UFC 279 Now Has 3 Different Fights, Includes Nate Diaz vs. Longtime Rival

Conor McGregor & Nate Diaz

Getty Conor McGregor & Nate Diaz

After a chaotic few days for the UFC, Dana White has announced that Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev will no longer fight on Saturday night.

Diaz and Chimaev were set for a 170-pound main-event clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 279. However, less than 24 hours after the pre-fight press conference was canceled, Chimaev stepped onto the scale and weighed in seven-and-a-half pounds over the 171-pound limit. Diaz made weight.

MMA journalist Cole Shelton reported after the weigh-in that Diaz didn’t want to accept a fight with the much heavier “Borz.” A source told Shelton that the fight was “off” and Diaz was eyeing a scrap with co-main event fighter and longtime rival Tony Ferguson.

And after hours of waiting, fight fans learned from White that Diaz vs. Ferguson would headline UFC 279. Appearing on SportsCenter’s Instagram Live, the UFC president confirmed that the two rivals will battle in a five-round welterweight clash.

Chimaev will also remain on the card. He’ll fight Kevin Holland in the night’s co-main event. It’ll be a five-round catchweight fight as “Trailblazer” weighed in at 179.5 pounds.

Holland’s original opponent Daniel Rodriguez and Ferguson’s original opponent Li Jingliang will now compete on the pay-per-view card. Jingliang weighed in at 170.5 pounds during the official weigh-ins and Rodriguez hit the scale at 179 pounds.

“It’s been a hell of a night and a hell of a morning, buddy,” White said. “Let me tell you. But, this is what we do here, this is how this works. Sometimes things don’t play out the way you expect them to.”


White Said Chimaev Tried to Cut Weight But His Body Started ‘Locking Up’ & ‘Cramping’

The UFC president shared why Chimaev didn’t make the welterweight limit. He said that the Russian-born combatant’s body started “locking up” and “cramping,” leading to a UFC doctor advising him to stop the weight cut.

“So, what happened was he was cutting weight,” White explained on Sportscenter. “If you saw him yesterday, he was very, very lean already and should’ve come in on weight. He started to cut weight and he started locking up and cramping, all the things that happen… from a bad cut. Unlike 10 years ago when we were doing this, they call in, we send a doctor up and a doctor determines whether he should keep cutting weight or not. And the doctor told him he shouldn’t, so we jumped on this, this morning.”


Jingliang Will Fight a Man Who Weighed Nearly 10 More Pounds Than Him

An important note to mention is that Jingliang will now take on a fighter who weighed eight-and-a-half pounds more than him at the official ceremony on Friday. “The MMA Hour” host Ariel Helwani went as far as to say that it’s been a “tough” fight week for “The Leech.”

“I will say though, I feel for Li,” Helwani tweeted. “Super tough new opponent who weighed in almost 10 pounds more than him. Not as big of a name. Tough week for him.”

Tim Simpson, Jingliang’s manager, wrote in an Instagram Story after White announced his client’s new fight: “A lot of talk about who’s a gangsta this week. Huge props to the UFC on saving this card and getting all 6 boys a fight. But don’t get it twisted. Only one of them is fighting a guy 10 lbs heavier. ‘No problem,’ – @LiJingliangMMA.”

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