UFC 279 will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10, with the main event Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz, and the co main event Li Jinliang vs Tony Ferguson taking place in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The main event between Chimaev and Diaz has gotten some of the most buzz for a main event this year even without a title being on the line. The reason for this is simple; these two have great personalities and memorable fights.
“Honestly I can’t wait for this,” said Marc Cohen, senior management major. “This is a big fight for both of them, especially Nate Diaz.”
This fight will be the last fight on Nate Diaz’s contract, and he has made it very known on Twitter that he does not plan to stay with the UFC. Diaz has been with the company since 2008 and has become a household name over the years. His carefree attitude and entertaining fights have given him a large fanbase that is willing to watch whatever he does.
Diaz has been asking for a fight since earlier this year, but the UFC has been unable to either offer Diaz a fight or come to a deal where it makes sense for both sides. Diaz has been vocal about calling out opponents and calling out Dana White and the UFC for not setting him up with a fight.
This could be a big reason for his departure as he realizes his worth and does not want to deal with an authoritative voice over his own. He has expressed interest in fighting former Youtuber turned boxer, Jake Paul in a boxing match which could earn him millions of dollars and potentially more fans.
However, if Nate Diaz can beat the biggest upcoming star in the welterweight division, it could set the division on its axis. He has been disrespected by the company for months on end and if he is able to derail the hype train in the potential cash cow for the company, then that would be his way of throwing up the bird to the UFC before leaving for good.
“I’m rooting for Diaz in this one,” said Tyler Mullhern, senior criminology major. “He’s been disrespected for too long by the UFC. Hopefully he gets a win and leaves.”
Chimaev’s last fight was at UFC 273, where he won a decision against Gilbert Burns. The crowd expected a barn burner and they got one. Both fighters were standing and landing bombs on each other. It was the first time in Chimaev’s UFC career where it seemed like he finally got his first test, and he was able to come away with the win even after getting knocked down.
However, this upcoming fight against Diaz will be the biggest test in his career. In his last fight against Burns, it was noticeable that in the third round Chimaev started to gas out. With this fight being a five rounder as well as Diaz having some of the best cardio and pressure out of anyone in the welterweight division, it will be interesting to see exactly how Chimaev will handle this constant stand up pressure. Will he test his cardio and boxing while standing with Diaz or will he try to wrestle with the BJJ black belt?
The co main event between Jinliang and Ferguson should be a close fight due to their similar fight styles and skills in both stand up and on the ground. A win for Jinliang will boost him up the welterweight rankings a bit and get him closer to a shot at the title.
For Ferguson, a win will put him back in the win column since he last won in 2019. In his last fight versus Michael Chandler, Ferguson took control and dominated the first round, which was something we hadn’t seen in years.
It seemed like “El Cucuy” was finally back and ready to get a bloody finish win. However, in the second round, Chandler caught Ferguson with a straight kick right to the jaw which put Ferguson out cold.
“I also hate that people are completely counting him out,” said James Weiner, an assistant sports management professor. “Before he got absolutely NFL-punted in the face, he was winning the fight against Chandler.”
We saw that the old Ferguson is still there and with this fight being at welterweight rather than lightweight, a win could open Ferguson to regain that violent confidence and give him a good spot in the welterweight rankings.