LAS VEGAS — The UFC has utterly shuffled the highest three fights on its UFC 279 card at some point earlier than the scheduled pay-per-view occasion, UFC president Dana White instructed SportsCenter in a reside Instagram video Friday.
Nate Diaz now will face Tony Ferguson in the primary occasion of the Saturday present at T-Cell Enviornment. Diaz’s authentic opponent, Khamzat Chimaev, missed weight by 7.5 kilos Friday morning, coming in at 178.5 kilos for a 171-pound-limit bout. Diaz understandably selected to not struggle such an chubby opponent.
White stated Chimaev began cramping and locking up throughout his weight lower.
“It is not by coincidence that we stack guys in the identical weight on the identical card in case one thing goes flawed. It labored out,” White stated. “Getting these guys to comply with completely different fights generally is a little robust typically. We received all of it performed. We’re locked in.”
Chimaev’s weight miss brought on a sequence response. The UFC spent your entire morning and afternoon negotiating with all six camps for these modifications. Alterations at this stage so near a UFC card are unprecedented.
Ferguson, a fan favourite like Diaz, had been scheduled to struggle Li Jingliang within the co-main occasion Saturday. Ferguson weighed in at 170.5 kilos for that struggle.
Diaz vs. Ferguson shall be 5 rounds. Diaz had been scheduled for 5 rounds with Chimaev, however Ferguson vs. Li was solely going to be three. Ferguson agreed to struggle for 5 rounds in opposition to Diaz.
“Nate Diaz and Tony, the followers have needed to see this one without end,” White stated. “It will occur now earlier than Nate leaves the UFC. It could not have performed out any higher.”
Now, Chimaev will tackle Kevin Holland within the UFC 279 co-headliner. Holland’s authentic opponent was set to be Daniel Rodriguez in a 180-pound catchweight bout. Holland weighed in Friday morning at 179.5 kilos. Holland-Chimaev will even be a five-round bout.
Li, who weighed 170.5 kilos Friday, will now struggle Rodriguez. There shall be a big weight hole, as Rodriguez got here in at 179 kilos.
Chimaev, 28, is among the UFC’s largest rising stars and was a -1000 favourite over Diaz, per Caesars Sportsbook. The UFC primarily booked this struggle to get Chimaev a bout with an enormous star in Diaz by which he was anticipated to win. Diaz is on the ultimate struggle of his UFC contract and has indicated this shall be his final bout with the promotion, no less than for now.
Chimaev has had a weird week. He received right into a verbal altercation with middleweight Paulo Costa on Wednesday on the UFC Efficiency Institute, and Thursday earlier than the UFC 279 information convention, he received right into a skirmish with Holland, whom he’ll now struggle. Chimaev kicked Holland in the course of the backstage encounter. The information convention was finally canceled.
When Chimaev weighed in Friday morning, he shrugged his shoulders and confirmed no contrition for the large miss. Later, he posted a meme on Twitter joking about lacking weight.