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UFC 279: Diaz vs. Ferguson predictions

UFC 279 is now a very different event than it was just two days ago and Dana White can’t be too pleased about what has happened.

First, the Sept. 8 press conference that started late and missing several main event fighters was abruptly cancelled mid-session by White after an altercation backstage that involved several fighters, including Khamzat Chimaev, Kevin Holland, and Nate Diaz.

In short, it was a bad day at the weigh-ins:

  • Chimaev weighed in at 178.5 pounds, 7.5 pounds over the 171 limit., forcing the cancellation of the main event.
  • Canadian Hakeem Dawodu missed weight, but will fight Julian Erosa at a catchweight of 149 pounds. 30 per cent of Dawodu’s purse will go to Erosa.
  • Jailton Almeida will now fight Anton Turkalj after Shamil Abdurakhimov withdrew due to visa issues.
  • Chris Barnett missed weight by 1.5 pounds and will be fined 30 per cent will go to his opponent Jake Collier.

But Dana White and the UFC always have a way of figuring things out.

  • Tony Ferguson will now face Diaz, who weighed in successfully at 171 pounds, in the new main event.
  • Kevin Holland will now face Khamzat Chimaev in a five round co-main event
  • Daniel Rodriguez and Li Jingliang will face each other

MMA Crossfire Expert Rach Greenwood checks in with her thoughts on the new card.

DARIAN WEEKS (5-2-0) VS. YOHAN LAINESSE (8-1-0)

Greenwood:ย Both fighters are coming into this fight with wrestling backgrounds. But I can see the majority of this fight staying on the feet. Weeks has the more technical standup. He stands with a high guard and uses his front kicks nicely.ย Lainesse doesn’t have pretty boxing, but he makes up for that with power. He has heavy leg kicks that can disrupt Week’s movement. And If he lands a nice lead hook or an overhand, then this fight will not see the end.

Greenwood Prediction: Yain Lainesse via TKO

MELISSA MARTINEZ (7-0-0) VS. ELISE REED (5-2-0)

Greenwood:ย Both fighters will likely be keeping this fight on the feet. They both move well in a Taekwondo stance, hopping in and out. Reed has a Savate-style kick that she times flawlessly. Martinez has boxing and uses her hands to set up her kicks. This fight might come down to aย  battle of speed.ย I predict this fight will go to a decision where Reed, being the more experienced in the UFC octagon, will take it by unanimous decision.ย 

Greenwood Prediction: Elise Reed via UD

HEILI ALATENG (15-8-2) VS. CHAD HELIANGER (12-5-0)

Greenwood:ย Both fighters would most probably like to keep the fight standing. Alatengheili is more technical, he likes to keep his guard up and has a nice swift jab. Chad is an aggressive fighter, he mixes up his striking nicely. I can see a nice back-and-forth exchange.ย 

Greenwood Prediction: Chad Anheliger via SD

NORMA DUMONT (7-2-0) VS. DANYELLE WOLF (1-0-0)

Greenwood: Dumont is good With her distant management and has a nice shift jab. But agents Wolf she willย  need to mix it up and go for some takedowns. Wolf is an exceptional boxer with sharp in and out movements. We might see Wolf outstrike Dumont and take this fight with a unanimous decision win.

Greenwoodย Prediction: Danyelle Wolf via UD

JAKE COLLIER (13-7-0) VS. CHRIS BARNETT (22-8-0)

Greenwood:ย In order for Barnett to win, I’d advise him to keep Collier at the edge of his Taekwondo kicks and use footwork to not allow Colliers to close the distance for a takedown. Jake Collier is a good fighter, good standup and has a wrestling background. I liked Collier at middleweight. He was more of a technical fighter and now at heavyweightย ย is more of a brawler.ย Which for this fight may come in his favour.ย I predict Collier will overwhelm Barnett with brawling forward punches to a takedown and win the fight by stoppage via TKOย 

Greenwood Prediction: Jake Collier via TKO

DENIS TIULIULIN (9-6-0) VS. JAMIE PICKETT (13-7-0)

Greenwood:ย Denis doesn’t use much lateral movement; he moves straight in and out, but has phenomenal hand speed. I like Pickett for this. He has the better striking and footwork. Nice long range weapons. A sweet jab, which he sets up a one two for a kick. I’ll be bold and say Pickett wins via KO by kick.ย 

Greenwood Prediction: Jamie Pickett via TKO

JAILTON ALEIDA (16-2-0) VS. ANTON TURKAJL (8-0-0)

Greenwood: Both fighters come into this fight with grappling. Anton with more of a Greco- Roman style, while Almeida has more freestyle. If Turkalji can stuff Almeida’s takedowns than he can easily take this fight. But I’m going with Almeida, his shots are so fast that you can’t see them coming. I predict Almeida goes for the double leg right away. Keeps the grappling controls throughout the fight and win via split decision.

Greenwood Prediction: Jailton Almeida via SD

HAKEEM DAWODU (13-2-1) VS. JULIAN EROSA (27-9-0)

Greenwood:ย Dawodu likes the Muay Thai style. He is slow and methodical on the feet, andย  keeps his hands up as he walks his opponents down, whereas Erosa fights more like a kickboxer; keeps his hands low and likes to use his footwork more. Both fighters are great at timing their strikes with nice hand speed. If Erosa gets tired in the later rounds from all his movements, then Dawodu can use his kicks to chop the legs of Erosa, hindering his footwork some more, get on the inside and land some punches, knees and elbows, causing enough damage to take a split decision win.ย However, I’m liking Erosa for this one. With the longer reach, fast hands and his footwork he can keep Dawodu at the edge of his punches. If he can keep his fast pace up for all three rounds he has it in the bag.I predict Erosa wins via split decision.ย 

Greenwood Prediction: Julian Erosa via SD

UFC 279 MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)

#13 JOHNNY WALKER (18-7-0) VS. ION CUTELABA (16-7-1)

Greenwood:ย Walker will try keep the fight on the feet with his long straight punches and kicks. Walker’s best weapon is his kick. By working those leg kicks he can take away Cutelabas ability to shoot and even possibly land a clean head kick.ย But I believe Cutelaba being the more forward aggressive grappler will have no trouble taking Walker down, where Cutelaba will control Walker on the ground with some ground and pound where he will take the win via KO.

Greenwood Prediction: Ion Cutelaba via TKO

#4 IRENE ALDANA (13-6-0) VS. #10 MACY CHIASSON (8-2-0)

Greenwood:ย Both fighters have exceptional standup. Macy is quick on her feet and throws aggressive punches and kicks. For her to win this fight I would advise her to keep Aldana at the edge of her punches and kicks and not let Aldana use her boxing. I would even advise her to go for some takedowns and work for a submission. Aldana has the better technical boxing. Her timing and distance management are a beauty to watch. If she finds the right time and place to land a punch then this fight might not see the end. I’d say this fight ends with Aldana taking the win via KO.

Greenwood Prediction: Irene Aldana via TKO

#14 LI JINGLIANG (19-7-0) VS. DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (16-2-0)

Greenwood: I really like Li for this on paper. He’s got some really good striking that he times well. It may not be KO power but his timing and technique makes up for it. However, Rodriguez is the bigger guy, having about a 10 lb advantage. He’s also a dirty boxer with KO power. So I have to favour him for this.

Greenwood Prediction: Daniel Rodriguez via UD

#3 KHAMZAT CHIMAEV (11-0-0) VS. KEVIN HOLLAND (23-7-0)

Greenwood:ย I have to try not to be biased here. As a UFC fan I feel like Khamzat has been disrespecting the sport. Causing trouble behind the stage and then showing up overweight. But, I have to go with Khamzat on this one. He’s been training for five rounds and has very good wrestling and as Holland stated “I don’t wrestle”. However, Holland has the better striking, If he can keep this one the feet. And not let his emotions take over him. He can take this to a decision. But my prediction is Khamzat gets the takedown, to a ground and pound stoppage winning via KO.

Greenwood Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev ia TKO

MAIN EVENT

NATE DIAZ (20-13-0) VS.ย TONY FERGUSON (23-7-0)

Greenwood:ย What a weird turn of events. But, I’m not complaining. These new match-ups make for a better fight. This is a better sendoff for Diaz. It’s surprising how we went this long without a Nate vs Tony fight. Against Chimaev I didn’t feel like Diaz’s heart was in it.

Diaz has some messy-looking boxing that packs a lot of power. Diaz knows how to use his boxing to his advantage. Tony on the other hand, has some of the best elbows that we’ve ever seen in the UFC. I like Diaz for this fight. For he has been training to go five rounds and Tony’s chin hasn’t been the same. Much respect to Tony for taking this fight.

Greenwood Prediction:ย Nate Diazย via TKO

Enjoy the fights.

@kenaiandrews

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