UFC’s September 10th pay-per-view event has suffered numerous changes just one day before it is set to begin.
UFC 279 will now be headlined by three new fights, matching previously booked names against other opponents in the lineup. These changes affect a card that is scheduled to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Nate Diaz is no longer scheduled to face Khamzat Chimaev in the main event. Plans for this event changed on Friday after Chimaev missed weight for their welterweight bout by a whopping seven-and-a-half pounds.
Diaz refused to fight Chimaev after this substantial weight miss. The veteran fighter said he would either take a new matchup or get removed from the show altogether, per Cole Shelton.
The new plan is that Diaz will face Tony Ferguson in the main event. Ferguson was originally scheduled to appear lower on the main card against Li Jingliang. Despite previously being booked for a three-round bout, Ferguson will meet Diaz in a five-round contest this Saturday.
Li is now scheduled to face Daniel Rodriguez, who was first booked to meet Kevin Holland.
And to complete the shuffle for Saturday’s card, Chimaev is set to meet Holland in the co-main event slot of UFC 279. The change works out nicely for Chimaev, as Holland was already booked to compete in a bout held at a catchweight of 180 pounds.
Things aren’t as convenient for Li, who arguably received the worst deal out of all six fighters involved in the deal.
Li, who made the welterweight limit for his fight against Ferguson, is now facing Rodriguez, who was booked for a catchweight limit of 180 pounds. This gives Li a significant weight disadvantage heading into his fight.
However, the situation is certainly inconvenient for everyone involved. With just hours until UFC 279 is scheduled to appear, all fighters must go into the card with fresh game plans suited for a new opponent.
The sudden changes are only part of what has been a hectic fight week in Las Vegas.
A ceremonial press conference was cut short on Thursday, as a backstage incident between Chimaev and Holland caused the promotion to shutter the event.
Here is how UFC 279 looks with the new matchups in place:
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (PPV)
Bout 13: Nate Diaz (20-13) vs. Tony Ferguson (25-7) (Welterweight)
Bout 12: Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) vs. Kevin Holland (23-7) (Catchweight 180 lbs)
Bout 11: Li Jingliang (19-7) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (16-2) (Catchweight 180 lbs)
Bout 10: Irene Aldana (13-6) vs. Macy Chiasson (8-2) (Catchweight 140 lbs)
Bout 9: Johnny Walker (18-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 5:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Bout 8: Hakeem Dawodu (13-2-1) vs. Julian Erosa (27-9) (Featherweight)
Bout 7: Jailton Almeida (16-2) vs. Anton Turkalj (8-0) (Catchweight 220 lbs)
Bout 6: Jamie Pickett (13-7) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (10-6) (Middleweight)
Bout 5: Jake Collier (13-7) vs. Chris Barnett (22-8) (Heavyweight)
Early Prelims (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 4: Norma Dumont (7-2) vs. Danyelle Wolf (1-0) (Featherweight)
Bout 3: Chad Anheliger (12-5) vs. Alatengheili (15-8-2) (Bantamweight)
Bout 2: Elise Reed (5-2) vs. Melissa Martinez (7-0) (Strawweight)
Bout 1: Darian Weeks (5-2) vs. Yohan Lainesse (8-1) (Welterweight)