In one of the craziest days in UFC history, the organization has been forced to completely rearrange the entire UFC 279 card to organize three new fights on short notice.

In a sensational twist following last night’s backstage brawl at the UFC 279 press conference, headliner and undefeated star Khamzat Chimaev dropped a whopping 7.5 pounds for his main event with Nate Diaz.

Chimaev laughed and said “not too bad” as he tipped the scales at 178.5 pounds, after being forced by medical staff to stop cutting weight for health reasons.

The overall welterweight bout was subsequently scrapped. The UFC scrambled to rearrange the UFC 279 card at the last minute and ended up organizing three new bouts — announcing them five hours after the weigh-ins.

“It’s been one hell of a night and one hell of a morning here,” UFC boss Dana White began his announcement of the new card.

But, he added, “It literally couldn’t have played out any better,” given the incredible new matches that were organized at the last minute.

Watch UFC 279: Diaz v Ferguson LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 11 September from 12pm AEST. ORDER NOW >


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White announced that Diaz will instead fight Tony Ferguson in a five-round welterweight main event, with the popular Ferguson set to make his 170-pound debut against Li Jingliang.

Jingliang and Ferguson successfully weighed in at 170.5 and 171 pounds respectively, while Diaz came in at 171 pounds – right on the one pound mark.

The UFC had been in talks for Diaz to fight former lightweight champion and #2 lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, who tweeted a photo of himself on a personal scale weighing 176.6 pounds, with reports that he had agreed to to fly in for a late notice catchweight bout. .

But White instead managed to wrangle Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz into accepting a deal to fight as the headliner.

Undefeated Chimaev will instead fight (23-7) Kevin Holland at a 180-pound catchweight, with Holland weighing in at 179.5 pounds for his scheduled bout against Daniel Rodriguez (already set at a 180-pound catchweight).

Chimaev and Holland have plenty of history, which led to Chimaev kicking the American in the chest yesterday. The fight will be a five-round co-main event.

Chimaev, as usual, was given an extra hour to try to make the weight, but did not attempt it as he was far from the limit. White stated that Chimaev had been suffering from cramps due to his weight loss and had been ordered by a doctor not to continue cutting, leading to his significant miss.

Rodriguez will now fight Li Jingliang (also at a 180-pound catchweight), despite Rodriguez weighing over eight pounds higher at 179 pounds to Jingliang’s 170.5.

Two other fighters also missed the weight, featherweight Hakeem Dawodu, who made the 149.5-pound limit, and heavyweight Chris Barnett, who missed the 267.5-pound limit.

Barnett becomes just the second UFC fighter ever to make it over the heavyweight limit, joining Justin Tafa.

“What a complete and utter disaster,” USA Today’s Mike Bohn tweeted after Chimaev’s missed cut. “Smiling and shrugging doesn’t help Khamzat’s case here either.”


Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson (Welterweight)

Khamzat Chimaev v Kevin Holland (180 lb catchweight)

Li Jingliang vs. Daniel Rodriguez (180 lb catchweight)



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