Nate Diaz He then makes his final appearance in an octagon An epic UFC career The main event is Saturday UFC 279 against former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in Las Vegas. The two fan favorites finally go head-to-head in a welterweight fight An unprecedented turn of events rocked the main card.
Diaz began his UFC career in 2007 in “The Ultimate Fighter” and has compiled a professional MMA record of 20-13 with 11 wins coming by submission. His biggest win to date was a short notice submission victory over Conor McGregor in 2016, coming off title wins for the featherweight and then lightweight championship belts. The UFC’s first simultaneous choke of the dual-champion shot the fighter from Stockton, California to fame. He lost a rematch to McGregor later that year, and a trilogy fight was then talked about, but failed to materialize.
Since his majority decision loss 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.
[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 in his first fight on Saturday. A knockout loss to Michael Chandler In May. But because Kamchat Simev was 7.5 pounds heavier on the card against Diaz for his scheduled bout, Ferguson was offered and accepted a main event slot against Diaz.
While Ferguson was riding a four-fight losing streak, the losses came to Justin Cathje, Charles Oliveira, Peneil Dariush and Chandler — all bona fide studs in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division. Before the losses started piling up, Ferguson was riding an incredible 12-fight winning streak that saw him capture the interim lightweight title, but he never fought for the undisputed title.
Simeev’s weight issue earned him the spotlight in the main event against Diaz, but was left off the card as Kevin Holland was given a catchweight bout in the co-main event. It turned out to be a fluke, as Simaev took down Holland quickly and was in control before D’Ars choked him into submission minutes into the first round.
14th-ranked welterweights Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez have agreed to fight each other at 180 pounds a day before they meet in the cage on Saturday. Their fight went the full three rounds, a striking battle with both fighters mostly staying the distance. Rodriguez fought on two of the three judges’ scorecards for the split decision win.
Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson went back and forth in the first two rounds of the catchweight match at 140 pounds. Aldana clearly won the first round after dominating Ciason and forcing her to tap into an armbar, but it went unnoticed by the referee. Chiasson strikes back in the second, giving Aldana some vicious ground and pound. In the third and deciding round, Chiasson backed away from top control and Aldana caught her with a brutal kick to the liver. Chiasson crumpled to the ground and the fight stopped.
Johnnie Walker, who has lost four of his last five fights, opened the pay-per-view with a first-round submission of Ian Guttelaba in their light heavyweight bout. Walker, ranked 13th, entered the bout as a +170 underdog and improved his record to 19-7. Cutelaba is now 16-8 and has gone 1-4 in his last six with a split draw.
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Aiol will be cageside for the event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, so follow our live tracker below for all the latest updates and analysis.
UFC 279 live results, highlights, analysis
UFC 279 Main Card Odds, Results, Highlights (Live Now on ESPN+ PPV)
Welterweight: Nate Diaz +130 vs. Tony Ferguson -155
Catchweight (180 lbs): Comchat Chimeau Dep. Kevin Holland via 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)
Catchweight (140 lbs): Irene Aldana dep. Macy Chiasson by TKO (liver kick) at 2:21 of R3:
Light Heavyweight: Johnnie Walker def. Ion Queselaba by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:37 of R1
UFC 279 preliminary results, highlights
Catchweight (149.5 lbs): Julian Erosa def. Unanimous decision with Hakeem Dao (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Catchweight (220 lbs): Jailton Almeida def. Posted by Anton Turkelj (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:27 of R1:
Middleweight: Denis Diuilleul 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:
Full UFC 279 Prelims Results
Women’s Featherweight: Norma Dumont -def. Daniel Wolff via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Bantamweight: Alateng Hailey def. Chad Anheliger via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Women’s Strawweight: Elise Reid def. Melissa Martinez via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Yohan Linez def. Darian Weeks by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)