Dana White Announces Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson Will Headline UFC 279
Hours after Khamzat Chimaev failed to make weight at Friday’s official weigh-ins, UFC president Dana White has announced a major shakeup to the main card of UFC 279.
UFC Announces Updates To UFC 279
Going to and betting on the ponies was a family tradition passed down for generations, and what started as a day to get snacks and watch a couple races when I was quite little turned into something I cared a great deal about, eventually worked in, and followed intently. My brother was even more entrenched than me, pursuing a career as an announcer and television commentator for many years, as well as working hands-on for various trainers.
And because of those experiences and those neural links, I can’t help but make horse racing analogies all time, even if they don’t make that much sense to anyone else.
For instance: last end of the week’s occasion in Paris was, as far as I might be concerned, what could be compared to the ponies emerging from the backstretch and hitting that large, clearing turn that conveys them to the highest point of the stretch — the arrangement to the enormous, last push to the end goal.
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While the stretch drive is the most exciting, keen observers know that races are won and lost in that final turn. In terms of the UFC, the September slate is flush with critical matchups for a number of divisions, and what happened last weekend, and what happens this weekend and next will have an undeniable impact on how things line up heading into next year.
Here’s a closer look at the middle leg of the UFC’s three-week push towards the home stretch.
Welterweight veteran Nate Diaz arrives looking to play spoiler to Tony Ferguson’s return to the welterweight division the same way he did in his impromptu first meeting with Conor McGregor at UFC 196. He’s dropped every one of his last two excursions however displayed in the last moment of his UFC 263 conflict with brand new welterweight champ Leon Edwards that he’s generally equipped for causing a ruckus in the event that you let him stay nearby sufficiently lengthy.
Ferguson returns to the 170-pound ranks for the first time since winning the welterweight competition on Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter.A long-lasting title competitor and previous break lightweight boss, “El Cucuy” has dropped four straight in the wake of storing up a noteworthy 12-battle series of wins, and hopes to switch course with a move up in weight this end of the week.
Rising welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev puts his unbeaten record on the line against a man looking to continue to make a name for himself in the welterweight division in Kevin Holland during this five-round co-main event inside T-Mobile Arena.
Undefeated in 11 professional starts and entering off a crucial unanimous decision win over Gilbert Burns in April, Chimaev now gets the opportunity to headline an event and potentially compete over five rounds for the first time.In the wake of raging through the opposition in his initial four UFC tasks, the battle with Consumes at UFC 273 demonstrated he was mortal, yet in addition that he could explore his direction through an exhausting, ever changing issue.
In Vegas For UFC 279? This is What’s Happening For Battle Week
Following a breakout campaign in 2020 that saw him win five fights in seven months, Holland ran into struggles in 2021, resulting in two lopsided losses and a no contest verdict in a fight with Kyle Daukaus, all of which prompted him to decamp for the welterweight division. Since showing up, the 29-year-old “Pioneer” has gathered a couple of stoppage prevails upon veteran backbones Alex Oliveira and Tim Means to revive contemplations that he’s a competitor really taking shape.
The man come to be known as “Big Mouth” has an incredible opportunity on the line while having the chance to make a serious statement against Khamzat Chimaev.
Chinese stalwart Li Jingliang looks to build on his Performance of the Night-winning effort in July by clashing with a dominant finisher in Daniel Rodriguez, who will be looking to break into the welterweight division’s Top 15 himself.
A fixture in the Top 15 for the last several years, “The Leech” rebounded from his one-sided encounter with Chimaev at UFC 267 by registering a second-round stoppage win over Muslim Salikhov in mid-July on Long Island.The 34-year-old has assembled areas of strength for a throughout the long term, participate in Saturday’s challenge with a 11-5 imprint inside the Octagon, with his best wins coming in his latest triumphs, which recommends he’s in excellent condition heading into this one.
In seven starts since getting called up to the UFC on short notice, Rodriguez has posted a 6-1 record, entering Saturday’s bout with Li on a three-fight winning streak.Last break, “D-Pole” hopped into a short-notice task inverse Kevin Lee, dropped the initial round, and afterward mobilized, procuring a consistent choice triumph to additional concrete his position right external the Main 15.
A win for either man on the weekend has the potential to carry them into a date with a ranked opponent next time out.You understand what you will get from the consistently centered, consistently fresh Rodriguez, yet Li reliably brings the confusion, which makes this such a charming conflict in the principal card.
The main card rolls on with an important matchup in the bantamweight division, as Irene Aldana faces off with former TUF winner Macy Chiasson.
The 34-year-old Aldana returns for the first time since registering a first-round stoppage win over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264, in a bout where she missed weight by a considerable margin.She’s 3-1 in her last four trips, including a first-round knockout of Ketlen Vieira, and by and by feels on the slope of presenting her name for title thought.
All things considered, Chiasson has had a pretty typical go of things since winning the featherweight competition on Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter.She’s procured five successes in seven beginnings, staggering against more prepared resistance, yet ceaselessly shows upgrades, as you would expect to see from somebody that is a little while ago 11 battles into their vocation.
Things at the top of the bantamweight division are still a little uncertain at the moment, as no one is quite sure what is going to come next for two-time champ Amanda Nunes.While it very well may be somewhat of a stretch, a predominant exertion for one or the other lady in this challenge could place them in the main part of the pursuit, so hope to see the absolute best of both Aldana and Chiasson this end of the week at T-Portable Field.
All-action light heavyweights kick off the main card as Johnny Walker collides with Ion Cutelaba.
Three years ago, Walker was the talk of the division — a rising star on a three-fight winning streak where each performance was better than the last.He was magnetic and imaginative in the enclosure, with a huge grin, a strange methodology, and obvious power. Since then, however, it’s been a tough road for the 30-year-old Brazilian, as he’s dropped two fights on either side of his win over Ryan Spann, and enters this one still looking to recapture some of that early momentum.
Has anyone had a more frenetic, more chaotic 12-fight run in the UFC than Cutelaba? The 28-year-old bundle of angst and energy touches down at UFC 279 with a 5-6-1 record in the Octagon that includes various weigh-in tussles, some moments where he looks like a burgeoning contender, and his “I was just pretending to be hurt” loss and subsequent legitimate knockout loss to Magomed Ankalaev.
Both Walker and Cutelaba are ensured fervor when they contend separately, and I can barely comprehend what sort of disarray will result when they hit the Octagon together on Saturday night.
Hakeem Dawodu vs Julian Erosa
Fixtures in the featherweight division Hakeem Dawodu and Julian Erosa close out the preliminary slate on Saturday in what should be an entertaining clash from start to finish.
Dawodu has been on the cusp of breaking into the rankings for the last couple of years, but has never quite gotten there.A five-battle series of wins in the wake of dropping his special presentation brought him close, yet a misfortune to Movsar Evloev hammered the entryway shut. He rebounded with a good win over Michael Trizano last time out, and he looks to build off that effort here against Erosa.
Erosa is one of the better “feel good” stories in the UFC over the last couple of years.
A member of Team Faber on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, he won his fight at the finale, lost his next bout, and was released by the promotion.After two years, he procured a second-round knockout win on Dana White’s Competitor Series, however didn’t get an agreement, just to get a short-notice get back to, which brought about three straight misfortunes and a subsequent delivery.
A third chance to compete on the big stage came in the summer of 2020 and Erosa has made the most of it, posting a 4-1 mark over his last five fights, including stoppage wins over Sean Woodson, Nate Landwehr, and Charles Jourdain.
Dawodu is a cleaned, specialized striker who likes to work clean, keep things standing, and search for openings to take advantage of, while Erosa is the inverse — a “go on feel” sort of warrior who conveys his hands low, will take one to land one, and has never seen a slight open door he wasn’t willing to pursue.
In a bout being held at a catchweight of 220 pounds, ascending Brazilian Jailton Almeida and newcomer Anton Turkalj square off in an intriguing fixture.
Almeida’s rookie campaign in the UFC began in February with a light heavyweight win over Danilo Marques, but got more intriguing when he ventured up to heavyweight and stormed through Parker Porter in May, extending his overall winning streak to 11 in the process. Now he’s committed to fighting in the big boy ranks and staring down an opportunity to punch his ticket to the Top 15, all before the one-year anniversary of Dana White’s Contender Series win that resulted in his earning a UFC contract.
Discussing the Competitor Series, Sweden’s Turkalj didn’t get an agreement when he crushed Acacio Dos Santos in Season Six’ opening week in July, however he got a choice success to stretch out his record to 8-0 with seven completions, so when Shamil Abdurakhimov was constrained out of this end of the week’s session, the 26-year-old got the call. And while it’s a tough test to say the least, Turkalj now has his foot in the door with the opportunity to kick it down at T-Mobile Arena.
Denis Tiuliulin vs Jamie Pickett
Initially booked to contend in mid-July, middleweights Denis Tiuliulin and Jamie Pickett will at long last meet in the Octagon as a component of this end of the week’s starter card record.
Tiuliulin has been abandoned, in a real sense, in his initial two UFC appearances, as he lost his short-notice presentation to “The Dark Wolf,” Aliaskhab Khizriev, and presently goes head to head against “The Night Wolf” on Saturday. The 34-year-old Russian, who trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, was 10-5 preceding his presentation misfortune, and hopes to get back to the structure that delivered four stoppage wins in five beginnings before his showing up on the UFC stage.
Bonus Résumé | Tony Ferguson
It took Pickett three attempts to graduate from Dana White’s Contender Series to the UFC, and three appearances before he earned his first UFC win. In the wake of gathering continuous triumphs over Laureano Staropoli and Joseph Holmes to get his record to 2-2 the Octagon, Pickett was presented by Kyle Daukaus last break, and hopes to stay away from a second successive misfortune here.
Each of these men has to feel backed into a corner as they head into battle this weekend, which should mean that we get a spirited clash as they work to maintain their place in the middleweight ranks on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Heavyweights also occupy the opening slot on Saturday’s televised prelims, as Jake Collier and Chris Barnett face off in what promises to be a slobberknocker for as long as it lasts.
Collier has alternated losses and wins throughout the entirety of his UFC career, carrying a 5-6 mark into UFC 279 after dropping a debated split decision to Andrei Arlovski last time out.The previous middleweight and light heavyweight has shown streaks since getting back from an almost three-year break and hopes to assemble things with more consistency beginning with this battle on Saturday night.
A long-time favorite of hardcore fans, Barnett finally got the chance to compete in the UFC for the first time last spring, losing by submission to Ben Rothwell. He rebounded with a tremendous showing against Gian Villante at Madison Square Garden.
He dropped his last excursion to Martin Buday and, similar to Collier, intends to start advancing more predictable outcomes with a re-visitation of the success section here.
After having her three-fight winning streak snapped last time out, Norma Dumont looks to get back into the win column as she squares off with debuting former amateur boxing standout Danyelle Wolf.
The 31-year-old Brazilian dropped her promotional debut to Megan Anderson in February 2020, but then rattled off victories over Ashlee Evans-Smith, Felicia Spencer, and Aspen Ladd to garner some momentum as a possible emerging contender in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. But she missed weight for a featherweight assignment against Chiasson last time out and then dropped a split decision on fight night, leaving her in need of a rebound this weekend.
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Wolf had Olympic boxing aspirations, but switched to mixed martial arts when her weight class wasn’t added to the slate in consecutive Olympics. The three-time US Public Boxing Titles victor crushed momentum Invicta FC bantamweight champ Taneisha Tennant by consistent choice two seasons back on Dana White’s Competitor Series to procure her UFC contract, lastly makes the stroll interestingly this end of the week.
This is a critical fight for Dumont and a first look at Wolf on the biggest stage nearly two years after she punched her ticket to the Octagon. All bets are off in terms of how this one plays out, and that’s what makes it so intriguing.
Bantamweights Chad Angeliger and Sangheili clash on the early prelims in what should be an ultra-competitive, highly entertaining battle between two veteran competitors.
Anheliger took a long, winding, troublesome street to the UFC, cobbling together an eight-battle series of wins following a 2-5 beginning to his profession to land an open door on Dana White’s Competitor Series.A hard-fought win over highly regarded Muin Gafurov resulted in a shot to compete in the Octagon, and the Alberta native made the most of it, collecting a third-round stoppage win over Jesse Strader in his promotional debut in February.
Li Jingliang | Top 5 Moments
Five fights into his UFC tenure, Mongolia’s Alatangheili is 3-1-1 and coming off his most impressive performance to date — a first-round knockout win over Kevin Croom in April. The 30-year-old logged a ton of appearances right off the bat in his vocation and like Anheliger, was burdened with a not exactly rousing record at various places, yet he’s gone 11-2-2 over his last 15 battles and seems to find his sweet spot inside the Octagon.
This should be a lot of fun, as Anheliger is a crafty veteran playing with house money at this stage of his career, and “The Mongolian Knight” is a powerhouse for the division with designs on continuing to climb the rankings. Settle in and don’t miss a second of this one on Saturday night.
Newcomer “Super Mely,” Melissa Martinez makes the walk to the Octagon for the first time on Saturday night, squaring off with former CFFC titleholder Elise Reed.
The 25-year-old Martinez is a perfect 7-0 in her career with a wealth of kickboxing accolades to accompany her undefeated mixed martial arts record. She flourished under the Combate banner, earning stoppage victories in four of her six appearances, and looks to establish herself as someone to pay close attention to in the strawweight division this weekend at UFC 279.
Tony Ferguson | Top 5 Moments
Reed’s promotional debut loss to Sijara Eubanks is a throwaway result — she was fighting up a division, against a fighter best suited to competing at bantamweight, and got beaten. Since then, she’s split a pair of appearances in the 115-pound weight class and looks to recapture the form that produced good wins over Jasmine Jasudavicius, Jillian DeCoursey, and Hilarie Rose prior to her UFC call-up.
Welterweight still looking for their underlying UFC triumph in Saturday’s opener, as Darian Weeks goes head to head with Competitor Series alum Yohan Lainesse.
Weeks has given a solid accounting of himself through his first two UFC starts, unanimous decision losses to Bryan Barberena (on short notice) and Ian Machado Garry.Initially planned to confront kickboxer Cedric Doumbe in Paris last end of the week, he moves back Stateside with the expectation that the third time is the appeal as he gets down to business with Lainesse this end of the week in Las Vegas.
Lainesse won the CFFC welterweight title with a second-round stoppage win over Evan Cutts last summer, and then followed it up with a first-round knockout win over Justin Burlinson in front of UFC President Dana White to earn his place on the roster.He arrived on some unacceptable side of a stoppage last break against Gabe Green, and means to bounce back from his most memorable profession misfortune with scurry on Saturday.