How to bet Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz

The UFC returns to Las Vegas this Saturday night for UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena, with the main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET. There’s no denying that a pay-per-view card’s week beats differently. Media coverage is mounting, giving us more insight into the minds of the promotion’s biggest stars before they enter the Octagon. As a bettor, it’s always valuable to get more information, but it’s important that the narration doesn’t cloud your handicap. Winners are decided by a fighter’s ability to match their strengths against their opponent’s weaknesses, not the words that lead to the fight.

Pay-per-view cards almost always feature title fights, so the promotion’s decision to host the event with Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz speaks volumes about both fighters. The main event serves the UFC’s dual motives of showcasing their undefeated title contender while squeezing the last drop of power from their longtime needle mover at Diaz. The high ratings make it difficult to find valuable angles, but I’ve rounded up a few unique ways to get some action into the main event.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - APRIL 9: Khamzat Chimaev of Russia beats Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their welterweight bout during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 9, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Khamzat Chimaev (left), who beats Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, is a huge favorite over Nate Diaz. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Khamzat Chimaev (-1200) vs. Nate Diaz (+725)

In that case, let’s get straight to the point. It’s not Chimaev’s 11-0 record that makes him the all-time favorite against Diaz. Chimaev’s meteoric rise through the ranks began by winning his first two bouts in the span of 10 days. In both bouts, Chimaev mauled his opponents by earning breaks in each. He has massive physical advantages over Diaz, who has struggled with stronger grapplers throughout his career. Crucial losses came from Diaz when he’s at a size disadvantage, and Chimaev has the raw power for rag-doll fighters in higher weight classes.

This is a stylistic matchup that’s as bad as can be for Diaz and gives Chimaev a clear path to an easy win. With a moneyline price this wide, the betting angle will determine when or how Chimaev wins. I have a best bet for everyone, plus a support for anyone who wants to support Diaz.

Khamzat Chimaev by submission (+225)

Chimaev’s elimination of Li Jingliang at UFC 267 in just three minutes is the fight that forced him into title talks. He dragged Jingliang to the canvas and fought him relentlessly before choking him for victory. Chimaev beat his opponent 25-0, but more importantly, he wanted to finish by submission. It’s been the win method in three of his last six wins, so +225 is enough to get me on board. Many expect the fight to follow the same script as his efficient defeat of Jingliang. Let’s bet it ends the same way.

Alternating over 2.5 rounds (+100)

Any UFC bettor can attest that fighters don’t always take the easiest route to victory. Sometimes they just want to stand, bang and give the crowd the kind of fight they paid good money for. Chimaev’s insane war with Gilbert Burns was a perfect example. Remember that the purpose of this fight is to showcase Chimaev. So it’s not out of the question that he’ll spend a few rounds getting on his feet with Diaz, especially if he doesn’t see his opponent as a legitimate threat to take out.

If that’s the case, I don’t think Diaz will be in any rush to act in the bag. Instead, we’ll see a lot of circling, taunting, and showboating, stirring up the crowd and prolonging the fight. You can get the 1.5+ rounds at (-140) at BetMGM now, or take it a step further by waiting for the alternative rounds market to open at around the same money. If Chimaev is fighting with urgency, I’d rather be on the submission prop at +225 than the floor.

Nate Diaz by submission (+1600)

The legend of Diaz in the UFC was born in 2008, the second he lured Kurt Pellegrino into a triangle choke and turned off the cameras while securing a highly unlikely win. That’s when the UFC realized that Diaz had the stamina and submission skills to stay alive in any fight, regardless of the physical disadvantages he faced. It would be great to see Stockton’s favorite son end his UFC career the way it started, defying all odds. Diaz won’t KO Chimaev, so this is the most likely outcome if Diaz manages to upset. If you want to throw an arrow at Diaz, do so at +1600.

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