After a turbulent two days in Las Vegas that saw a wild melee backstage at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday, and multiple fighters miss weight on Friday, the UFC has called an audible on its fight card to keep the event intact.
The new headliner will see UFC legends Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson go head to head in a five-round welterweight main event. Diaz and Ferguson both made the welterweight limit for their previously booked fights, but will now face each other in a dream match for longtime UFC fans.
The co-main event features a newly-established grudge match between Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland, who will do battle in a 180-pound catchweight bout. The pair clashed backstage prior to the pre-fight press conference earlier in the week, and now they’ll get the chance to settle the score inside the octagon.
Holland weighed in at 179.5 pounds for his originally-scheduled 180-pound catchweight bout with Daniel Rodriguez, but will now face Chimaev, who came in 7.5 pounds overweight, at 178.5 pounds, for his welterweight bout with Diaz. Now he’s been shuffled back into the co-main slot, with Holland promoted from his original mid-card position to face Chimaev in an explosive 180-pound catchweight matchup.
The third rearranged matchup involves the two fighters left without opponents as a result of the aforementioned two bouts. Chinese welterweight Li Jingliang was all set to face Ferguson in the co-main event, but will now face Holland’s original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, in a 180-pound catchweight bout. Jingliang weighed in at 170.5 pounds, while D-Rod came in at 179 pounds, and the pair will now face off in a new matchup to complete the reshuffle at the top of the fight card.
Here’s how the UFC officially announced the card changes:
Due to recommendation from the UFC medical team, Khamzat Chimaev was advised to stop cutting weight due to weight management issues. Chimaev will move up to a catchweight bout of 180 lbs and face Kevin Holland in the new five-round co-main event.
The new main event will feature two all-action UFC favorites as Nate Diaz will face Tony Ferguson in a five-round welterweight bout.
For the third fight on the main card, Li Jingliang will now face Daniel Rodriguez in a 180-lb. catchweight bout.
The women’s bantamweight bout between Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson will now be contested at a catchweight of 140 lbs.
Featherweight Hakeem Dawodu weighed in at 149.5 lbs and will be fined 30% of his purse in his bout against Julian Erosa.
Heavyweight Chris Barnett weighed in at 267.5 lbs and will be fined 20% of his purse in his bout against Jake Collier.
Due to a change in the main event, refunds will be available at point of sale.
UFC 279: Amended Fight Card
- Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson – 5-round welterweight main event
- Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland – 5-round 180-pound catchweight co-main event
- Li Jingliang vs. Daniel Rodriguez – 180-pound catchweight bout
- Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson
- Ion Cutelaba vs. Johnny Walker
- Hakeem Dawodu vs. Julian Erosa
- Jailton Almeida vs. Anton Turkalj
- Jamie Pickett vs. Denis Tiuliulin
- Chris Barnett vs. Jake Collier
- Norma Dumont vs. Danyelle Wolf
- Alatengheili vs. Chad Anheliger
- Melissa Martinez vs. Elise Reed
- Yohan Lainesse vs. Darian Weeks