UFC 279 Report: Nate Diaz submits Tony Ferguson in the fourth round
On Saturday night, UFC 279 took place from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was a card that was altered drastically by last-minute changes, following a substantial weight miss by Khamzat Chimaev, who was scheduled to headline this card against Nate Diaz. Chimaev missed the welterweight limit by 7.5lbs, and as a result, the UFC shuffled around their top three fights to keep each fighter on the card. The card’s new main event saw Diaz face Tony Ferguson, in what marked Ferguson’s first welterweight bout since winning the Ultimate Fighter in 2011. Diaz’s original opponent, Khamzat Chimaev, instead fought Kevin Holland in a five-round catchweight bout, which was a sensible direction for the company to go in after a heated incident backstage between Chimaev and Holland at Thursday’s UFC press conference resulted in the presser ultimately being canceled. Holland’s original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, instead faced Ferguson’s original opponent, Li Jingliang, in a bout that Rodriguez had a near ten-pound advantage.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Jailton Almeida, Johnny Walker, Irene Aldana, and Nate Diaz. The announced attendance for this event was 19,125, with a total gate of $5.67 million.
*Yohan Lainesse def. Darian Weeks by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Elise Reed def. Melissa Martinez by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Alatengheili def. Chad Anheliger by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Norma Dumont def. Danyelle Wolf by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
*Chris Barnett def. Jake Collier by TKO at 2:24 of Round 2
*Denis Tiuliulin def. Jamie Pickett by TKO at 4:52 of Round 2
*Jailton Almeida def. Anton Turkalj by rear naked choke at 4:27 of Round 1
*Julian Erosa def. Hakeem Dawodu by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Johnny Walker def. Ion Cutelaba by rear naked choke at 4:37 of Round 1
*Irene Aldana def. Macy Chiasson by TKO at 2:21 of Round 3
*Daniel Rodriguez def. Li Jingliang by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Khamzat Chimaev def. Kevin Holland by D’Arce choke at 2:13 of Round 1
*Nate Diaz def. Tony Ferguson by guillotine choke at 2:52 of Round 4
DARIAN WEEKS (5-2, 170.5) VS YOHAN LAINESSE (8-1, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Lainesse found early success on the feet, landing numerous straight right hands. In response, Weeks began to fight more aggressively, and he was able to put Lainesse on the backfoot as a result. Despite this, Lainesse was able to remain a step ahead of Weeks by landing his shots before circling away from his opponent, leaving Weeks to chase him. At one point Weeks stomped on the left leg of Lainesse, which seemed to damage the leg, and one could argue that this was the most significant moment of the round. Still, I gave the edge in this opening round to Lainesse. 10-9 Lainesse.
Weeks landed a big left hook about a minute into the second round that brought Lainesse down to a knee, although it appeared as though his own momentum played the largest role in grounding him. Lainesse caught Weeks with a left hand of his own roughly a minute later, but it did not have the same effect, and Weeks decided to power forward and shoot for a takedown. He lifted Lainesse high into the air before slamming him down, but Lainesse was able to scramble to his feet. The commentators spent the remainder of the round debating whether this was a legitimate takedown or not, while Weeks continued to pressure forward, landing the bigger strikes while Lainesse attempted to circle away from him. 19-19.
Lainesse went on the attack to start the final round, but he quickly returned to circling the cage, and Weeks attempted to capitalize with a takedown. Lainesse defended the attempt, however a spent a considerable amount of time with his back to the cage. Lainesse switched stances and threw a pair of kicks to the body, while Weeks nearly caught Lainesse with a front kick to the face. It was a close competitive round, but I thought Weeks landed the more damaging strikes, all while constantly pressing the action. 29-28 Weeks.
WINNER: Yohan Lainesse by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
The final round was very close, so I was not surprised to see that the judges were split on the result. Personally, I thought that Weeks’ strikes were the more damaging ones, but there was very little to separate the fighters that weren’t subjective. Weeks pressured forward throughout the vast majority of the fight, and as a result, Lainesse spent the majority of the fight on the back foot, but he did a good job of countering strongly, keeping Weeks from getting too aggressive. Lainesse’s record now stands at 1-1 in the UFC.
MELISSA MARTINEZ (7-0, 113.5) VS ELISE REED (5-2, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
In the fight’s opening minute, Reed caught Martinez with a right hook that knocked Martinez to the ground. Martinez recovered quickly, and went on the attack, attempting to pull Reed in before landing her sharp counters. Eventually, Martinez opted to change levels and shoot for a takedown, but her attempt was defended by Reed, and the fighters wrestled against the cage. Reed nearly got Martinez down from this position, but Martinez was able to stay on her feet before creating separation. 10-9 Reed.
Martinez cracked Reed with a left hand as Reed went on the attack early in the second round. Martinez was able to slow Reed down quickly, leading the action while causing Reed to miss on a high percentage of her wilder strikes. Still, whenever Reed landed, she seemed to be landing with more power. It was a very tough round to score, but I gave the slight advantage to Martinez, based largely on her activity, but this round really could have been scored either way. 19-19.
They traded right hands to begin the final round. Martinez landed a heavy leg kick to the lead leg of Reed, and after realizing that Reed’s leg was damaged, she threw several more kicks to that led leg, until Reed was having difficulty walking on it. Martinez chose to close the distance, as she attempted to take Reed down near the cage. Reed defended the attempt before securing a takedown of her own, where she quickly took the back of Martinez. Reed was able to posture up and land solid shots, ending the round strongly. 29-28 Reed.
WINNER: Elise Reed by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Martinez brought the fight to Reed early, attempting to overwhelm her with activity. Reed was able to maintain her composure, and responded with heavy strikes, even dropping Martinez early in the fight. With the scorecards all tied up going into round three, the final five minutes would likely decide the bouts victor, and Martinez put herself in a great position to pull ahead in the round by heavily damaging the lead leg of Reed, but she made the poor decision of attempting a takedown after hurting her opponent, which resulted in Reed ultimately securing the takedown, as well as the victory. It was a tough result for Martinez, but still a solid showing for her UFC debut against someone with considerably more UFC experience in Elise Reed.
CHAD ANHELIGER (12-5, 135.5) VS ALATENGHEILI (15-8-2, 135) – BANTAMWEIGHT
The pace of the bout was a bit slow early, as both fighters looked to find an opening for their heavy right hands. One shot from Alatengheili sent Anheliger on the retreat, however, Anheliger was able to keep Alatengheili from getting overly aggressive by throwing a number of wild strikes Alatengheili’s way. As a result, Alatengheili fought patiently, waiting to land his next big shot, and when he eventually found the opening that he was looking for, Alatengheili rocked Anheliger again with another right hand. Anheliger was able to defend himself until time expired in the round, but this was very strong opening five minutes for Alatengheili. 10-9 Alatengheili.
Anheliger seemed to have recovered between rounds, and he was doing great work throughout the opening minutes of the second round. He attacked the body of Alatengheili, which was in turn, opening up Alatengheili’s head, allowing Anheliger to attack the head as well. Alatengheili fired back, and while he landed some heavy strikes, they were not quite as damaging as the shots he landed in the prior round. Still, the shots that Alatengheli landed were certainly the more damaging ones, and I gave the round to him as a result. 20-18 Alatengheili.
Alatengheili tripped Anheliger to the ground early in the final round, but ultimately allowed him to his feet. Anheliger was doing a good job of avoiding Alatengheili’s heavy shots, however, he was not landing a ton of his own offense either, as Alatengheili expertly slid out of range whenever Anheliger fired off on the attack. Alatengheili was able to take Anheliger down in the fight’s final minute and maintained top position until time expired. 30-27 Alatengheili.
WINNER: Alatengheili by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Alatengheili fought a great fight here, utilizing his physical advantages over Anheliger to great effect. Alatengheili appeared to be the quicker fighter, and there was no question about who had the power advantage, which he showcased by rocking Anheliger repeatedly in the first round. Anheliger fought a better fight as the bout progressed, but Alatengheili remained a step ahead of him, and was able to take all three rounds on each of the judge’s scorecards. Alatengheili’s UFC record now stands at 4-1-1.
NORMA DUMONT (7-2, 146) VS DANYELLE WOLF (1-0, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The pace of this round was very slow, as both fighters seemed somewhat hesitant to commit to their attacks. Dumont landed the first heavy shot of the round about three minutes into the bout, a right hand that caused Wolf to stumble back. Wolf began to fight with more aggression after this, but ultimately, there was very little to separate the two fighters. In the final seconds of the round, Dumont landed another heavy right hand, which may have been enough to secure what was a very close (and very uneventful) round. 10-9 Dumont.
The fighters traded lead hooks early in the second round. Dumont attacked the lead leg of Wolf, which prompted Wolf to flurry forward. This resulted in a clinch exchange that allowed Dumont to take Wolf to the ground. Wolf quickly escaped to her feet but was unable to create the separation she needed, and Dumont racked up a solid amount of control time by holding Wolf against the cage. With ninety seconds remaining in the round, the fighters broke apart, and Dumont rocked Wolf with a right hand. Instead of attempting to finish Wolf, Dumont opted to hold her up against the cage for some time, as the commentary team questioned her decision-making. In the final seconds of the round, the fighters broke apart once again, and Dumont dropped Wolf with one more heavy right hand. 20-17 Dumont.
Dumont was able to take Wolf to the ground just seconds into the final round, where she immediately began to work from half guard. Wolf was able to get Dumont off of her momentarily but was unable to return to her feet, and Dumont regained top position, now with Wolf pressed against the cage. Dumont mounted Wolf late in the round but was unable to secure the finish. 30-26 Dumont.
WINNER: Norma Dumont by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
While Wolf is an experienced boxer, she did not appear to be ready for this level of MMA (with only one professional bout to this point), and this became a very one-sided fight. Dumont was a step ahead of Wolf on the feet, doubling her up in terms of activity while rocking Wolf repeatedly, even dropping Wolf late in the second round. In the third round Dumont opted to take Wolf to the ground, and she was largely able to maintain top position until the round’s conclusion, as Wolf just didn’t have any answers for Dumont’s grappling. It was a dominant win for Dumont, although it’s tough to put too much weight into her performance considering her opponent’s experience level in the sport. Dumont’s UFC record now stands at 4-2.
JAKE COLLIER (13-7, 265) VS CHRIS BARNETT (22-8, 267.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Barnett missed weight by 1.5lbs, becoming the second heavyweight in UFC history to miss weight. He was fined 20% of his purse.
The two fighters immediately started brawling wildly, and Collier dropped Barnett in the exchange. Barnett returned to his feet, and the fighters continued to brawl wildly, as the fans in attendance voiced their appreciation. It was remarkable that both of these fighters managed to make it out of this wild exchange, but both men appeared to be quite tired roughly two minutes into this fight. Despite this, both fighters were still landing heavy blows, with Barnett seemingly being the fresher fighter. Collier eventually decided to change levels, and he successfully brought Barnett down with two minutes to work. Collier took Barnetts back and began to throw down strikes, and it seemed as though the fight was about to be stopped, but Collier went for a rear naked choke, and Barnett was able to survive the submission attempt, returning to his feet before time expired.
The doctor was brought in to check on Barnett between rounds, as there was significant swelling around his left eye. It was determined that Barnett could continue, and the fighters went right back to trading wild strikes to begin the second round. This time, it was Barnett who successfully took his opponent down (following an unsuccessful takedown from Collier), and he just started throwing down bombs from top position. Collier was given plenty of time to show the referee that he was defending himself but was ultimately unable to escape the position, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Chris Barnett by TKO at 2:24 of Round 2
This was a wild fight, and the crowd absolutely loved it. From the opening seconds of the bout, the fighters were trading hands, and it was Collier who seemed to be on the verge of victory early. He dropped Barnett in the opening exchange, and nearly finished him yet again towards the end of the round. Barnett had to be cleared by the doctor to come back and fight the second round, but he made the most of the opportunity and finished Collier in round two. This crowd loved Barnett, and he delivered a great post-fight speech, showcasing his charisma. Barnett’s UFC record improved to 2-2 with this win.
DENIS TIULIULIN (9-6, 1 NC, 186) VS JAMIE PICKETT (13-7, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
The fighters traded looping right hands until Pickett opted to shoot for a takedown. Tiuliulin was able to defend the attempt and caught Picket with a heavy right hand after they separated. Both men were landing strong shots, and it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before one of the fighters went down from one of these heavy blows. Eventually, Pickett did go down, but it was from a vicious kick that landed below the belt. Pickett recovered, and the fight resumed, with Tiuliulin continuing to attack the body with kicks until time expired.
Tiuliulin was really focusing on attacking the body of Pickett, and he was finding his target with almost every shot that he was throwing. A clinch exchange resulted in Tiuliulin landing a series of heavy right hands, which prompted Pickett to disengage and return to circling the cage. Roughly halfway through the round, Pickett was the victim of another brutal low blow, and this time, a point was deducted from Tiuliulin. Tiuliulin was furious, and when the right resumed, he went on the attack, with the clear intent of finishing Pickett. An elbow from Tiuliulin dropped Pickett, and while Pickett was able to pick himself back up, a big knee dropped Pickett once more. Tiuliulin followed him to the ground and finished the fight with ground and pound strikes.
WINNER: Denis Tiuliulin by TKO at 4:52 of Round 2
While the fight was quite competitive in the opening round, Tiuliulin began to pull ahead in the fight after he started digging into the body of Pickett. Attacking the body chipped away at Pickett’s output, which led to Tiuliulin fighting more aggressively in the second round. The point deduction seemed to be the tipping point for Tiuliulin, who began to hunt for the finish immediately afterward, which he quickly secured. It was a strong performance for Tiuliulin against an experienced UFC opponent, and promotionally improved to 1-1 following this win.
JAILTON ALMEIDA (16-2, 216.5) VS ANTON TURKALJ (8-0, 214) – CATCHWEIGHT
Almeida took Turkalj down just seconds into the fight, where he partially took the back of his opponent. Turkalj did a good job defensively but was repeatedly dragged back to the ground whenever he improved his positioning. Almeida threatened an arm triangle to move into full mount, and from there Almeida forced Turkalj to give up his back with ground and pound strikes, where he locked in the rear naked choke, forcing Turkalj to submit.
WINNER: Jailton Almeida by rear naked choke at 4:27 of Round 1
Almeida immediately secured the takedown, and patiently worked his way to the eventual finish. It was easy work for Almeida, who has looked dominant in all of his UFC bouts to this point. He is now 3-0 in the promotion, and he has dominated each of those men, finishing all three opponents in the first round. Light heavyweight is not a division filled with prospects, but Almeida has certainly looked like a fighter with a high ceiling in the division, and honestly, there are a number of ranked fighters I would already favor him to beat.
HAKEEM DAWODU (13-2-1, 149.5) VS JULIAN EROSA (27-9, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Dawodu missed weight by 3.5lbs and was fined 30% of his purse.
Erosa caught a kick from Dawodu early in the fight but was unable to trip Dawodu to the ground, as Dawodu showcased excellent balance. Dawodu connected with a strong leg kick before Erosa responded with a front kick to the body. Dawodu was working his jab and trying to fight a technical fight, but Erosa does his best work when things get a bit wild, and he was able to shift the momentum with a clinch exchange, tagging Dawodu with numerous uppercuts before rocking him with a right hand. Dawodu was hurt badly, and Erosa attempted to finish the fight, but Dawodu was able to stay on his feet, and weathered the storm for the remainder of the round, despite being badly rocked once more, right before time expired. 10-9 Erosa.
Dawodu connected with the first heavy shot of the second round, a strong lead elbow. Dawodu went back to working his jab, but Erosa opted to change levels, and successfully brought Dawodu to the ground. Dawodu attempted to pick himself up along the cage, but Erosa climbed up his back before dragging Dawodu back to the ground. Erosa couldn’t find the submission but landed a number of strong punches on the ground before Dawodu returned to his feet, and this was another strong round for Erosa. 20-18 Erosa.
Erosa was patient in the final round, knowing that he was up on the scorecards, and it would not be wise to take any unneeded risks. Dawodu was the advancing fighter, likely knowing that he was in need of a finish to win this fight. That opportunity did not come for Dawodu, as Erosa successfully brought him back to the ground, where he was able to keep Dawodu until the final seconds of the round. The fight went the distance, and I scored it 30-27 for Erosa.
WINNER: Julian Erosa by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Erosa was the underdog going into this bout, but largely dominated Dawodu here, who never seemed to fully recover from being rocked in the opening round. Erosa looked phenomenal throughout this fight, hurting Dawodu on the feet while securing rounds on the ground. Dawodu is a very well-rounded fighter, but Erosa was just a step ahead of him throughout this bout, and it never felt as though Dawodu had Erosa in any significant danger. Erosa is now 6-4 in the UFC, and he has won six of his last seven bouts.
JOHNNY WALKER (18-7, 205) VS ION CUTELABA (16-7-1, 1 NC, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Cutelaba opened up with a head kick, and Walker attempted to respond with one of his own, but Cutelaba caught the kick and dragged Walker to the ground, where he began to work from Walker’s guard. Cutelaba attempted an armbar and lost his position, allowing Walker to escape to his feet and secure a takedown of his own. Walker took the back of Cutelaba, where he began to look for a rear naked choke. Eventually, Walker locked in the choke, and Cutelaba was forced to submit.
WINNER: Johnny Walker by rear naked choke at 4:37 of Round 1
Johnny Walker celebrated by doing the worm across the cage, and this time, he did not injure himself in the process. This was a much-needed win for Walker after losing four of his last five fights, and he did it in an unexpected fashion, submitting Cutelaba, while most people would have expected him to win by knockout if he were to beat Cutelaba here. It was a great performance, and the crowd loved Walker and his antics, which served as a reminder of just how popular he is, as he has not fought in front of a live crowd since 2019. Walker’s UFC record now stands at 5-4, and each of those wins have come in the first round.
IRENE ALDANA (13-6, 137.5) VS MACY CHIASSON (8-2, 139.5) – CATCHWEIGHT
Chiasson shot for a takedown early, but Aldana was able to defend the attempt. They traded shots along the cage before separating, where Aldana was able to defend the remainder of Chiasson’s takedown attempts throughout the round. Aldana had a clear advantage in power, although neither fighter had overwhelming output. In the final minute of the round, Aldana countered a takedown attempt with an armbar, but Chiasson was somehow able to escape the submission and made it out of the round.
Chiasson began the second round aggressively, looking to make up ground after nearly being finished at the end of round one. Chiasson took Aldana down against the cage, but Aldana immediately threatened a leg lock, allowing her to move into top position. Aldana did not let go of the leg, which allowed Chiasson to take her back with half of the round remaining. Chiasson began to work for a rear naked choke, landing numerous elbows in an attempt to force Aldana to make a mistake, but Aldana was able to hold on until time expired in the round.
Early in the third round, Chiasson took Aldana down once again, but Aldana was able to throw a vicious up kick to the body of Chiasson, and her heel landed hard. Chiasson collapsed to the ground in pain, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Irene Aldana by TKO at 2:21 of Round 3
This was one of the most unique finishes in recent memory, and the crowd had no idea how to react. I was puzzled myself when Chiasson went down, but the replay showed that Aldana threw an up-kick to the body, and her heel really dug into Chiasson, just shutting her down. Honestly, just in terms of rarity, this has to be considered one of the best finishes of the year, and it came when Aldana needed it most, as momentum had shifted towards Chiasson in the bout. Aldana has now won four of her last five bouts and stopped three of those opponents with strikes.
LI JINGLIANG (19-7, 170.5) VS DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (16-2, 179) – CATCHWEIGHT
Rodriguez connected with a pair of heavy left hands early in the fight, both knocking Li’s head back after connecting. Li was active with kicks, and began to attack the body as well as the round progressed. Rodriguez clearly had the advantage in power, but Li was doing his best to create his own offense despite this and did not seem to fear Rodriguez’s power in response, even as Rodriguez landed powerful blows. At one point Li was able to kick Rodriguez’s leg out from under him, and he continued to beat up that lead leg as Rodriguez picked himself up. Close round. 10-9 Li.
Li was taunting Rodriguez in the cage, playing to the crowd. He was swinging with some heavy punches, however, most of these bigger shots were missing their target, and instead, he found the majority of his success with his continued attacks to the lead leg and body of Rodriguez. The crowd was not enjoying this fight and letting the competitors know, but I did not personally think this was a particularly slow-paced bout. That being said, the activity was not quite there for Rodriguez, and it felt as though Li was starting to pull ahead, based largely on his own activity. A big shot from Li knocked Rodriguez back, but if Rodriguez was rocked, he recovered quickly. The round ended as Li caught a head kick attempt, tripping Rodriguez to the ground. 20-18 Li.
The third round was very competitive, with both fighters knowing that this was anybody’s fight. Li remained the busier fighter, but Rodriguez appeared to have the edge in terms of activity, and he was certainly landing more shots to the head than Li, who found more success whenever he attacked the legs and body. It was a very close round, but I gave the slight edge to Rodriguez. 29-28 Li.
WINNER: Daniel Rodriguez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
The crowd did not enjoy this fight, but I thought it was largely a good bout, although it admittedly slowed down in round three. Li brought the fight to Rodriguez despite Rodriguez’s considerable size advantage but had a tough time landing shots to the head of Rodriguez, which forced him to focus on attacking the legs and body instead. Both fighters deserve credit, considering they thought they were facing entirely different opponents just 36 hours ago, especially Li, who was planning to face a considerably smaller man with a considerably bigger name in Tony Ferguson and ultimately found himself losing a split decision to a fighter at a higher weight class. Rodriguez improved to 7-1 in the UFC with this win.
KHAMZAT CHIMAEV (11-0, 178.5) VS KEVIN HOLLAND (23-7, 1 NC, 179.5) – CATCHWEIGHT
Chimaev and Holland touched gloves to begin the fight. Chimaev took Holland down just seconds into the bout, where he began to work from Holland’s guard. Holland escaped to his feet, but was quickly dragged back down, where Chimaev started to look for a D’Arce choke. Holland did his best to escape the submission, but eventually, he was forced to submit.
WINNER: Khamzat Chimaev by D’Arce choke at 2:13 of Round 1
Chimaev was expected to win this fight in decisive fashion, and that’s exactly how the fight played out. Wrestling had never been Holland’s greatest strength, and Chimaev took advantage of that, not giving the slightest thought to standing with Holland here. Holland attempted to create wild scrambles to escape from under Chimaev, but Chimaev was always a step ahead of him, and it did not take him long to sink in the fight ending D’Arce choke. Chimaev was not popular with this crowd, and he did very little to endear himself to them when Joe Rogan questioned him on his drastic weight miss, and Chimaev’s answers were not to satisfaction. Regardless of his current popularity, Chimaev remains one of the top contenders at welterweight, and his next bout should be against another one of the top fighters in the division. Obviously, his ability to safely make weight will be in question after missing by nearly ten pounds here, but if he can pick up a win at 170lbs in his next bout, he will likely find himself next in line for a shot at UFC gold.
NATE DIAZ (20-13, 171) VS TONY FERGUSON (25-7, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
The fighters did not touch gloves to begin the main event. Diaz immediately pressured forward but was caught by a spinning elbow from Ferguson. An early leg kick was checked, and Ferguson was bleeding heavily from his shin as a result. Both fighters were missing on their bigger strikes, as Ferguson was really lunging in, allowing Diaz to evade, however, his unique movement wasn’t giving Diaz an opportunity to counter. Diaz landed a few strong left hands before the fighters traded strong leg kicks. A competitive opening round, but I thought Diaz landed the stronger shots.
Diaz began round two with a hard leg kick, which he followed up with a straight left hand. Ferguson responded with a strong combination, ending with a hard right hand that found its target. Ferguson landed an uppercut mid-combination, and he really started to beat up the lead leg of Nate Diaz. A shot from Diaz opened up a cut near the right eye of Ferguson, and he was likely having trouble seeing from that eye as a result. Diaz began to pressure forward after landing a one-two, but the leg kicks from Ferguson kept Diaz from getting overly aggressive. The fighters exchanged words after the round ended.
Diaz’s lead leg was looking rough by the start of round three, and Ferguson continued to attack it. At one point Diaz just started walking away from Ferguson, seemingly displaying disinterest in continuing the fight as Ferguson accused him of running away. Diaz began to pour on the pressure as he attempted to reduce the distance between the fighters, finding success whenever he really chained together his combinations. Ferguson’s body language wasn’t great whenever Diaz was tagging him, but Diaz’s leg was clearly compromised, which was dangerous for him going into the final ten minutes of the fight.
Diaz landed a left hand roughly ninety seconds into the fourth round that caused Ferguson to stumble, and he went on the attack in an attempt to finish him. Ferguson shot for a takedown in response, but Diaz caught him with a guillotine on his way in, and Ferguson was forced to submit.
WINNER: Nate Diaz by guillotine choke at 2:52 of Round 4
This was a strange, fun fight, just as you would likely expect between these two fighters. Ferguson did a ton of damage with his leg kicks, but Diaz’s pace wore on him, and he did not look like a fighter who was prepared for a five-round fight, which is unsurprising considering that he accepted a three-round fight against Li Jingliang on roughly three-weeks notice, and suddenly found himself fighting a five-round fight against Nate Diaz on a day’s notice. Still, while it was a competitive fight, I had Diaz ahead on my scorecard prior to the finish and was largely impressed with his overall performance regardless of the circumstances surrounding this fight coming together. After the fight, Diaz expressed his interest in leaving the UFC (this was the last fight on his contract), jumping into another combat sport, and ultimately returning to the UFC to become a champion. Nate Diaz is an unpredictable man, but I do think that it’s a fair bet that his next bout will not come in the UFC, and there is really no shortage of options for him outside of the promotion.