UFC 279 looks totally different than it did 48 hours ago.
In MMA, seasoned followers have learned to expect the unexpected. Yet still, surprises come, as was the case Friday during weigh-ins when Khamzat Chimaez showed up nearly eight pounds over the welterweight limit.
The weigh-in issue resulted in a shuffle of matchups, including a new main event of Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson – five rounds. The co-main event is now a grudge match between Chimaev and Kevin Holland – five rounds. Additionally, a bout between Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez at a 180-pound contract weight serves as the featured bout.
Dana White announced the news on Instagram Live one hour before ceremonial faceoffs.
UFC 279 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile with the main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPNNews and ESPN+.
Scroll below to see what the MMA community had to say about the unusual UFC 279 main card opponent shuffle.
Dana White's announcement
Let’s gooo we got a fight card!! Big respect to all the fighters willing to shuffle up the opponents…. fighters fight!!!
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) September 9, 2022
Maybe khazmat is just a big advocate for fighter pay because he got everyone a raise 😂 😂
— Cody Brundage (@CodyBrundage185) September 9, 2022
Buenísimo como la arreglaron 💯 voy con nate , d rod, y espero que Kevin holland le hablé y se le meta en la cabeza a khamZat por 5 rounds
— Pitbull 🇦🇷 Rojo (@pitbull_rojo) September 9, 2022
Per Nate Diaz’s reps, still the final fight of his deal. Five round main against Tony Ferguson.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 9, 2022
Manager Tim Simpson
"Big" John McCarthy
Kai Kamaka III
Like anything, Mma can be so double standard. There can be a miss weight and not much will happen from it, maybe there is, but you also can miss weight being a big name and things can still workout 🥶. Hard to find the words for the tweet, hope it makes sense
— Kai Kamaka III (@kaiboikamaka) September 9, 2022
I definitely have some thoughts on these new #UFC279 matchups and will be going live on my YouTube channel post ceremonial weigh-ins to talk about new picks and potential plays (possibly with a special guest)…
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) September 9, 2022
Nate gets the fight he deserves…
Khamzat gets to smesh Holland…
& Li & D.Rod will actually be a sick fight, plus Li fighting a guy 10 pounds heavier than him.
What a G!!
— D (@darrentill2) September 9, 2022
For those asking, Khamzat wasn’t fined for missing weight. He’s in a new bout at a catchweight and he made that weight. So fines for Dawodu and Barnett because they missed weight and are fighting same opponent. Khamzat is fighting a 180-pound catchweight, so no fine. #UFC279
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) September 9, 2022
Fight sports are, quite frankly, insane. Even more so when we go through all this bullshit about matchmaking and bout agreements and promo and then the day before the fight it’s like, eh but what if we just put all of you in a jar and shake it up? We must love chaos or something.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) September 9, 2022
I think there should be a promotion that has like 12 guys in one weight all scheduled to fight but they don't know who their opponent will be. They make weight then draw names to see who gets matched up. Then we see who is really a fighter, who can fight whoever without prep
— David Michaud (@bulldawg_170) September 9, 2022
279 is honestly better now
— Fabio Cherant (@Buffalomma8) September 9, 2022
A better card than we started with. Yet again the UFC slips on a banana peel, lands with one foot in a roller-skate, slides across the room, flips out an open window and plummets six stories before landing safely on a big pile of money. I hope all the fighters got PAID. https://t.co/yelGgmhZL3
— Chad Dundas (@chaddundas) September 9, 2022
Matt Brown and MacMally
I have to admit, there's a sense of relief with this whole mess. Felt a bit uneasy with Nate Diaz facing Khamzat, and Tony Ferguson vs. "The Leech." Tough fights for them.
Diaz vs. Ferguson was the move all along. And it came together under the wildest circumstances. #UFC279
— Danny Segura (@dannyseguratv) September 9, 2022
They actually did the right thing. Thank fucking god
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) September 9, 2022
Do you think Khamzat’s stock dropped at all after everything that’s happened?
Cancelled press conference, completely botched weight cut, etc
— Randy Costa (@RandyCosta135) September 10, 2022
Nate and Tony last of the real…
Barstool fat rainbow hair nonsense overweight good riddance after this
— Al Iaquinta🗽 (@ALIAQUINTA) September 10, 2022