Chimaev v Diaz odds
The build-up to UFC 279 in Las Vegas this weekend has been relatively low-key, thanks to the lack of title fights and star names on the bill.
But while there’s no belt up for grabs, the main event promises to be an exciting match-up between the newest star of the welterweight division and one of the sport’s all-time fan favourites.
Chimaev has surged up the 170lb rankings over the past couple of years, winning all five of his UFC fights over that period to extend his unbeaten career record to 11-0. He earned a unanimous decision win over former title challenger Gilbert Burns in April to set up this fight, and Dana White has confirmed that the Russian-born Swede will receive a title shot should he win on Saturday night.
Standing in his way is Diaz, a 15-year UFC veteran who memorably handed Conor McGregor his first defeat in the company back at UFC 202 in 2016.
Now 37 and with a 20-13 career record, Diaz could be facing his final UFC fight this weekend. He’s on the last bout of his contract, has been hugely critical of the promotion over the years and has voiced his displeasure at having to take on Chimaev here.
A win over the 28-year-old would put Diaz right back into the title picture, though, and he’d undoubtedly love to beat a fighter the UFC are clearly trying to push into contention.
Diaz has lost three of his last four fights, however, and is a underdog on Saturday night.
Chimaev, meanwhile, is the big favourite at .
Chimaev v Diaz prediction
There’s little doubt the UFC have set Chimaev up for a big win on Saturday night. One of these fighters is on the rise, while the other is on the way out.
Diaz has been extremely inactive over the past few years, fighting just three times since August 2016. He beat Anthony Pettis in August 2019 but has since suffered one-sided defeats to both Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards.
Chimaev, meanwhile, has fought five times since July 2020, including twice since Diaz’s last fight. He would have fought even more, had he not experienced a lingering illness from late 2020 to early 2021 that caused even caused him to briefly contemplate retirement.
The Swede bounced back, though, and has gradually climbed the ranks, racking up increasingly impressive wins, and this is set up to be his big moment against a huge name. He’s a fantastic wrestler, and showed in a war with Burns that he has the grit and durability to compete with the elite.
Diaz has never been great against wrestlers, and it looks very likely that he gets mauled here. The American has always been a slow starter and lacks the power to stop Chimaev pushing forward, so he could find himself taking a beating early on here.
The question is not who wins, but how Chimaev triumphs. He has four career submission wins to date, but Diaz is an elite grappler and has only been submitted once back in 2006, so that method of victory looks unlikely.
Instead, back Chimaev to earn an early stoppage. Six of his 11 wins have come by KO or TKO, and Diaz’s two career stoppage defeats have both come in his last five losses.
This fight likely won’t last long at all, so it’s worth also backing the unbeaten contender to win within the first couple of rounds.
Chimaev to win by KO/TKO/DQ
Chimaev to win in Round 1
Chimaev to win in Round 2
Visit Betway’s UFC betting page.