Tony Ferguson (right) is favored in the UFC 279 odds against Nate Diaz (left).

UFC 279 Odds & Picks: Ferguson Favored In New Main Event

There are events with championship impact, and then there are fight cards constructed purely for the amusement of fans. UFC 279 is very clearly the latter.

Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) was going to be putting his unbeaten pro record on the line against Nate Diaz (20-13), one of the most beloved mixed martial artists of all time, in a five-round welterweight main event Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Early prelim action begins at 6 p.m. ET, with the main card starting at 10 p.m.

Unfortunately. controversy ramped up at the weigh-ins on Friday, where Chimaev came in at 178.5 pounds, 7.5 pounds overweight. The chaotic development has the entire main card in flux.

Khamzat didn't end up making weight and the card was put in a blender from there with the new main event seeing longtime longtime lightweight Tony Ferguson stepping up to the main event spot across from Diaz, while Chimaev slides down to the co-main event to fight Kevin Holland. Holland's opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, is fighting Tony Ferguson's previously scheduled counterpart -- Li Jingliang. Clear as mud?

Sportsbook the updated UFC 279 odds with Ferguson favored in the main event.

You can check out UFC odds, among other betting markets, at Sportsbook. We also have you covered with UFC news and our best betting sites.

UFC 279 Betting Notes

Thankfully for the UFC, Ferguson was stepping up to the welterweight division for this card so sliding into the main event works out perfectly. "El Cucuy" finds himself on a four-fight losing skid, the first time he has lost consecutive fights in his 32-fight career.

Similarly for Diaz, the 37-year-old made his Octagon debut way back in 2007 and is at the end of his rope in the UFC. The fight game hasn’t been kind to Diaz lately, as he’s fought just four times since losing to Conor McGregor at UFC 202. The southpaw is 1-2 in his last three fights, with his latest loss coming against Leon Edwards, the current welterweight champ, in a bout Diaz entered as a +350 underdog.

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UFC 279:  Diaz vs Ferguson Odds

Online sportsbook Sportsbook lists Ferguson as a slight -130 favorite, while Diaz enters as a +110 underdog. 

The biggest underdog of the entire card is the prelim bout between Anton Turkalj and Jailton Almeida, where Turkalj is a +500 underdog. 

The very first bout of the evening features the card’s tightest odds, where welterweights Darian Weeks (-120) and Yohan Lainesse (EVEN) will try to start things off with a bang.

UFC 279 Betting Odds & Fight Card

UFC 279 Betting Lines And Fight Card
  • Main Card
  • Welterweight – Nate Diaz (+110) vs Tony Ferguson (-130)
  • Welterweight – Khamzat Chimaev (-600) vs Kevin Holland (+425)
  • Catchweight – Li Jingliang (+135) vs Daniel Rodriguez (-155)
  • Women’s Bantamweight – Irene Aldana (-162) vs Macy Chiasson (+142)
  • Light Heavyweight – Ion Cutelaba (-220) vs Johnny Walker (+185)
  • Prelims
  • Featherweight – Hakeem Dawodu (-220) vs Julian Erosa (+185)
  • Catchweight – Jailton Almeida (-700) vs Anton Turkalj (+500)
  • Middleweight – Jamie Pickett (-128) vs Denis Tiuliulin (+108)
  • Heavyweight – Jake Collier (-500) vs Chris Barnett (+375)
  • Women’s Featherweight – Norma Dumont (-425) vs Danyelle Wolf (+325)
  • Bantamweight – Heili Alateng (-158) vs Chad Anheliger (+138)
  • Women’s Strawweight – Melissa Martinez (-175) vs Elise Reed (+150)
  • Welterweight – Darian Weeks (-116) vs Yohan Lainesse (-104)

Odds as of September 10 via Sportsbook

UFC 279: Diaz vs Ferguson Broadcast Information
  • Date/Time: September 10, 6 p.m. ET
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Arena: T-Mobile Arena
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+, PPV

Nate Diaz vs Tony Ferguson Odds & Pick

Nate Diaz+110
Tony Ferguson-130

Sportsbooks don’t love Diaz. That said, this is a much more digestible line compared the +700 odds he was staring down had he taken on Chimaev. The California native has been the underdog in eight consecutive fights, and his last chalk status came in 2013 when he lost to Josh Thomson via stoppage in Round 2. 

Meanwhile, those eager to play Ferguson as a dog against the Leech may be disappointed to see as the chalk in his promotion to the main event. El Cucuy was the betting favorite when he fought Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 in 2020. 

Diaz: Need to Knows
  • Diaz has only been finished three times in his pro career, compared to 10 decision losses. He’s easy to beat on the scorecard, easy to cut (thanks to his notoriously fragile facial scar tissue), but hard to squash fully. Diaz is pesky like a fly, both in attitude and strategy in the Octagon. In his last fight vs Edwards, he hung around just long enough to figure out the Englishman and tag him badly in the dying minutes.
  • Keeping with Diaz’s pesky style, his southpaw orientation might cause some trouble for Ferguson. The Stockton native is famous for a sloppy, loose style of fighting, which builds his “gangster” reputation, but also makes opponents’ eyes light up. Diaz will keep a low guard, almost begging fighters to drill him. If Ferguson wants to step into the attacking zone, Diaz can land a quick jab to keep him at bay. The 37-year-old does similar things on the ground, too, sometimes hanging out in half guard before baiting opponents into a submission.
  • The last four fighters to defeat Diaz have all received title shots immediately after defeating him (Edwards, Jorge Masvidal, Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos). Ferguson is highly unlikely to slide into a championship so this could be a great opportunity for 209's gangster to leave the UFC with a win.
  • Diaz’s last three fights have come against Edwards (loss – unanimous decision), Masvidal (loss – doctor stoppage) and Anthony Pettis (win – unanimous decision). 
Ferguson: Need to Knows
  • The last two years have been tragic for Ferguson, as well as all his fans who’ve followed the beloved bogeyman since his days on the Ultimate Fighter. El Cucu” has lost four straight fights, including two by stoppage, which has raised concerns about how much the 38-year-old has left in the tank. Ferguson’s decline was initially a gradual slope until Michael Chandler viciously put his lights out with an iron front kick at UFC 274.
  • Of note, this fight represents Ferguson’s return to welterweight for the first time since his Ultimate Fighter days in 2011. The move to 170 pounds is part of a general “refresh” strategy for Tony, who’s switched gyms with the hope of rediscovering himself. The thinking is that the up in weight should help his durability, where he’ll face some unfamiliar opponents who’ve yet to engage with his awkward, rangy style of fighting. 
  • Ferguson’s last three fights were against Chandler (loss – knockout), Beneil Dariush (loss – unanimous decision) and Charles Oliveira (loss – unanimous decision). 

Pick: Ferguson by KO/TKO (+235); UNDER 4.5 Rounds (-110)

Bet On Diaz vs Ferguson Odds Here

Khamzat Chimaev vs Kevin Holland Odds & Pick

Khamzat Chimaev-600
Kevin Holland+425

Kevin Holland (23-7) will square off against Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) in a catchweight bout at 180 pounds in the co-main event. These two had some beef in the fighter's hotel at an event last year and that animosity continued ahead of the UFC 279 press conference in which the two had an altercation that canceled the event. Expect fireworks when the cage door closes.

Chimaev: Need to Knows
  • The 28-year-old is coming off a fight vs Burns at UFC 273 in which he was pushed to his limits … and succeeded. The Brazilian brutalized Chimaev, pushing him past the second round for the first time in his career. We saw Khamzat get hurt but persevere. His wrestling, his endurance and his striking all held up.
  • Chimaev is likely to have a significant size advantage in this fight despite Holland fighting at 185 at the beginning of his UFC career. Last year, in an interview with ESPN, "Borz" revealed he got his “walking around” weight as high as 205 pounds, though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Chimaev is much more imposing than the slender Holland.
  • Given the size discrepancy, expect Chimaev to throw punches with more power and smother Holland in wrestling exchanges. 
  • The Wolf may not need to level change in this bout, but if he does, he should have no problem securing a takedown in this fight. The American is not great at defending takedowns (66%). While some of that ugly percentage comes from being comfortable fighting off his back, Diaz may find himself powerless against Chimaev’s bull-like forward momentum. If Holland manages to clip Khamzat with a shot, the Chechen can comfortably transition toward the ground without the fear of a vulnerable position coming from a denial. 
  • Chimaev’s last three fights were against Burns (win – unanimous decision), Jingliang Li (win – submission) and Gerald Meerschaert (win – knockout). 
Holland: Need to Knows
  • Holland vs Chimaev could turn into utter madness very quickly. Both fighters have finish rates above 75 percent, and neither man is known to back down from a war in the cage. How the two men manage their energy, however, will be key. The 29-year-old has a knack for impulse fighting, either choosing to waltz into his opponent’s wheelhouse or getting distracted by trash-talking or making a statement. Over his last two fights (both wins), we’ve seen “Big Mouth” mature a little bit. He appears more patient, which is exactly how he’ll have to be vs Chimaev, a fighter who is all-out aggression mixed with outstanding talent.
  • Khamzat has tremendous wrestling skills and we saw Marvin Vettori control Holland on the floor at UFC Vegas 23. The Italian, who is far stockier than Kevin, would bull-rush in, grab hands, then throw heavy shots. This is where Holland’s speed will play in. He snapped off lightning-fast right hands vs Vettori, who shook off the shots thanks to his iron chin. Will Chimaev walk through these strikes or could he be affected by missing weight?
  • Holland’s last three fights were against Means (win – submission), Alex Oliveira (win – technical knockout) and Kyle Daukaus (no contest – accidental headbutt). 

Pick: Chimaev Inside The Distance (+140)

Li Jingliang vs Daniel Rodriguez Odds & Pick

Li Jingliang+135
Daniel Rodriguez-155

The feature bout of the night is a catchweight clash between Jingliang Li (19-7) and Daniel Rodriguez (16-2).

Jingliang is 2-2 in his last four but won his last bout vs Muslim Salikhov by second-round knockout. Rodriguez is riding a three-fight winning streak and 12 of his last 13 with only a decision loss to Nicolas Dalby at UFC 255 breaking up the run.

Jingliang: Need to Knows
  • Jingliang has one-punch knockout power, which should be entertaining going against another power puncher in Rodriguez. “The Leech” has very heavy left and right hands, he can use the occasional hook kick and he loves to jump into his opponent’s grill with explosive power shots (see his KO over Muslim Salikhov). It’s hard to find a welterweight who’s more dangerous in the pocket than Jingliang.
  • Jingliang will be at a weight disadvantage in this one with Rodriguez missing weight so he may have need to use a lot of footwork and pace to take control later in the bout. The Leech does nice work in the clinch but closing the distance puts him in big danger.
  • Jingliang’s last three fights were against Salikhov (win – technical knockout), Chimaev (loss – submission) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (win – knockout). 
Rodriguez: Need to Knows
  • “D-Rod” has a boulder-like physique and moves with a cautious composure in the Octagon, but when he unloads, he does serious damage. The left hand is a big weapon for the sturdy southpaw, as are the tree-chopping leg kicks he so often unloads to compromise his opponent’s base. Those two ingredients helped him defeat his last foe, Kevin Lee, and will be critical to any success he has against Jingliang
  • Rodriguez has an exceptional output of over eight significant strikes landed per minute but it should be interesting if missing weight will have any impact on his output. The California native was taken down three times in his last bout and five times over his last three bouts but ultimately does stuff 76 percent of attempts so the Leech may have some difficulties getting this fight horizontal. 
  • Rodriguez's last three fights came against Lee (win – unanimous decision), Preston Parson (win – technical knockout) and Mike Perry (win – decision).

Pick: Rodriguez By Decision (+145)

Irene Aldana vs Macy Chiasson Odds & Pick

Irene Aldana-162
Macy Chiasson+142

In the only women’s event on the main card, bantamweights Irene Aldana (13-6) and Macy Chiasson (8-2) will chuck knuckles for a possible three rounds.  

Chiasson: Need to Knows
  • Chiasson isn’t a super famous UFC fighter, but MMA fans will know her name after Saturday. At five-foot-11, the Louisiana native is a physical specimen who boasts a decent reach and a high motor in the cage. Chiasson has finished 60 percent of her pro fights (four KO/TKOs, 2 SUB). Her propensity to stand and bang, combined with the quality of her opponent, Aldana, makes this fight a sneaky pick to finish inside the distance (+120). 
  • We have some concerns about Chiasson’s cardio. She’s missed weight a couple of times in her career and has also ping-ponged between the roster’s bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Between scale mishaps and training injuries, it has become hard to predict what we’ll get from Macy on a given night. Her bout vs Raquel Pennington in December 2021 was a prime example of this. After beating up on Pennington in Round 1, Chiasson looked out of sorts in Round 2, striding back toward the cage and eventually losing via a short-lived guillotine choke, where she looked very tired.
  • The 31-year-old’s last three fights were Norma Dumont (win – split decision), Pennington (loss – submission) and Marion Reneau (win – unanimous decision). 
Aldana: Need to Knows
  • After a 14-month layoff, Aldana will enter UFC 279 looking to connect on another epic finish. The Mexican is a tremendous boxer for her weight class, and she can neutralize dynamic strikers purely through technical soundness. In her bout vs Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264, Aldana dipped through a few spinning backfists and clipped the Russian with a short left hand. Her opponent fell hard, eventually leading to a ground-and-pound TKO. Chiasson is more dynamic than Aldana – in terms of size and diversity of strikes – but that doesn’t mean it’s an automatic advantage.
  • How Aldana closes the distance will be huge. Her upright stance keeps her limbs in tight, and she’ll pop out of her guard with crisp shots, but that strategy is mitigated by a fighter with a longer reach (Chiasson has a 3.5-inch advantage). It’s likely Aldana will bob and pick her moments to attack, but Chiasson’s ferocity may result in a toe-to-toe striking match, similar to how the Mexican engaged Holly Holm at UFC Fight Island 4. In that scenario, where both fighters are trading, we like Aldana.
  • The 34-year-old’s last three fights were Kunitskaya (win – technical knockout), Holm (loss – unanimous decision) and Ketlen Vieira (win – knockout).

Pick: Aldana by KO/TKO (+375)

Johnny Walker vs Ion Cutelaba Odds & Pick

Johnny Walker+185
Ion Cutelaba-220

The main card begins with a fun battle between light heavyweights Johnny Walker (18-7) and Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1).

Walker: Need to Knows
  • Once heralded as a potential title contender, Walker’s flower has withered over the last two years. He was knocked out by Jamahal Hill in cartoon-like fashion in February, putting an exclamation mark on his four losses in his last five fights. At this point, his chin is a serious concern.
  • This could be the end of the road for Walker, who finds himself a potential release candidate if he can’t figure it out at UFC 279. That’s a brutal predicament for the 30-year-old, who would benefit greatly from a touch of patience in his game – especially against a brute like Cutelaba – but can’t afford another lackluster performance. If Walker charges out of the gate, which his opponent also likes to do, he could get knocked out. But with the spotlight on him, he’ll want to fight, so we expect this fight to finish inside the distance (-310).
  • Walker’s last three fights came against Hill (loss – knockout), Thiago Santos (loss – unanimous decision) and Ryan Spann (win – technical knockout). 
Cutelaba: Need to Knows
  • This is some clever matchmaking by the UFC. Both fighters are in the midst of tough stretches and have their backs against the wall, so to speak, in terms of their utility to the UFC’s roster. Cutelaba loves to bang, and Walker has three career UFC stoppages within the first two minutes. While Cutelaba is relentless in his own right, Walker is much more dangerous within the first few minutes. If the fight gets past Round 1, the advantage swings heavily to Cutelaba.
  • Cutelaba’s wrestling could – and, in all honesty, should – be a factor in this bout, but it all depends on if the Moldovan feels like using it. On paper, Walker holds significant physical advantages – he’s taller, stronger and has a seven-inch reach advantage. If Cutelaba were smart, he’d recognize this and pivot to his ground game. The thing is, “The Hulk” loves to put on a show, even at the expense of his own health. 
  • The 28-year-old’s last three fights have come against Ryan Spann (loss – submission), Devin Clark (win – unanimous decision) and Dustin Jacoby (split draw). 

Pick: Cutelaba (-210); OVER 1.5 Rounds (+127)

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