The odds certainly aren’t in Nate Diaz’s favor before his welterweight clash with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, but are any fellow UFC fighters brave enough to predict another Diaz upset?
Diaz makes his return on Saturday, Sept. 10, when he’ll face #3 ranked welterweight Chimaev in a five-round main event bout. Chimaev is undefeated after 11 professional fights and is now 5-0 in the UFC after defeating Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision in April. Diaz has lost his last two bouts against Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal but almost scored a stunning last-minute finish against now-champion Edwards when he rocked him with a straight left.
Unsurprisingly, Chimaev is a massive betting favorite before UFC 279 with -1600 odds at some bookmakers. Diaz’s +850 odds mean that a $100 wager would return a total of $950 if he manages the upset.
Read on for a collection of UFC fighter picks and predictions before Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz, courtesy of James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick series.
Watch Diaz vs. Chimaev live
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 10
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 10 pm ET, Prelims start at 6 pm ET
ESPN+ PPV (order here)
Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev is the main event of the UFC 279 PPV main card. Fans can order UFC 279 on the ESPN+ website to watch every main card fight live, including the Diaz vs. Chimaev. After ordering, fans can stream every UFC 279 fight to a preferred device, including TVs, mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, and more.
Diaz vs. Chimaev predictions
“I’m kind of happy for both guys. Nate’s getting what he wants. He wants out of his contract. He wanted a fight. He wanted it now, so now he’s got it. It’s a pretty tough way to go out the door. As much as I can say, Chimaev is the more powerful striker, he’s the more technical guy, and he’s the better wrestler. The only thing I can definitely give you a place where Nate Diaz has an advantage is conditioning and submission ability.
“But Nate Diaz is Nate Diaz, man. He can mess around and make it tough for anybody, even Leon Edwards. Nate has this uncanny ability to make people look bad. So, there’s a good chance that could happen. I’m not going to put any significant amount of money on it, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Nate turn this into an ugly dog fight, kind of like the first and second Conor fight. But chances are Chimaev has a relatively easy time.” (via James Lynch)
“I was surprised by this fight. He [Diaz] should have been fighting Dustin, in my opinion, but it is what it is. Hope he does well. Chimaev is a way bigger dude, so I don’t know how that will play out. If Nate can stop his takedowns… I doubt that. What happens when Chimaev takes him down? Is Nate going to throw up a submission off his back? I don’t know. But I know for sure if Chimaev gets his hands on Nate, he’s taking him down. That’s for sure going to happen.” (via James Lynch)
“I’m going to go against Chimaev, and I’m going to go with Diaz. I think the odds are against him, but, you know, maybe we’ll see another McGregor moment.” (via James Lynch)
“I can see this going one of two ways. One way is if Khamzat does what he did against Gilbert Burns and says, ‘screw it,’ throws caution to the wind, and stands and bangs with him the whole time. And then I think Diaz actually, you know, makes it to at least the fourth round, and then Khamzat gets tired of that and gets a fourth or fifth round finish. Or Khamzat just comes out and thinks that he wants to get in and out of there and makes it look easy. He can jump on Diaz early and get him out of there in the first round by catching him off guard, pretending he’s going to box and then take him down, take his back, and then ends up choking him because Nate’s not like kind-of warmed up in the fight yet.” (via James Lynch)
“It’s sad to say, but I think he ragdolls him. I think Diaz doesn’t have the strength. Chimaev, when he was able to ragdoll the Chinese fighter, The Leech [Li Jingliang], I was able to know how strong he is because The Leech fought my homie Neil, and Neil told me how strong he was. For him to manhandle him, I don’t think Diaz is just not strong enough. He has the skill, and he’s a five-round type of fighter, but this isn’t going to be five rounds. Chimaev is going to pounce on him early, be super aggressive, and blitz him. It’s almost going to be like Ngannou but with a wrestler.” (via James Lynch)
“Diaz. I know it sounds crazy. But a lot of people are saying the same reasons that I have. I think some of the things Diaz does well can give Khamzat problems. Some of the cardio and durability, it just depends on which Nate shows up. If he’s in shape, he can drag that fight out and cause problems. It’s picking with my heart, but I hope he can pull it off.” (via James Lynch)
“My heart says I want Diaz to win. But the fighter in me, realistically, doesn’t see that happening. Chimaev is going to be too much. Too much pressure, too good of a grappler — that man has ungodly grappling capabilities. I was in Abu Dhabi, and I watched that man run on the treadmill, getting it for a solid 30 minutes, and it didn’t even look like he was breathing hard. I was like ‘man,’ that guy is just an animal man. He can strike, his grappling is phenomenal, I just see him being a little too much for Nate.” (via James Lynch)
“I know Khamzat is a tough guy, and he’s the new up-and-coming thing, but I ain’t never sleeping against the Diaz brothers, you know what I mean. They’re the guys who, you know, have been in this game for a long time. As we’ve seen with Nate Diaz’s fight against Leon Edwards, he was getting battered and bruised the whole fight, but it only took 10 seconds for the tide to turn. It wasn’t for the showboating, maybe Nate Diaz could have got him a late-round finish, but that’s what they do best — showboat. I’m going to go Nate Diaz on this.” (via James Lynch)
“I think the Diaz brothers, in general, are very good fighters, and Nate has shown that he’s very, very talented, but they have a very specific set of skills and a very predictable fighting style. He’s not terribly good against pressure wrestlers, so I think if Chimaev gets in on him and controls his hips on the ground, it’s going to be a fairly easy win for him. Obviously, Nate is great on his back and on the ground as well, but against a wrestler, it’s really hard to get any submissions off if they know what they’re doing. And Chimaev is a great power puncher as well. Nate is hard to put away, so as long as he stays patient and works his wrestling in there, Nate can be pretty easily outpointed if you keep the pressure on him and keep wrestling.”
“I hate this matchup so much. I want to say Nate Diaz will win with all my heart, but I just can’t.” (via James Lynch)
“If I had to put $500 on it, I’ve gotta go Chimaev. It’s not because Nate Diaz will lose because he’s a lesser opponent, I think he’ll lose because it feels from his tweets that he doesn’t really care about the game anymore, he’s ready to get out. He doesn’t have that old Nate fire that he used to have. I don’t know if he really cares as much as he used to.” (via James Lynch)
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.