The UFC returns to PPV with UFC 279 on Saturday, September 10 from the T-Mobile Arena on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event was originally scheduled to feature a welterweight grudge match between top contender Khamzat Chimaev and veteran fan favorite Nate Diaz. However, Chimaev showed up overweight to the weigh-in and was bumped down the card.
Diaz will now face Tony Ferguson in a welterweight bout and Chimaev will face Kevin Holland in a catchweight bout at 180 pounds. The main card will feature five fights with a start time of 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
At one time a potential match between Diaz and Ferguson was a hot topic back when both competitors were in the lightweight division. Now, veterans fighting at welterweight, it could be the final fight in the UFC for both men.
Diaz, a slight +130 underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, is at the end of his contract in the UFC and is looking at opportunities outside of the promotion. Ferguson, a -110 favorite, has lost four straight fights.
Ferguson was beaten up for almost five rounds in a TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 and suffered lopsided unanimous decision losses to Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush at UFC 258 and UFC 262 respectively. But it was Ferguson’s most recent loss to Michael Chandler at UFC 274 that made fans wonder if the 38-year-old Californian needs to retire.
The fight was expected to be an all-out brawl, but in the first round it was a little more tactical with Chandler patiently waiting for openings while Ferguson touched him with light front kicks. Ferguson knocked Chandler down with a jab and followed up with a hook that hurt Chandler again. Chandler, however, recovered and took Ferguson down with a shoot midway through the round. In the final minute of the round Chandler began to rough Ferguson up against the cage.
The second round started much like the first until Chandler landed a perfect front kick to Ferguson’s face and knocked him out cold 17 seconds into the round.
MICHAEL CHANDLER JUST KNOCKED OUT TONY FERGUSON COLD… WOW pic.twitter.com/sjhJycWhHS— FightBiz (@FightBizz) May 8, 2022
The fight re-established Chandler as a top five lightweight and potential title contender in the division. Ferguson, ranked No. 7 going into the fight, dropped outside the top ten for the first time since 2015. Chandler earned a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.