Nate Diaz left the UFC with a submission win on Saturday, beating fellow fan Tony Ferguson in the final fight of his UFC contract.
Diaz was scheduled to face UFC’s fastest-rising star Khamzat Chimaev in the main event of UFC 279, but Chimaev weighed seven and a half pounds over the welterweight limit, resulting in the card being drastically revised.
American Diaz eventually took on compatriot Ferguson, who was originally set to face Li Jingliang. The Chinese instead fought Daniel Rodriguez, whose original opponent Kevin Holland took on Chimaev.
Diaz and Chimaev both emerged as submission winners from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with 37-year-old Diaz forcing 38-year-old Ferguson to knock out a guillotine choke in the fourth round after Chimaev hit Holland with a D submitted ‘Arce Choke in the co-main event.
Sloppy at times, the fight between Diaz and Ferguson was fought between two aging icons. Diaz has fought just four times in the past six years, winning two and losing two, and he has long expressed a desire to leave the UFC – something he can now do. Meanwhile, former interim lightweight champion Ferguson has lost five fights in a row, three of those losses coming by finish.
Most of the main event was contested on feet, where Diaz won the slugfest and Ferguson severely cut his left shin after seeing a leg kick being checked. In the fourth round, under pressure from his opponent, Ferguson attempted a double leg takedown and was immediately guillotined by Diaz as the pair hit the canvas. Ferguson soon tapped to extend his losing streak, while Diaz returned to the Victory Column 15 months after his last outing – a decision loss to current welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
“I outperformed everyone in pay, I outperformed everyone in survival,” Diaz reflected on his UFC career in his post-fight interview.
“I want to get out [of] the UFC for a minute and show all these other fighters how to own another sport. Then I’ll be right back here for a friggin’ UFC title.
Chimaev, meanwhile, easily defeated Holland within seconds of the start of the catchweight bout, and although Holland was able to stand twice, he was pulled back to the ground both times. The latter saw the American caught in a D’Arce choke, which Chimaev eventually used to secure victory.
The Russian-born Swede clashed with Holland backstage on Thursday, kicking the American to start a series of incidents that led to the cancellation of the pre-fight press conference. Earlier in the week, Chimaev also faced middleweight contender Paulo Costa at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
However, Chimaev, who was heavily booed at the T-Mobile Arena, was able to draw attention to his in-ring prowess with this win. It kept him 12-0 unbeaten, with 11 of those wins coming in goal. The 28-year-old is already third at welterweight in the UFC and looks set to be one step closer to a title shot despite his failed weight loss and demeanor outside the ring this week.
Earlier in the night Rodriguez defeated Li via split decision.
Defeated Nate Diaz. Tony Ferguson on Fourth Round Submission (Guillotine Choke, 2:52)
Khamzat Chimaev defeated. Kevin Holland on First Round Submission (D’Arce Choke, 2:13)
Daniel Rodriguez defeated. Li Jingliang by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Irene Aldana defeated. Macy Chiasson via third-round TKO (up-kick, 2:21)
Defeated Johnny Walker. Ion Cutelaba on First Round Submission (Rear-Naked Choke, 4:37)
Julian Erosa defeated. Hakeem Dawodu by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Defeated Jailton Almeida. Anton Turkalj on submission in the first round (Rear Naked Choke, 4:27)
Defeated Denis Tiuliulin. Jamie Pickett via second-round TKO (knees, ground punches; 4:52)
Defeated Chris Barnett. Jake Collier via second round TKO (ground attacks, 2:24)
Norma Dumont defeated. Danyelle Wolf by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Alatengheili def. Chad Anheliger by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Elise Reed defeated. Melissa Martinez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Yohan Lainesse defeated. Darian Weeks by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/ufc/ufc-279-results-nate-diaz-chimaev-tony-ferguson-b2164658.html UFC 279 Results: Nate Diaz hands in Tony Ferguson after Khamzat Chimaev runs through Kevin Holland