Khamzat Chimaev dropped the ball for his main event clash with Nate Diaz tomorrow night (Sat., Sept. 10, 2022) at UFC 279 live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The undefeated Russian fighter missed weight by nearly eight pounds Friday morning and saw his five-round clash with Diaz go up in flames. Luckily, after hours of negotiating, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials were able to change a few matchups on the card to keep everything in order. Diaz will now fight Tony Ferguson. Khamzat will now fight Kevin Holland. Last but not least, Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez will now fight after having both of their opponents whisked away.
While the final fight card lineup may actually be more intriguing than the original it’s still disappointing to see Khamzat come up so short when it mattered most. This weekend was tailormade for his success against one of the biggest names in the sport. A win over Diaz and “Borz” could have locked down a welterweight title shot his next time out.
Until now, all fight fans knew was that Chimaev experienced some sort of “medical issue” that prohibited him from cutting all the way down to the 171-pound benchmark for his main event bout with Diaz. Some even wondered if Khamzat gave up on cutting weight or didn’t even try at all. That seemed unlikely, but nobody knew for sure.
The reason for Khamzat’s weight-cut meltdown is still borderline a mystery, but UFC president Dana White did his best to shed some light on the situation during his appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter early Friday evening.
“So, what happened was he was cutting weight. If you saw him yesterday, he was very lean already and he should’ve come in on weight. He started to cut weight and you know, he started locking up and cramping. All things that happen from a bad cut,” said White.
“Unlike ten years ago, when we were doing this, we call and send a doctor up and he determines if he should keep cutting weight or not. The doctor told him he shouldn’t. So, we jumped on [saving this card] this morning.”
At the of the day, this entire situation is a win for UFC. The promotion managed to negotiate three new fights in less than 24 hours before a major PPV event in Las Vegas. Nobody was scratched from the card and Diaz, along with Khamzat, remain in the spotlight.
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 ESPN/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 play-by-play action RIGHT HERE.