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UFC 279 Preview - Chimaev v Diaz

The UFC returns to Las Vegas for UFC 279. The card is headlined by a banger, with rising star Khamzat Chimaev taking on the legend of Nate Diaz. The co-main event features another welterweight battle between Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson. Let’s take a closer look at all of the action taking place this weekend.

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UFC 279 Prelim Card 

Welterweights kick off the card as Darian Weeks takes on Yohan Lainesse. Weeks is just about favored to come out on top. 

Melissa Martinez meets Elise Reed in a women's strawweight encounter. Martinez should get the victory in this contest and help move Mexican MMA forward. 

Chad Anheliger takes on Heili Alatengheili in a bantamweight tilt. Alatengheili is expected to get the victory over Anheliger. 

Norma Dumont meets Danyelle Wolf in a women's featherweight bout. This should be a comfortable victory for the vastly-more experienced Dumont. 

Heavyweights are also in action as Jake Collier collides with Chris Barnett. Collier is a big favorite. 

Denis Tiuliulin battles Jamie Pickett in a middleweight contest. It’s a close bout, but Pickett is just about favored to get the victory. 

Shamil Abdurakhimov returns to action when he faces Jailton Almeida in a heavyweight contest. Almeida is a massive favorite and should earn a landmark win over the #14 ranked big man. 

The featured prelim sees featherweights Hakeem Dawodu and Julian Erosa in action. Expect Dawodu to make it seven wins in his last eight to emerge as a Canadian to watch. 


UFC 279 Main Card 

Johnny Walker (18-7) v Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1, 1NC) 

A potential light heavyweight barnburner opens up the main card as Johnny Walker takes on Ion Cutelaba. Walker is on a two-fight losing skid and most recently was knocked out by Jamahal Hill in February.

Cutelaba is also coming off a loss following a submission defeat to Ryan Spann in May. This is guaranteed to an exciting brawl as both fighters move forward and love to bang.  Cutelaba is a big favorite, but I the Brazilian has the power and athleticism to end this fight, so I like a play on the #13 ranked Walker. 

Irene Aldana (13-6) v Macy Chiasson (9-2) 

A pivotal women’s bantamweight encounter between Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson. Aldana is coming off a TKO win over Yana Kunitskaya. Overall, she has won three of her last four.

Chiasson, ranked as #10 contender, is returning to 135 pounds after her last featherweight contest saw her defeat Norma Dumont via split decision. Aldana’s has many ways to win this fight and see the #4 ranked contender moving forward closer to a title shot. 

Kevin Holland (23-7, 1NC) v Daniel Rodriguez (16-2) 

Kevin Holland returns to action when he takes on action fighter Daniel Rodriguez in a welterweight bout. Holland is 2-0 since moving down to welterweight following finishes over Alex Oliveira and Tim Means. 

Rodriguez, meanwhile, hasn’t competed since outclassing vet Kevin Lee last year. This should be an all-out war, but given Holland’s activity, size and level of competition, he is the favorite.  I like the legendary, in-fight trash talker Holland to also use his fists to get the win in the Octagon.  

Li Jingliang (19-7) v Tony Ferguson (26-7) 

The co-main event sees Li Jingliang welcome Tony Ferguson back into the welterweight division. Jingliang returned to the win column with a TKO victory over Muslim Salikhov in July. Ferguson, on the other hand, is on a four-fight losing skid following his brutal knockout defeat to Michael Chandler back in May. 

Ferguson has since changed camps and moved up to welterweight where he will be looking for a change in fortune as he nears the end of his career.  However, time and age is not on his side.  After being knocked out, the #11 contender El Cecuy’s chin is now questioned, too. Jingliang is a solid favorite and should make it five defeats in a row over the former TUF champ.

Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) v Nate Diaz (21-13) 

The main event features a welterweight contest between the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz. Chimaev recently passed his toughest test yet when he outpointed title challenger Gilbert Burns in a back-and-forth war earlier this year. Overall, “Borz” is now 5-0 with the UFC and closing in on a title shot. 

Diaz, who is fighting the last fight of his UFC contract, wanted to challenge himself with a big name, and he got the one that nobody else wanted. The Stockton native hasn’t competed since a unanimous decision defeat to current welterweight champion Leon Edwards last year. 

Although he lost, the most memorable sequence of the fight was Nate hurting the now champ late in the fight. Overall, he has lost three of his last four and has only competed three times since late 2016. 

The Stockholm based fighter is a huge favorite, and all the talk reminds me of when Diaz stepped up to face Conor McGregor with seemingly little chance to win?  While everything is in Khamzat’s favor, perhaps Diaz has one more surprise left for us fight fans.  Either way, a must watch fight that will further the stardom of one fighter. 


About Ryan O’Leary 

Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.






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V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021