The main event of UFC 279 features a welterweight showdown that pits a fast-growing dominant force against a fan-favorite veteran with a southpaw sense.
Since his arrival on the UFC scene, there has been a ton of speculation about Khamzat Chimaev’s skills.
Despite coming from a wrestling background, Chimaev seems comfortable striking from both positions. The Chechen fighter can fire quick shots from either side, which in turn helps him follow up with powerful shots.
Unless his opponent has a decent grappling pedigree, Chimaev usually wastes little time extending strike exchanges before looking to change levels and grappling. However, in recent outings, we’ve seen Chimaev play a bit more with open looks on his feet.
Whether he’s throwing his favorite front kick or looking to field a mean right hand, Chimaev seems to take a liking to open business (which makes sense given his time with famed southpaw Darren Till). ).
While those looks will likely come in handy this Saturday, Chimaev will still have to put on his best behavior against a crafty vet like Nate Diaz.
Under the tutelage of Richard Perez (who is also Nick Diaz’s boxing trainer), we’ve seen the younger Diaz brother steadily hone his skills over the years.
Firing jab-cross continuums with the snap of a coiled cobra, Diaz will compensate for slamming rhythms, disrupting a fighter’s timing and subsequent approach. Coupled with physical taunts and unapologetic mental warfare, Stockton’s own can subtly steal the momentum of a fight right from his opponent’s feet.
Boxing Diaz Tweeter:
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) June 7, 2021
Although Diaz has been relatively inactive in recent years, he’s tried to show us that his cult status isn’t the only thing that’s been growing.
Against Anthony Pettis, Diaz showed an awareness of the traditional defensive trappings associated with his boxing-centric stance, cleverly managing distance and changing positions in his approach (almost doing his own variation of the Thai walk by actively trying to pressure) . Diaz also managed to control the kicks a bit more than he usually does, which proved crucial being that he was able to injure Pettis’ foot early in the second round.
But leg kicks or not, it’s not uncommon to see Diaz take damage in a win or loss, as his style of pressure to the face doesn’t come without a cost.