UFC 279 is right around the corner, and anticipation has reached a fever pitch. The UFC is already pumping out its signature high-quality content, with the countdown show and the highly acclaimed embedded series both available now on YouTube. Everyone’s favorite pundits, such as Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen, are dropping their preview shows. All that remains now is for Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz to do battle in one of the most highly anticipated tear-ups in recent memory. Oddschecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on UFC matchups, has the Chechen-born Swede down as a huge betting favorite, but the much loved West Coast Gangster has shocked the world before. Can he do it one final time in Las Vegas?
The reason we say “final time” is because the upcoming fight is the final bout on Nate Diaz’s UFC contract. The California native is expected to leave the company and ride off into the sunset as one of the biggest legends the sport has ever seen. But before he can do that, the gunslinger has one last duel. A duel with a fighting behemoth born in the Chechen mountains. It is by no means an easy feat, but millions of fans around the world will be tuning in and hoping that Diaz can roll back the years.
It isn’t just the main event that’s mouth-watering. Stars such as Tony Ferguson, Kevin Holland, and Johnny Walker are all competing in interesting matches on the undercard. Here are our two predictions that may well come true at UFC 279.
Tony Ferguson’s losing streak will continue
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Tony Ferguson was the most feared fighter in the lightweight division. Between 2013 and 2019, El Cucuy embarked on a record-setting 12-fight undefeated streak. He still holds the record for the most consecutive wins in the division and, during that run, he beat some of the biggest names in the company – the likes of Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, and Kevin Lee all fell before the Orange County native, and he looked to be headed straight for the UFC Lightweight Championship.
Then came the dreaded matchup with Khabib Nurmagomedov. The company’s head honcho Dana White booked Ferguson vs The Eagle on five separate occasions, and every time the fight fell through. It remains the most booked matchup in the history of the UFC but the fight never actually took place. Khabib would go on to dominate the division and El Cucuy was left by the wayside.
Ferguson’s winning streak came to a crashing halt at UFC 249 when he was smoked by Justin Gaethje, who would secure the interim lightweight championship for his troubles. Further defeats would follow at the hands of Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush, and Michael Chandler, and now the losing streak stands at four. At UFC 279 Ferguson begins his campaign at welterweight against Chinese knockout artist Li Jingliang, and you can bank on the man from Beijing to secure another victory in Las Vegas.
Nate Diaz gives Khamzat Chimaev hell
The common theme surrounding Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz seems to be that the adopted Swede will walk through his opponent. We are taking a different stance. Admittedly, it’s very possible that Chimaev starches Diaz in the first minute of the fight. Can Diaz’s 37-year-old chin still take the punishment? Does he have the necessary skills to survive the early onslaught? For Chimaev’s sake, he better hope the answer to both those questions is no.
In his recent bout with Gilbert Burns, Chimaev showed that he can slow down in the second half of fights. And that fight was just three rounds. The upcoming main event will be five rounds, and if Diaz can last into rounds four and five, it’s very possible that he can take his opponent into deep waters, just as he did with Leon Edwards recently, who he nearly knocked out in the fifth and final round at UFC 263.
Now, we aren’t saying that Diaz beats Chimaev, although that wouldn’t surprise us as much as it surprises the bookmakers. We are saying that Stockton’s finest will go to war, and Chimaev should aim to take Diaz out as early as possible if he’s to secure the win.