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UFC 279 Staff Picks: Chimaev vs. Diaz

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UFC 279: Chimaev vs. Diaz is almost here which means it’s time for our official Overtime Heroics MMA UFC 279 Staff Picks! Our writers and editors have all picked their winners for the main card, and it’s round nine of our yearlong competition to see who comes out on top!

UFC 279 Main Card

UFC 279 is scheduled for September 10th, 2022, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Co-Main & Main Event

In the co-main event, Tony Ferguson (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) returns to Welterweight for the first time since winning The Ultimate Fighter 13 in June of 2011. ‘El Cucuy’ is at a crossroads of sorts, going (0-4) in his last four contests. It has been over three years since Ferguson last won inside the octagon, a ‘new’ weight class and not having to cut so much weight could prove to be fruitful for the once interim-Lightweight champ. Ferguson last fought at UFC 274 vs. Michael Chandler in May of this year-losing by KO in the second round.

Awaiting Ferguson in his return to Welterweight is number 14 ranked Welterweight-Li Jingliang (19-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC) is (2-2) in his last four contests. ‘The Leech’ was last seen in the Octagon in July this year-defeating Muslim Salikhov by TKO in the second round.

In the main event, a ‘Stockton Gangster’ meets a ‘Chechen Gangster’ as Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev headline UFC 279. It is worth noting that this is the final fight on Diaz’s contract.

Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC) is (1-2) in his last three contests with his last win coming against Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in August of 2019, winning by decision. Diaz’s last outing was against Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in June of 2021, losing by decision in a five-round contest. This will mark the seventh time that Diaz has been scheduled for a five-round fight. Diaz could be looking to stun MMA fans around the world by handing Chimaev the first loss of his career and halting the hype train. This wouldn’t be the first time Diaz has shaken up the MMA landscape, look at UFC 196 vs. Conor McGregor-“I’m not surprised.” Of Diaz’s 20 wins, five have come by KO/TKO and 11 by submission.

Undefeated in his career, Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) has wasted no time since entering the world leader of MMA. Debuting in July of 2020, Chimaev defeated John Phillips by submission in the second round and just ten days later, Chimaev had a short night in the office by defeating Rhys McKee by TKO in the very first round. ‘Borz’ next faced Gerald Meerschaert in September of 2020, making quick work of Meerschaert-winning by KO 17 seconds into the first round, following the quick win for Chimaev was Li Jingliang in which the Swedish fighter won by submission yet again in the first round.

Chimaev’s last contest was against current #4 ranked Welterweight-Gilbert Burns in a three-round war that Chimaev won by decision at UFC 273 in April of this year, the contest was the first time that Chimaev went a full three rounds. The main event this Saturday will mark the first time that Chimaev will compete in a scheduled five-round fight. It is worth adding that the last two men to defeat Diaz (Edwards, and Jorge Masvidal) received title shots after their respective wins, Chimaev will be looking to do the same this Saturday. Of Chimaev’s 11 wins, six have come by KO/TKO and four by submission.

UFC 279 Staff Picks

WriterChimaev
vs.
Diaz
Jingliang
vs.
Ferguson
Holland
vs.
Rodriguez
Aldana
vs.
Chiasson
Walker
vs.
Cutelaba
Austin
Marr

(22-15)
ChimaevJingliangHollandAldanaCutelaba
Bruno
Dacanay

(17-5)
ChimaevJingliangRodriguezAldanaWalker
Craig
Pekios

(26-11)
ChimaevJingliangHollandChiassonWalker
Tom
Kowalsky

(14-9)
ChimaevJingliangHollandAldanaWalker
Brent
Dolan

(15-12)
ChimaevJingliangRodriguezChiassonWalker
Killian
Jauch

(12-10)
ChimaevJingliangHollandAldanaWalker
Justin
Gibbons

(7-11)
DiazFergusonRodriguezChiassonCutelaba
Jordan
Wright

(10-4)
ChimaevJingliangHollandAldana Cutelaba

Our staff is almost (Justin Gibbons, cough-cough) completely riding with the big favorite-Khamzat Chimaev over Nate Diaz, but anything can happen when the cage door locks. How do you think our UFC 279 Staff Picks will play out? Let us know in the comments!

main image credits:

Embed from Getty Images

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