On Saturday night, most MMA fans will flock to their screens for what could be Diaz’s final appearance inside the Octagon, which he’s competed in since winning The Ultimate Fighter back in 2007.
Having not agreed a new deal with the UFC, the Stockton native will fight out his contract this weekend, and his potential last outing will be no easy task. In Diaz’s way of a first win since 2019 will be Chimaev, an undefeated brute who’s torn through his competition en route to the top five at 170 pounds.
The matchup was announced following a long period of back and forth, with Diaz’s apparent efforts to fight Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Michael Chandler all falling short. With that in mind, many accused the UFC of setting up a Diaz ‘assassination’ in order to damage his stock as he exits the promotion.
During a recent UFC 279 breakdown video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Adesanya shared a similar sentiment, suggesting that the promotion is “doing Nate wrong” by having him face the undefeated “Borz.”
“This is Nate’s last fight on his contract. So, how everyone is seeing this fight is (UFC) feeding him to the wolves.
“I feel like, yeah, they’re doing Nate wrong by trying to feed him this up-and-comer who’s just destroyed everyone that’s been in his way, and for Nate’s last fight. I feel like it would have been cool to see him fight someone like Tony Ferguson. That would have been a good last fight.”
Despite that view, “The Last Stylebender” actually went on to back Diaz to become the first man to blemish Chimaev’s record…
Adesanya Backs Diaz To Finish Chimaev Despite Criticizing Booking
Having further assessed Saturday’s headliner and realized that Chimaev faces the prospect of going five rounds for the first time in his mixed martial arts career, Adesanya made a bold prediction — and a slightly puzzling one given his view on the UFC’s much-debated matchmaking.
Backing Diaz’s immense condition and history fighting hard beyond 15 minutes, the middleweight king predicted a late TKO or submission win for the Stockton native.
“It’s five rounds, f*ck. Has he (Chimaev) even been five rounds? It just got interesting. I didn’t think about that,” Adesanya said. “Nate’s tough, he can last. In the Leon fight, Leon was pinging him and then out of nowhere in the last round, ping… Chimaev, if Chimaev is gonna win, I’m gonna say decision.
“(But) I think Nate’s gonna win. He’s gonna finish him late on… I think Chimaev’s gonna gas around the third… third or fourth, and then Nate just takes over and TKOs or submits him,” Adesanya predicted.
While last month’s pay-per-view saw one of the all-time great PPV upsets, a victory for Diaz on Saturday night would certainly surpass it, especially given Chimaev’s rise and considerable confidence.
But should “Borz” prove Adesanya wrong, either with a dominant finish or a strong 25-minute display in Las Vegas, the Chechen-born Swede will be one step closer to a date in the cage with the Nigerian-New Zealander down the line.
While his immediate focus appears to be on the welterweight gold, Chimaev boasts multi-division ambitions that include dethroning Adesanya.
What do you make of Israel Adesanya’s assessment of Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev?