The UFC has made it a habit to headline its pay-per-view cards with two or at least one championship fight. UFC 279 does not have a championship fight on the card, but it will feature one of their biggest stars and one of their upcoming stars in the Main Event.
UFC 279 is set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, on Sep 10. Nathan Diaz will fight out his UFC contract when he takes on rising star Khamzat Chimaev in a 5-round Main Event at welterweight. The UFC also has a great co-Main event with former UFC interim champ Tony Ferguson taking on Li Jingliang at welterweight.
Our betting experts look at these fights and share their betting predictions below.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nathan Diaz
Nathan Diaz is one of the top 5 superstars in the UFC, and fans will pack the T-Mobile Arena on September 10 as they know this could be the last time they see Nate Diaz fight in the UFC. Nate is set to fight out the final fight on his contract and, given his love-hate relationship with the UFC, could test free agency and move on.
The UFC decided to match him up with the wolf Khamzat Chimaev. Many UFC fans and fighters were very surprised with this match-up as they felt the UFC was throwing Nate to the Wolf and should have given the veteran an older opponent.
So it is no surprise that the bookmakers have the undefeated Chimaev as the huge betting favorite with odds of 1.08, while Nate is a massive underdog with odds of 8. Nate is no stranger to being an underdog as he surprised the world when he fought and beat Conor McGregor the first time they fought.
Chimaev has said that he had the option of waiting and fighting for the title, but when the UFC offered him, Nate Diaz, he could not turn it down as he wanted to have a fun fight and send Nate into retirement.
We know that Chimaev is the most dangerous in the first couple of rounds but can fade a bit as the fight goes on, and Nate usually starts slow but gets better as the fight continues. If Nate can survive the first two rounds, this fight will get interesting as Nate has a good ground game.
If Chimaev wins, he is guaranteed a title shot next. If Diaz wins, he will be in a better position to negotiate another contract with the UFC.
Nate is a fan favorite and will get much betting action as we approach this fight. However, it will be hard to bet against Chimaev, who has been unstoppable in the UFC. We will put our money on Chimaev.
Tony Ferguson vs. Li Jingliang
Tony Ferguson has decided to move up to welterweight and has accepted a fight against China’s Li ‘the Leech’ Jingliang. Ferguson had a string of losses at lightweight and was forced to move up to see if he could turn things around and return to his winning ways.
Ferguson has also moved his fight camp to Jackson Wink and hopes the holes in his game have been plugged. He has a tough challenge ahead of him as the Leech hits hard and can also take a punch. Bookmakers have the Leech as the betting favorite with odds of 1.36, while Ferguson is the underdog with odds of 3.25.
We expect this fight to be a dog fight as both fighters like to advance and be offensive. Ferguson should be stronger since he does not have to worry about cutting weight but is he in the right frame of mind to bounce back from those losses and make a run at middleweight?
We will put our money on the Leech to win by decision!
Other Exciting Fights To Watch Out For
Some of the other fights you should watch out for on this card include Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba at light heavyweight. This should be an exciting fight as both fighters are heavy hitters and like to stand and bang. The Moldavian Cutelaba is the betting favorite with odds of 1.57, while the Brazilian Walker has an odds of 2.5. We will back Walker to win this fight as we feel Cutelaba will run out of gas if the fight gets to the third round.
Watch out for 3 times US Boxing National champ Danyelle Wolf who makes her debut in the UFC against Norma Dumont. The bookmakers have Dumont as the favorite with odds of 1.3, while Wolf has odds of 3.5. We will back Wolf to win her debut fight in the UFC.