Khamzat Chimaev of Russia prepares for his welterweight fight against...

 Khamzat Chimaev of Russia prepares for his welterweight fight against Gilbert Burns of Brazil during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida.  Credit: Getty Images/James Gilbert

LAS VEGAS - Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for the main event at UFC 279, coming in 7 1/2 pounds over the welterweight limit and leading to his fight with Nate Diaz and two other main-card bouts getting changed.

Diaz will take on fellow veteran welterweight Tony Ferguson in a five-round main event at UFC 279 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. 

Chimaev will face Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight bout. The two were involved in a backstage altercation Thursday that led to the cancelation of the UFC 279 press conference.

Ferguson's original opponent, Li Jingliang, will now face Daniel Rodriguez, who was supposed to face Holland, in another 180-pound catchweight fight on the pay-per-view card.

Chimaev, the Chechen-born Swede considered one of mixed martial arts' top rising stars, weighed 178.5 pounds Friday morning at the UFC Apex Gym in Las Vegas. That's far over the non-title weight limit of 171 pounds.

Chimaev shrugged his shoulders and smiled when told of his weight - and moments later, he posted a joking meme about missing weight on his Twitter account.

The entire week in Las Vegas has featured strange behavior from the 28-year-old Chimaev. He reportedly got into a physical fight with undercard fighter Kevin Holland before the UFC 279 news conference on Thursday, forcing the promotion to scrap the event.

The 37-year-old Diaz was a major betting underdog against Chimaev, one of the world's top welterweights, but his fight with Ferguson is expected to be much more competitive. Diaz is in the final bout of his contract with the UFC, and he has already announced plans to start his own promotional company.

The UFC also made several additional weight adjustments to the card. Most prominently, the bantamweight bout between Macy Chiasson and Irene Aldana is now a 140-pound catchweight bout.

Featherweight Hakeem Dawodu and Heavyweight Chris Barnett also missed weight for UFC 279, but will stay on the card in their original bouts. Dawodu will give up 30% of his purse to opponent Julian Erosa, and Barnett loses 20% of his purse to Jake Collier.

The UFC is providing refunds to fans with tickets who no longer want to see the reshuffled card, although every fighter scheduled for the show is still competing.

More MMA


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months