saturday. Their fight for the full three rounds ended in what amounted to a melee battle with both fighters mostly kept at a distance. Rodriguez took the fight on two of the three judges’ scorecards to win the separate decision.
Erin Aldana and Maisie Chiason went back and forth the first two rounds of a bout weighing in at 140 pounds. Aldana apparently won the first round after dominating Keason and forcing her to tap the arm bar, but the referee didn’t see it. Chiasson burst into the second and countered Dana with some ground and pound ferocity. In the third and decisive round, with Kiason slipping out of control, Aldana grabbed her with a heavy blow to the liver. Chiasun fell to the ground and the fight stopped.
Johnnie Walker, who has lost four of his last five fights, opened the pay-per-view by introducing the first round of Ion Cutelaba in a light heavyweight match. The 13th seed Walker entered the fight as a +170 loser and improved his record to 19-7. Cotilapa is now 16-8 after going 1-4 in his last six with a one-draw.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports is the show cage side at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, so follow our live tracker below for all the latest updates and analysis.
UFC 279 live results, highlights, and analysis
UFC 279 main card odds, scores, highlights (now live on ESPN + PPV)
Welterweight: Nate Diaz +130 vs Tony Ferguson -155
Catchweight (180 lbs): Shemaev def. Kevin Holland in submission (D’Arce Choke) at 2:13 of R1:
Catchweight (180 lbs): Daniel Rodriguez def. Li Jingliang by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Gross Weight (140 lbs): Irene Aldana def. Macy Chiasson by TKO (liver kick) at 2:21 of R3:
Light Heavyweight: Johnnie Walker def. Ion Cuțelaba in submission (naked rear throttle) at 4:37 from R1
UFC 279 prelims results, highlights
Catchweight (149.5 lb): Julian Erosa def. Hakim Daudu unanimously (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Catchweight (220 lbs): Jailton Almeida def. Anton Trekalj in front (naked rear throttle) at 4:27 from R1:
Middleweight: Dennis Tulliolin def. Jimmy Beckett by TKO at 4:52 from R2:
Gross Weight (267.5 lbs): Chris Barnett Dave. Jake Collier by TKO at 2:24 from R2:
UFC 279 Early Preliminary Full Results
Women’s featherweight: Norma Dumont-Dave. Daniel Wolfe by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Bantamui weight: Alateng Heili def. Chad Anhelliger by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Women’s Straw Weight: Elise Red Dave. Melissa Martinez by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Lightweight: Johan Linnes defeated. Darian Weeks by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”