Five takeaways from UFC 279: Real deal Khamzat Chimaev, bizarre upkick KO and a tribute to legends

This past Saturday, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas played host a blockbuster UFC 279 card full of drama and knockouts. Here, we take a look at the highlights...

The main event bout between Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson wasn't the fight which fans were looking forward to. In fact, it was a fight which the fans deserved. 

Both men have been in the fight game for 19 and 14 years respectively, but had never crossed paths until circumstance threw them together.

When two awkward styles collide, it's, well, awkward. Ferguson had success chopping at Diaz's legs, who masked his recovery by showboating in classic Diaz fashion. Not to be outdone, El Cucuy was his wild - if less potent - self, throwing lead elbows and spinning back-fists at fresh air.

Finishing off the end of his contract, perhaps it's a fitting send off for Diaz to get a submission finish over a fellow UFC legend. As for Ferguson, despite five consecutive losses, he's still committed to improving. Surely a similar winning send off, or an execution, is around the corner for the 38-year-old.

Good Guy Li Jinglian

Spare a thought for Good Guy Li Jinglian. The Chinese star had "the dopest suit" (Diaz's words) fitted for the press conference, but wasn't able to show it off after the presser was cancelled due to the locker room shenanigans between Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland.

Li then agreed to help out the UFC by accepting the card reshuffle, which saw him miss out on his first co-main event, where he had every chance to get one over a UFC legend in Ferguson. Instead, he was put up against a heavier opponent at a 180 catchweight.

Daniel Rodriguez was the much bigger man in the octagon, but Li fought on the outside, sniping in with an array of attacks. Judges then ruled a split decision in Rodriguez's favour, much to UFC overlord Dana White's surprise, who later said he thought Li should have won.

A bizarre upkick KO

Women's bantamweight contender Irene Aldana may have KO'd her way to a title shot with one of the most freakish knockouts ever witnessed in the octagon.

Aldana had opened with a decent round against challenger Macy Chiasson, but was dominated in round two and was in the midst of losing the fight altogether via decision midway through the final round.

Chiasson had top position and was trying to control Aldana's flailing legs, but a powerful upkick caught her right in the liver and completely shut down her body, the fight ending with Chiasson doubled over on the mat.

With a lack of competition for champion Amanda Nunes, that lucky kick may have earned Aldana a chance at her biggest paycheck yet.

Khamzat Chimaev is the real deal

Now, Holland is a dangerous fighter. He's got incredible reach, a second dan black belt and power in his hands. Just ask Jacare Souza, who got knocked unconscious with a wild right hook while Holland was on his back…

But Chimaev is just built different. The Chechen-born star absolutely steamrolled Holland, sprinting out for the takedown, completing it and proceeded to completely out-wrestle Holland before securing a D'Arce choke for the win in 123 seconds without taking a lick of damage.

While Chimaev moves to 12-0 in MMA, it's concerning that he missed weight by over eight pounds, putting the entire card in jeopardy. Rather than apologise to his employer, the 28-year-old doubled down on his transgression, flipping off fans and revelling in the hate. Like him or not, the Borz hype train is full steam ahead to a title shot of some sort…

Chris Barnett is a barrel (of laughs)

UFC heavyweight Chris Barnett won the crowd over with a gutsy performance against Jake Collier and post-fight antics were just what the fans needed to kick off the prelims.

Barnett was in big trouble early in the opening round when Collier was in full mount and raining strikes. He gave upo his back and still managed to get to his feet and the survive the round.

In the second, Collier would miss a takedown and battered and bruised Barnett pounced, rallying for a TKO finish. An elated Barnett, who is almost as wide as he is tall, then perfectly executed his now trademarked front-flip-butt-flop, grabbed a few beers and danced his way through the crowd in post-fight bliss. "Who's has more fun than this guy!?" quipped Daniel Cormier on the mic.

READ MORE: KSW 74: Tom Aspinall calls out Mariusz Pudzianowski to fight Phil De Fries as Brit defends title

Latest news