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UFC 279 Odds: Treble for Las Vegas event including Chimaev vs Diaz predictions

UFC 279 returns to Las Vegas for a non-title bout between wrecking ball Khamzat Chimaev and the vacating Nate Diaz
UFC 279 returns to Las Vegas for a non-title bout between wrecking ball Khamzat Chimaev and the vacating Nate Diaz

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Salt Lake City played host to a massive upset during the last numbered UFC event, when Leon Edwards slept the debated pound-for-pound king in Kamaru Usman to become the promotion's new Welterweight champion and only the second ever Brit to lift a belt in the organisation.

Continuing that momentum, we have a real barn burner in the main event this weekend as cult hero Nate Diaz prepares for his expected final outing, being served up to the UFC's undefeated behemoth Khamzat Chimaev in a five-round non-title special in Las Vegas.

It's the three main clashes that concern us here. @LukeHam94 has delved into each match up and delivered his thoughts and feelings on the fights at hand, providing you with a trio of best bets, which can be combined for this 23.62/1 treble with Paddy Power.

UFC 279 Tips

Kevin Holland to win
Odds correct as of 2022-09-08 16:05 Odds subject to change.

Kevin Holland vs Daniel Rodriguez

While some may bemoan this particular contest being made at a catchweight of 180lbs, remember that the agreement was arranged on only a few weeks' notice. It's time to look past that insignificant detail and enjoy the show.

Kevin Holland has looked slick since dropping down to 170, returning to Welterweight in March following two losses and a draw to some of the best Middleweights the UFC has to offer.

His opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, comes into this one on a three-fight win streak, securing victories over Mike Perry, Preston Parsons and Kevin Lee, taking him to a 6-1 record within the organisation following his birth on Dana White's Contender Series.

Despite answering criticisms about his ground game with the submission of Tim Means, Holland shouldn't need to worry about being taken down here. Both men are long, rangy strikers, but Trailblazer's height and reach advantage are likely to be a decisive factor.

Holland's considerable striking accuracy is another reason why he's the betting favourite on Saturday. His athleticism and experience fighting a higher calibre of opponent should see him make light work of D-Rod.

He'll look to keep Rodriguez on the end of his punches, negating any attempts to close the distance that would make this a more even brawl. The underdog will find Holland an incredibly difficult puzzle to solve, especially coming back from such a long layoff.

To hedge our bets, we'll take the Holland win for our first selection, with there being just as much of a chance this goes to a decision in his favour as there is in him being able to finish it off sooner.

It's the type of fight to deliver fireworks and should serve as the perfect appetiser to the two contests we're about to move on to.

Kevin Holland vs Daniel Rodriguez Odds

Li Jingliang to win by KO/TKO
Odds correct as of 2022-09-08 16:10 Odds subject to change.

Li Jingliang vs Tony Ferguson

In the co-main, a previous opponent of Chimaev's in Li Jingliang will face off against hardened veteran Tony Ferguson - the first of two contests where it feels like the UFC are staging public executions for a pair of the oldest legends on their roster.

If you're thinking Nate Diaz's contest with Khamzat Chimaev is unevenly matched, spare a thought for Tony Ferguson instead. El Cucuy is certainly doing himself no favours moving back up to Welterweight at the ripe old age of 38, having spent 10 years making those brutal weight cuts before coming to this belated decision.

There's an air of desperation to his move - the type of conclusion that one reaches when chasing that elusive win. What can be said pretty confidently is that stepping up to fight one of the top 15 ranked guys in the division is not the way to go about ending that streak.

He's the underdog by a fair margin, and it's plain to see why: he's trying to snap a four-fight losing skid which most recently was extended following a brutal front kick knockout by Michael Chandler. There's also a sizeable difference physiologically between himself and his natural Welterweight dance partner.

But let's not forget, Ferguson looked unpredictable last time out, showing good drive and putting the pressure on Chandler. If that Tony enters the Octagon then there is a case to be made for his 13/5 price. However, that's not where our head is at.

The Leech is a big, strong individual. A physically imposing beast who bounced back from a humiliating defeat to Chimaev by eradicating Muslim Salikhov in the Second Round. It's a fight that will suit him, keeping things on the feet, walking his opponent down and cutting off the space to line up that right hand.

It's not Ferguson's chin that is the danger, but rather Li's 4.39 significant strikes per minute average that should dominate the conversation. 10 of Jingliang's 19 wins have come by KO/TKO, and his four subs have been by guillotine choke - a striker's submission.

Further on that, four of his last seven fights and 4/5 of these victories have been by knockout, earning him four Performance of the Night bonuses during this period. It's on the mat where the dog could have some success when you consider the Leech's lowly 60% takedown defence which will often leave him looking rather cumbersome. If Ferguson can coax him into throwing that right - the same shot that could put Tony's lights out - then there will be opportunities to take him down and go for the submission.

The damning fact is Tony has suffered two TKO losses in his last four after going his entire career before that without experiencing a single one. That sort of stain can become a scar and that scar lives with you in the cage; something this weekend's opponent will be only keen to continue. Not even those sharp elbows can save Ferguson who will simply not be able to compete with Leech's striking.

UFC 279 Odds

Li Jingliang vs Tony Ferguson Odds

Khamzat Chimaev to win by KO/TKO in Rounds 3, 4 or 5
Odds correct as of 2022-09-08 16:10 Odds subject to change.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz

Finally, the main event. The UFC's latest hype train rolls through the Nate Diaz station, looking to crush the 37-year-old's remaining worth before he's hung out to dry from Sunday onwards when he and the organisation are set to part ways.

Diaz has never won a title or ever been a real contender, yet his legacy has transcended the wins and losses that stand on his record.

The man's post-fight plans have become clearer this week, after his application for a promoter's licence was made public. There has also been a lot of talk - mainly from himself - about the circumstances that have led to his and Chimaev's paths crossing in this swan song outing, which unsurprisingly appears to be the handy work of President Dana White, whose matchmaking is as blatant a middle finger to the departing fighter as humanly possible.

Those of you tuning in will be doing so for the possibility of that romantic end where the underdog shocks the world once again, riding off into the sunset having carried out one of the greatest upsets in the sport's history. But the stakes are pretty low for Nate heading into this one - he's essentially being used as a springboard in the contender's road to a shot at the belt next year. The bonuses and pay-per-view points were also cut off a long time ago for the tied-third bonus king of the organisation, so the question lies: does Nate care what happens?

It's a valid thing to ask, but for such a game fighter as Diaz is, you'd be a fool to make your mind up so easily; even with such a wide gap between the odds.

In terms of match ups, it's heavily stacked in Chimaev's favour. We expect the Swede to be too big and too strong for Diaz, with his wrestling far superior to that of his opponent's. Khamzat will be able to put Nate down at will, staying out of submissions and working his ground and pound to great effect. His level change is frighteningly fast and puts him at a massive advantage over the flat-footed Diaz. The Southpaw vs Orthodox dynamic at play will also benefit Borz, who can unleash his favourable right hand after stepping to Diaz's leading foot.

Many have had success attacking the legs of the Stockton-born fighter which Chimaev will seek to capitalise on, but that is where Diaz could spring a surprise or two of his own. He's going to have to tire his counterpart out - a fighter who is yet to experience a five-round contest, and has only gone the distance once in his UFC career so far. Whereas for Diaz, this is his bread and butter. Having only landed four knockdowns at an average rate of almost 600 punches per KO, he's clearly banking on volume over damage.

His high capacity boxing is not technical or devastating in and of itself, but when utilised over an extended period of time, is the type of tool that can cause Chimaev problems. His unanimous win over Gilbert Burns back in April saw him face all kinds of adversity, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the 28-year-old isn't untouchable after all.

Ufc 279 Tale Of The Tape

Diaz's durability is his greatest asset, coupled with his unique problem solving inside the cage. His 'skrap pack' jiu-jitsu is far from perfect, but as the name suggests, helps him create all kinds of chaos that make him a constant threat no matter the situation; particularly when paired with the high jiu-jitsu IQ that Nate displays. Chimaev is going to drive him to the cage and use his wrestling pressure to unload strikes. But the longer this goes on, then the more bewildered Chimaev could get and the sloppier his game may become. If, buts and maybes, we know. But all possibilities must be considered.

Chimaev's gas tank is still relatively unknown at this point. So for the conditioned Diaz, taking his counterpart into the depths of hell in the championship rounds of this fight are where he stands the best chance of finding some joy.

More than anything, the greatest concern in Diaz's corner will be his battle torn skin. If Chimaev is able to open him up then the 25-minute fight count suddenly becomes an unknown race against time, where a doctor's stoppage could put an end to proceedings at any given moment. Chimaev's 91% finish rate and Diaz's reputation as being notoriously difficult to finish are both factors that are far less prominent than the intervention of an unpredictable state doctor.

Unfortunately it's here where we see the contest reaching its conclusion, as the level of scar tissue on Diaz's face has resulted in stoppages on the feet before. You aren't knocking Nate Diaz out, but you can inflict enough visible damage to bring the fight to an abrupt ending. And although he's carried out most of his UFC career in this fashion, the expectedly bloody scenes on Saturday night are how we see this TKO-medical stoppage playing out.

With some firms going as short as 1/4 for Chimaev to win this way, we're siding with a Round 3, 4 or 5 KO/TKO finish for Chimaev which has an incredibly attractive 5/1 price slapped on it at Paddy Power.

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Ufc 279 Branded Betslip
Kevin Holland win, Li Jingliang KO/TKO win & Khamzat Chimaev KO/TKO win in Rounds 3, 4 or 5
Odds correct as of 2022-09-08 16:30 Odds subject to change.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz Odds

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