As if UFC 279 didn’t have sufficient drama.
What began with a backstage conflict amongst fighters and camps gave means someday later to a badly missed weight minimize Friday morning and an enormous reimagining of Saturday’s primary card.
In consequence, UFC 279 in Las Vegas has been scrambled to swimsuit six fighters’ wants and requests.
The brand new card, as introduced by UFC President Dana White on Friday afternoon, is the legendary Nate Diaz vs. Costa Mesa’s Tony Ferguson in a welterweight primary occasion, Khamzat Chimaev vs. Riverside native Kevin Holland, a catchweight co-main occasion, and East L.A. native Daniel Rodriguez vs. Li Jingliang in a catchweight bout.
What it was: Chimaev vs. Diaz in the principle occasion, Ferguson vs. Jingliang within the co-main occasion, and Holland vs. Rodriguez in a 180-pound catchweight battle as a result of quick discover of their matchup.
The drama started Thursday when Chimaev and Holland scrapped backstage earlier than a press convention, then Diaz and his crew bought into with Chimaev. It was so heated, with water bottles flying forwards and backwards, that White referred to as off the press convention.
Extra chaos ensued Friday morning when Chimaev, after a protracted delay, stepped on the size and flew proper previous the 171-pound weight restrict. The ultimate studying? 178.5 kilos, adopted by a smile and a few flexing from the undefeated Chechnyan native.
White mentioned Friday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that Chimaev had began to undergo cramps Thursday night time and the physician advised him to cease reducing weight.
Diaz, within the final battle of his contract after an illustrious 15-year profession within the UFC, and his crew reportedly understandably balked and the UFC started to maneuver all through the day. Some believed the Chimaev battle was a one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it dishonor bestowed upon Diaz earlier than he seemingly stepped away from the group.
What the UFC has crafted is arguably a greater card. “It actually couldn’t have labored out any higher,” White mentioned on “SportsCenter.”
In what must be an entertaining, five-round scrap, Diaz, the 37-year-old extremely revered, cannabis-friendly dangerous boy from Stockton, takes on one other wildly common veteran within the 38-year-old Ferguson, a former interim light-weight champion.
Chimaev will get Holland, a verbose Texan with whom he has bickered on social media for a number of months, which prompted Thursday’s backstage beef. Plus, their weights, with Holland weighing in at 179.5 kilos, match up properly in what can be being booked as a five-round battle.