Fight week for UFC 279 has not gone according to plan, but after a wild 24 hours that saw a backstage brawl cancel Thursday’s presser and Khamzat Chimaev miss weight by 7.5 pounds on Friday for the main event, Tony Ferguson (26-8) and Diaz (22-13) took center stage in the main event from Las Vegas. After a back-and-forth affair, it was Diaz who ended his UFC tenure with a submission victory in true Diaz fashion, celebrating on his back while earning the tap.
After the win, Diaz mentioned he’d like to take some time away from UFC before returning to win a belt.
Nate Diaz says he wants to get out of the UFC “for a minute” and show other fighters how it’s done. Says Conor McGregor couldn’t do it. Then says he wants to return to the UFC to win a belt.Advertisement
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) September 11, 2022
Diaz came firing right out of the gate with a slew of shots and Ferguson responded with a big spinning elbow that slowed his opponent. From there, the pace normalized as the two fighters worked their way into the bout. With about a minute remaining in the round, Diaz let his hands fly, getting the crowd on their feet with a nice combination as he pushed Ferguson against the cage. The end of the round saw Ferguson’s corner ignore his shin, after a it was gushing blood following a checked kick from Diaz.
In the second, Ferguson stung Diaz with a nice one-two combination that sent Diaz retreating briefly. Ferguson was the aggressor for the first half of the second, but it was Diaz who began to find his range later in the round, opening a cut on Ferguson’s right eye. Ferguson chipped away at Diaz’s inside leg over and again, causing him to protect himself from the slicing kicks late in the round.
The third saw Diaz take a stroll around the Octagon mid-fight before coming back to attack Ferguson. Ferguson went back to Diaz’s legs with stinging kicks, while Diaz continued to pick apart Ferguson’s face. In between standing and posing for the crowd, Diaz continued to do damage, landing jabs and overhands with ease.
After another dominant round for Diaz, Ferguson tried to get back into the fight with more precise leg kicks, bruising Diaz’s inner leg. Diaz went to work with big shots again in the third before Ferguson went for a takedown. On the ground, Diaz locked in a guillotine and celebrated from his back while earning the submission.
The fight marks the end of Diaz’s current contract with the UFC, and likely the end of his tenure in the promotion.
For Ferguson, his main event appearance comes despite four consecutive losses dating back to 2020, including knockouts at the hands of Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje.