Probably the biggest non-title fight of the year headlines this weekend’s pay-per-view card when fan favorite Nate Diaz takes on the hype train that is Khamzat Chimaev. In the co-main Tony Ferguson moves up to 170 pounds for the first time in more than a decade to take on ‘The Leech’ Li Jingliang and Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez battle it out in what should be a fantastic fight. We take a look at my three best bets on this weekend’s card below.
UFC 279 Betting Picks
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz
This is a fun fight but one that really is Chimaev’s to lose in whatever way you look at it. I personally would be more shocked to see Chimaev lose this fight than I was to see Pena upset Nunes, for mine this would be Matt Serra upsetting GSP level. I originally was going to stay out of this fight, but I have talked myself into playing the over and here are my reasons.
A lot has always been made of Diaz’s durability and considering I believe he will be able to hang with Chimaev on the feet without getting utterly brutalised then it comes down to the ground. On his back Diaz has sneaky submissions and moreso is generally quite good at being able to switch positions and keep his opponents having to work. Thirdly, Chimaev will know he is far superior at their respective stages in their careers and will likely showboat a little bit, playing with his food if you will. So, while there will be some shaky moments, a roaring crowd wanting to see heaps of action helps play into Chimaev’s ego and willingness to entertain and sees this fight go to at least the third round.
Li Jingliang vs. Tony Ferguson
Are we backing Tony Ferguson in? At the odds on offer you bet we are. Tony Ferguson looked good in the first round against Michael Chandler before being viciously knocked out. Before that he has been absolutely completely and utterly dominated and has looked a shell of the once feared ‘El Cucuy’. He moves up to 170 pounds here to face ‘The Leech’, a move I wouldn’t recommend but I do believe Jingliang is the weakest fighter he has fought in the last five years.
Li Jingliang carries power in his hands but other than that I honestly have never had a big opinion of him as a contender. He is fun to watch as he throws himself into the fire, which is why this should be a fun fight, but he shouldn’t be this big of a favourite in any situation. I am not promising we see the old Tony Ferguson but if the spark is still there and he can have some method behind the madness I think he’s a good chance to get his hand raised.
Chad Anheliger vs. Heili Alatengheili
This is one of my bigger bets of the year as in my opinion Alatengheili should wipe the floor with Chad Anheliger. Anheliger earnt his UFC contract with an upset Contender Series win over Muin Gafarov and then knocked Jesse Strader into the next dimension in his UFC debut. However, Alatengheili is better everywhere. He hits harder, he is more active on the feet and has a massive wrestling and grappling advantage. Meanwhile Anheliger was taken down by Strader who is far from a good wrestler which is super concerning. Simply put this is a demolition job and bank on Alatengheili.