Nate Diaz took a fourth-round submission win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279, winning the last bout of his UFC contract in a savage bout that capped off an extraordinary week.
A backstage brawl interrupted Thursday’s press conference and the card was flipped on Friday morning when Khamzat Chimaev missed the welterweight limit for his main event fight proposal against Diaz.
The mistake forced a reshuffle where Ferguson met Diaz while Chimaev faced Kevin Holland and Li Jingliang faced Daniel Rodriguez, but the rescheduled main event didn’t disappoint.
Diaz, 37, picked Ferguson for the first three rounds before grabbing a guillotine in the fourth to finish the fight in front of a sold out crowd at the T-Mobil Arena.
The fan favorite of Stockton, California opened a cut above Ferguson’s right eye in the second when his precise boxing began to tell.
Ferguson returned fire, cutting off Diaz’s lead leg to slow him down, but Diaz was still able to land his combinations to force his opponent back and played with the crowd, wandering around the cage and leaning on. her to take a break.
Ferguson fired for a round four takedown, but Diaz, who subjected Conor McGregor to hand the Irishman his first UFC defeat of 2016, wrapped his arm around Ferguson’s neck and dragged him to the ground to secure the victory.
“I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show these UFC fighters how to take control and own another sport,” Diaz said in the octagon.
“I’ll go out there, take up another profession … and then I’ll come back here to get a UFC title.”