Everything you need to know about UFC 279: Chimaev vs. Diaz

Publish Date
Friday, 9 September 2022, 9:11AM

ACC UFC contributor Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 279: Chimaev vs. Diaz.

It's finally time for UFC 279! Headlined by a super intriguing matchup between the trailblazing menace Khamzat "Borz" Chimaev and the people's champion Nate Diaz. The co-main event sees "The Leech" Li Jingliang - an unheralded welterweight prospect - against the currently-crashing King of Crazy himself, Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson.

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz

Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) (wins-losses) is the currently surging UFC star. He's undefeated, he's a dominant wrestler, and he's got incredible knockout power at welterweight. Plus he's scary, too. What's not to like about the new hotness at welterweight? I mean except for his close ties to Putin-backed Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, author of innumerable human rights violations and atrocities. To be fair, the argument could easily be made that Chimaev's (and his family's) life could be in threat if he refused the dictator. At one point Chimaev retired from MMA after coughing blood from a severe COVID-19 infection only for Kadyrov to announce Chimaev's 'un-retirement' shortly after. Love him or hate him, Chimaev is a dangerous puzzle for any welterweight to solve. Many have even named him as a potential future champion of the division. Whatever happens, he sure as shit ain't able to retire.

Everyone's favourite fighter Nate Diaz (20-13) stands in the way of Chimaev. The loud mouthed, shit talking, middle-finger pulling, joing smoking king of the fans. Diaz's explosion in populariy can be traced back to UFC 196 when Nate Diaz pulled the ultimate upset by dropping and subsequently choking out international superstar "The Notorious" Conor McGregor to claim the welterweight title. The story goes that Nate Diaz grew up poor and starving in Stockton, California with his older brother Nick. Both Nate and Nick began taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, but he admittedly wasn't very good. The only reason Nate stuck it out at BJJ was for the free burritos the older kids in his class would often buy for them. Now he's a world-trained and tested BJJ black belt under the master Cesar Gracie. Along with his aforementioned BJJ, Diaz also excels at unorthodox southpaw boxing just like his older brother. And while Diaz is coming into this matchup on a two-fight losing streak, that was against welterweight killers Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal and reigning champion Leon "Rocky" Edwards. Nate Diaz was so competitive against the now-champion Leon Edwards that the champion actually promised Diaz a title opportunity following a win this weekend.

"The Leech" Li Jingliang vs. Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson

In the co-main event "The Leech" Li Jingliang (19-7) finally has an opportunity at worldwide fame and success against the lagging superstar Tony Ferguson. "The Leech" has been fighting at a consistent professional level for several years now. He was winning against the Frank Camachos and the David Zawadas of the wolrd, but he was losing to the Jake Matthews and the Neil Magnys. However, "The Leech" always had one thing in his favour: he finishes fights. He's got three chokes, and five punch finishes in his pro MMA career thus far. An impressive left hook finish of Santiago Ponzinibbio earned "The Leech" an opportunity against the prospect Khamzat Chimaev, who choked him out in under three and a half minutes flat. "The Leech" now gets another golden opportunity to prove himself to the masses. And boy is his opportunity an exciting one.

That opportunity comes in the form of funky freestylist Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson (25-7). At one point in time "El Cucuy" was the definitive number-two guy in the savage lightweight division. The only guy that fans speculated could beat Ferguson was the lightweight GOAT (Greatest-Of-All-Time) Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov. That fight was scheduled five separate times, with the fifth time the fight being scrapped by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC president Dana White joked that he was worried about the consequences to the world should they attempt to book the fight for a sixth time. And there was good reason to believe "El Cucuy" could do the damn thing and beat the unbeatable Nurmagomedov (who retired as champion, undefeated and largely unchallenged). Few can match Ferguson's scalp collection: he D'Arce choked Edson "Junior" Barboza and "Groovy" Lando Vannata, triangle choked Kevin "Motown Phenom" Lee, and TKO'd both Anthony "Showtime" Pettis (via corner stoppage) and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (via doctor stoppage). Unfortunately, Ferguson is currently riding a four-fight losing streak (Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush, and Michael Chandler) with the most recent being Ferguson's first KO loss against "Iron" Michael Chandler via front kick to the face. Ferguson's skillset is a fluid Wing Chun combination of eight limbs: arms, elbows, legs, and knees dynamically and unpredictably. On top of that, Ferguson's a dangerous BJJ black belt under the equally nutty and elite Eddie Bravo.

Both of these great fights go down on the main card of UFC 279 this Sunday, which starts at 2:00 PM. The early prelim card begins back at 10:00 AM. Enjoy!

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