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Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson is UFC 279’s new main event, Khamzat vs. Kevin Holland co-headline after historic weigh-in disaster

UFC 229: Tony Ferguson v Anthony Pettis Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Sorry folks, but in Las Vegas they actually count the decimal (and then some).

Khamzat Chimaev failed to make the welterweight limit for his Nate Diaz headliner at UFC 279, clocking in at 178.5 pounds against 171 for Diaz. As a result, “Borz” has been yanked from the Sept. 10 main event in “Sin City” and replaced by fellow fan favorite Tony Ferguson, who was previously paired off against Li Jingliang on UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card.

Diaz vs. Ferguson will be scheduled for five, five-minute rounds even though “El Cucuy” only had to prepare for three rounds this weekend.

Like Diaz, the all-action Ferguson is a former lightweight and just a couple of months older than Diaz, so on paper it’s a perfect match up and early contender for “Fight of the Night.” In fact, you can argue this was the fight to make from the beginning, but the promotion has been trying to push Chimaev for what was expected to be a 2023 welterweight title shot.

That status is no doubt in jeopardy following the UFC 279 weigh-in fiasco.

Diaz, who turned 37 back in April, dropped to 20-13 with a unanimous decision loss to newly-crowned welterweight champion Leon Edwards at UFC 263 back in June 2021. It was the second straight defeat for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 champ, who’s now taken the “L” in three of his last four.

Ferguson (25-7), now 38, has dropped four straight fights, including last May’s knockout loss against Michael Chandler. “El Cucuy” will be making his return to welterweight for the first time since graduating TUF 13 back in June 2011 and could be fighting for his job this weekend in Las Vegas.

Their last-minute switcheroo sends Jingliang into battle against Daniel Rodriguez, who was booked to throw down against fellow welterweight Kevin Holland in a special catchweight attraction. Holland, who tipped the scale at 179.5 pounds, will now co-headline UFC 279 against Chimaev; however, their contest will take place across three rounds.

Glad to hear that (cough) “medical issue” wasn’t serious enough to cancel the fight.

Check out UFC 279’s reshuffled PPV line up below (full card here):

170 lbs.: Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson
179 lbs.: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland
170 lbs.: Jingliang Li vs. Daniel Rodriguez
135 lbs.: Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson
205 lbs.: Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cuțelaba


MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 279 fight card, starting with the early UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET as well as the remaining undercard balance on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET by clicking HERE. That’s followed by the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV with live results and “Diaz vs. Ferguson” play-by-play action RIGHT HERE.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 279 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 279 fight card and PPV lineup click here.

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