By Philip O’Connor
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Nate Diaz picked up a fourth-round victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 on Saturday, earning the final fight of his UFC contract in a wild bout that capped off an extraordinary week for the UFC. .
A backstage brawl cut short Thursday’s press conference, and the card was turned upside down on Friday morning when Khamzat Chimaev missed the welterweight limit for his proposed main event fight against Diaz.
The miss forced a reshuffle which saw Ferguson show up to meet Diaz while Chimaev faced Kevin Holland and Li Jingliang faced Daniel Rodriguez, but the rescheduled main event did not disappoint.
Diaz, 37, picked Ferguson for the first three rounds before grabbing a guillotine choke in the fourth to end the fight in front of a sold-out crowd at T-Mobil Arena.
The fan favorite from Stockton, Calif. opened a cut above Ferguson’s right eye in the second as his precise boxing began to tell.
Ferguson fired back, cutting Diaz’s lead leg to slow him down, but Diaz was still able to land his combinations to force his opponent back and he played with the crowd, wandering around the cage and leaning against her to take a break.
Ferguson fired for a fourth-round takedown, but Diaz, who submitted Conor McGregor to hand the Irishman his first UFC loss of 2016, wrapped his arm around Ferguson’s neck and dragged him to the ground to ensure victory.
“I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show these UFC fighters how to take control and own another sport.. I’m gonna go out there, take up another profession…and then I’ll be back here to get a UFC title,” Diaz said in the octagon.
Chechen-born Swede Chimaev was downright booed as he entered the octagon, but once the fight started he wasted no time, firing for a takedown and launching a series of furious fights that unfolded. ended in his favour.
The 28-year-old dominated Holland on the mat before securing victory by locking out a Darce choke and forcing his opponent to tap out at 2:13 in the first round, much to the annoyance of the crowd.
“I’m the most dangerous guy here. I come for everyone. I’m killing everyone, I’m going through everyone, no one can stop me! a defiant Chimaev roared in his post-fight interview as boos fell from the stands.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)