Probably the most chaotic lead-ups to a UFC pay-per-view card culminated with the three top-billed fights all swapping opponents, with Nate Diaz now dealing with Tony Ferguson in the primary occasion of UFC 279 on Saturday night time.
UFC president Dana White already had known as it an unprecedented state of affairs when he was pressured to cancel the normal fighters’ press convention on Thursday on account of an uncontrollable brawl backstage between a number of fighters and their entourages, earlier than additional shenanigans befell on the weigh-ins.
Needing to weigh inside one pound of the 170lbs welterweight restrict, Khamzat Chimaev – in his first most important occasion – got here in at a staggering 178.5lbs, lacking weight by seven-and-a-half kilos.
Whereas fighters are given an additional hour to attempt to shed the additional weight – often one or two kilos on the most – Chimaev was so far-off that there was no level, all however cancelling his struggle in opposition to Diaz as he refused to concede the huge benefit to his already favoured opponent.
Whereas a couple of kilos could not appear to be it could resolve an end result, rivals who’ve missed weight have been identified to thrive on struggle night time as a result of truth they didn’t have to empty themselves all the way in which right down to the required quantity.
It raises questions in regards to the validity of chopping weight in any respect, with different promotions similar to prime Asian model ONE Championship outright banning the observe by forcing fighters to go hydration assessments within the lead as much as the struggle to make sure they aren’t dangerously dehydrated within the effort to shed the previous couple of kilos.
With the primary occasion off, the decision was made to Ferguson to step in on quick discover, having been booked within the co-main occasion in opposition to Li Jingliang.
With Ferguson making the weight at 170lbs and accepting the bump as much as the primary occasion – and nearly actually a major pay improve to save lots of the cardboard – it left Li with no struggle.
So, with Chimaev nonetheless prepared to struggle at the next weight, he’ll now face Kevin Holland, with these two stated to be on the centre of the backstage scuffle that ended the press convention. Holland had been making ready for a catchweight bout at 180lbs in opposition to Daniel Rodriguez, so he is not going to be outweighed by Chimaev after they contest the brand new co-main occasion.
That left Li and Rodriguez as the 2 remaining fighters to match up, however the issue is that Li had weighed in at 170, and Rodriguez got here in at 180. In an Instagram submit, Li stated it’s “no drawback”, and accepted the extraordinarily powerful upgraded opponent.