The main event of UFC 279 didn’t go exactly as planned. Nothing, that is, unless you count Nate Diaz’s victory over Tony Ferguson, a fourth-round submission victory serving as perhaps the ideal farewell for the ever-rebellious native of Stockton, California, who ended his UFC contract.
UFC 279 Nate Diaz vs Tony Ferguson
Ferguson launched an aggressive leg-kick-heavy attack right away. Ferguson’s shin collided with Diaz’s during one of his opening kicks in the fight, causing an injury that started bleeding right away and persisted throughout the rest of the fight. Throughout the fight, those kicks kept connecting, causing Diaz’s lead leg to bleed and swell.
Despite suffering severe injuries, Diaz persisted in trying to stalk Ferguson and, when he could get close enough or get Ferguson’s back to the cage, would throw combinations and hard left hands.
Ferguson persisted in delivering powerful leg kicks despite Diaz’s success. As the referee insisted that Diaz resume the fight, Diaz eventually appeared frustrated by the oncoming damage and started to circle around the cage while shaking his head.
In doing so, Diaz would loosen up his grip a bit more and tag Ferguson with a variety of moves.
Ferguson sought a takedown in the fourth round, a move that his corner had been requesting for the first two rounds. Ferguson ultimately paid the price for that choice as Diaz quickly locked in a guillotine choke and applied pressure until Ferguson was compelled to submit at the 2:52 mark of the round.
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Nate Diaz Post Fight Interview
After the fight, Diaz described his readiness to counter takedown attempts with the choke as “full-blown wrestling fight camp.” “I didn’t do no boxing. So, we made that happen.”
After confirming that his contract was now complete, Diaz said he would search for opportunities outside the Octagon. He then addressed Khamzat Chimaev, the opponent he was supposed to face in the main event. Chimaev severely missed weight on Friday, forcing the UFC to re-arrange three fights.
“I was like, this is such a bitch-ass rookie,” Diaz said. “I’m not even worried about a bitch-ass rookie.”
What about Tony Ferguson?
The defeat marked Ferguson’s fifth straight defeat and the third time he had been eliminated during that run. The losing streak stands in stark contrast to the 12-fight winning streak that came before it, during which Ferguson established himself as one of the sport’s top 155-pound fighters and won the interim lightweight championship.
Ferguson accepted the change to the five-round main event on Friday after originally being scheduled to fight Li Jingliang in a three-round bout. This was Ferguson’s welterweight debut.
What’s next for Diaz?
After ending a two-fight losing streak of his own, Diaz declared that he is now prepared to dominate another sport, possibly a boxing match with social media sensation Jake Paul after Paul’s fight against UFC legend Anderson Silva in October.
“All I know is it’s been a love-hate relationship with UFC for as long as I’ve been in this f—ing company,” Diaz said. “But I love UFC. … I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport. How you’re supposed to do it. Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it. None of these other fighters know how to do it. I’m going to go out there, take over another profession and become the best at that. Show everybody I’m the best at that and then I’m going to be right the f— back to get a motherf—ing UFC title.”
Khamzat Chimaev, who was originally Diaz’s opponent, reminded the audience of his impending dominance by submitting Kevin Holland in the opening round. Chimaev, who on Friday missed weight by 7.5 pounds and forced a complete reorganization of the card, was unrepentant in his post-fight interview and still plans to challenge for the welterweight title in the near future.
The Sports Lite was there for you every step of the way on Saturday, bringing you UFC 279 highlights below.
UFC 279 card and results
- Nate Diaz def. Tony Ferguson via fourth-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Khamzat Chimaev def. Kevin Holland via first-round submission (D’Arce choke)
- Daniel Rodriguez def. Li Jingliang via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Irene Aldana def. Macy Chiasson via third-round TKO (upkick)
- Johnny Walker def. Ion Cutelaba via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
- Julian Erosa def. Hakeem Dawodu via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jailton Almeida def. Anton Turkalj via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
- Denis Tiuliulin def. Jamie Pickett via second-round TKO (punches)
- Chris Barnett def. Jake Collier via second-round TKO (punches)
- Norma Dumont def. Danyelle Wolf via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
- Alatengheili def. Chad Anheliger via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Elise Reed def. Melissa Martinez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Yohan Lainesse def. Darian Weeks via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson — Round 4: Ferguson again nailed a leg kick early. Ferguson was knocked back by a left hand from Diaz, who then tried to follow up, but Ferguson was able to get away. Diaz made several solid connections before doing so again shortly after. With a solid left hook to Diaz’s body, Ferguson got to work. Ferguson drove in for a takedown precisely when his corner requested two consecutive rounds, but instead, he was immediately caught in a guillotine choke. Ferguson was compelled to tap out because there was no way to escape. As a result, Tony Ferguson was defeated by Nate Diaz in Round 4 by submission (guillotine choke).
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