UFC 279 looks totally different than it did 48 hours ago.
In MMA, seasoned followers have learned to expect the unexpected. Yet still, surprises come, as was the case Friday during weigh-ins when Khamzat Chimaez showed up nearly eight pounds over the welterweight limit.
The weigh-in issue resulted in a shuffle of matchups, including a new main event of Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson – five rounds. The co-main event is now a grudge match between Chimaev and Kevin Holland – five rounds. Additionally, a bout between Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez at a 180-pound contract weight serves as the featured bout.
Dana White announced the news on Instagram Live one hour before ceremonial faceoffs.
UFC 279 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile with the main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPNNews and ESPN+.
Scroll below to see what the MMA community had to say about the unusual UFC 279 main card opponent shuffle.
— danawhite (@danawhite) September 9, 2022
Are they waiting for tennis to be over before making this #UFC279 announcement?
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) September 9, 2022
Dana White announces on SportsCenter for #UFC279
Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland
Li Jingliang vs. Daniel Rodriguez
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohn) September 9, 2022
Both Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson and Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland will be five rounds, per Dana White. #UFC279
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) September 9, 2022
Let’s gooo we got a fight card!! Big respect to all the fighters willing to shuffle up the opponents…. fighters fight!!!
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) September 9, 2022
Per Dana White on Sportscenter, it is UFC 279: Diaz v. Ferguson. 🙂 #UFC279
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) September 9, 2022
Maybe khazmat is just a big advocate for fighter pay because he got everyone a raise 😂 😂
— Cody Brundage (@CodyBrundage185) September 9, 2022
Buenísimo como la arreglaron 💯 voy con nate , d rod, y espero que Kevin holland le hablé y se le meta en la cabeza a khamZat por 5 rounds
— Pitbull 🇦🇷 Rojo (@pitbull_rojo) September 9, 2022
This is poetic justice…. I think I’m using that right? Good for Diaz and good for Ferguson and in my opinion, significantly more intriguing than the original main event. https://t.co/ws6hNGaqGX
— Joe Solecki (@JoeSolecki) September 9, 2022
Nate Diaz vs T Ferg & Chimaev vs. Holland . Both 5 rounders . This got weirdly good , real fast ! 🔥🔥🔥 #UFC279
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) September 9, 2022
Card may be better, that is why the @ufc is the best fight company in the game. In hours not only is the card better but matchups are real even! Gonna be a fun night! #UFC279 pic.twitter.com/7Rw1Dq9Yd0
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) September 9, 2022
— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) September 9, 2022
What a day it has been .. #UFC279
Nate Diaz v Tony Ferguson
Khamzat Chimaev v Kevin Holland
Li Jingliang v Daniel Rodriguez
.. lookin forward to these faceoffs!
— Megan Olivi (@MeganOlivi) September 9, 2022
Still awaiting word on Li Jingliang’s blue custom suit and how it factors in. #UFC279
— Brendan Fitzgerald (@BrendanFitzTV) September 9, 2022
Per Nate Diaz’s reps, still the final fight of his deal. Five round main against Tony Ferguson.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 9, 2022
The record number of catch weights 😅 this is wild. Some very interesting match ups here 👀 https://t.co/CoHAF06c4Z
— LERONE MURPHY (@LeroneMurphy) September 9, 2022
Manager Tim Simpson
On Li Jingliang from his manager Tim Simpson. pic.twitter.com/fPWHgx9GSG
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 9, 2022