With Khamzat Chimaev missing weight for his main event bout by 7.5 pounds, the UFC 279 fight card on Saturday had to be dramatically rearranged. The top three fights all had to be shuffled and now the main event will be Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson in a welterweight battle. Chimaev will now fight Kevin Holland in a catchweight bout and Holland's original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez, will now take on Ferguson's original opponent, Li Jingliang, in another catchweight bout. But now that the new UFC 279 fight card is locked in (10 p.m. ET main card), the UFC 279 odds have been updated and Ferguson is the -135 (bet $135 to win $100) favorite in the main event over Diaz.
Meanwhile, Chimaev is a -550 favorite over Holland (+400) in that catchweight bout while Rodriguez is the -155 favorite over Jingliang (+135) in the other catchweight fight. With so many last-minute changes, which fighters should you be backing as you place your UFC 279 bets? Before making any UFC 279 picks, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Kyle Marley.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past three-plus years, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $13,000. The accomplished MMA analyst kicked off the 2022 UFC season in January by advising SportsLine members to support Calvin Kattar (+200) against Giga Chikadze (-240) in the featherweight main event. Kattar's lopsided unanimous-decision victory gave Marley's followers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, he's turned his attention to the UFC 279 fight card and locked in his best bets. You can only see his MMA picks at SportsLine.
UFC 279: Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson preview
The two UFC legends will step in to face each other after the scheduled Diaz vs. Chimaev fell apart. It's a huge opportunity for Ferguson, a former UFC Lightweight Champion who is on a four-fight losing streak and is making his return to welterweight for the first time since 2011. With Ferguson stepping in on such short notice, the expectations will be relatively low and he could certainly revive his star status with a win given the circumstances.
Meanwhile, Diaz has lost three of his last four fights so there's still plenty to fight for on his end as he looks to put himself back into the title picture. He'll have the significant length advantage over a fighter who is moving up a weight class but will that be enough to overcome the ring rust for a fighter who has only taken three fights in the last six years? You can see who to back here.
UFC 279 predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC 279 selections here: He is calling for Irene Aldana (-180) to get her hand raised against Macy Chiasson (+160) in a matchup of women's bantamweight contenders on the main card. Both of these women are ranked top 10 in the women's bantamweight division (135 pounds) but this fight will take place at 140 pounds after both failed to make weight.
Aldana is No. 4 in the division coming off wins in three of her last four fights and her last two victories have both been by knockout. She's now 13-6 in her career and has had seven wins by knockout, so her power is going to be something that Chiasson has to take seriously.
Chiasson (8-2) has also won three of her last four fights but all three have come by decision and she's only had two knockout wins in her career. Aldana's striking advantage should be a big one and Marley is expecting the veteran to use a great jab and a high output to get the job done and continue her climb in the bantamweight rankings. See who else to pick here.
How to make UFC 279 picks
Marley also has strong picks for Diaz vs. Ferguson and every other bout on the UFC 279 card. He's also backing a "better striker" to emerge with a dominant victory. Marley's picks and predictions are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Diaz vs. Ferguson? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 279, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $13,000 on MMA in the past three years, and find out.
UFC 279 odds, fight card
Tony Ferguson (-135) vs. Nate Diaz (+115)
Khamzat Chimaev (-550) vs. Kevin Holland (+400)
Daniel Rodriguez (-155) vs. Li Jingliang (+130)
Irene Aldana (-180) vs. Macy Chiasson (+160)
Ion Cutelaba (-220) vs. Johnny Walker (+190)
Hakeem Dawodu (-210) vs. Julian Erosa (+180)
Jailton Almeida (-750) vs. Anton Turkalj (+525)
Jamie Pickett (-135) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (+115)
Jake Collier (-400) vs. Chris Barnett (+320)
Norma Dumont (-400) vs. Danyelle Wolf (+320)
Melissa Martinez (-160) vs. Elise Reed (+140)
Darian Weeks (-125) Yohan Lainesse (+105)