Monday, August 15, 2022

UFC 279 fight card: Nate Diaz, Khamzat Chimaev verbally agree to main event bout in September

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After months of publicly demanding the UFC grant him the final fight on his contract, Nick Diaz has a date for his next fight. UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell tells ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev have verbally agreed to battle in the welterweight main event of UFC 279, which takes place Sept. 10 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Diaz, one of the UFC’s most popular fighters, was recently reported to not only have just one fight remaining on his contract, but that the contract was set to expire in October. Diaz was recently interviewed on “The MMA Hour” where he accused the promotion of holding him hostage, saying the UFC had offered him fights but always attached to a contract extension. Instead, he was looking to fight out his deal and move on to the post-UFC stage of his career.

Already a fighter with solid name value, in part due to being the brother of longtime UFC veteran Nick Diaz, as well as the winner of season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Diaz’s stock rose considerably in 2016 when he stepped up on short notice and handed Conor McGregor his first loss in the UFC.

Diaz went on to lose the rematch to McGregor by narrow decision later in that year and many have thought the UFC had an ultimate goal of a rubber match between the pair. That never materialized, however, and Diaz has gone just 1-2 since. He has, however, repeatedly called for a bout with Chimaev throughout 2022.

Chimaev has been one of the UFC’s fastest-rising stars. Debuting with a dominant submission over John Phillips in July 2020, Chimaev fought again just 10 days later with an even more impressive victory over Rhys McKee. In his first four fights in the UFC, where Chimaev alternated between competing in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, he took only one combined significant strike.

This past April, Chimaev took his biggest step up to date when he faced former title contender Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. The back-and-forth war ultimately went Chimaev’s way when he took a unanimous decision victory, but not without some scary moments in the bout.

“I am going to handle Nate Diaz’s funeral with the UFC,” Chimaev told Okomoto via a representative.

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