Diaz vs. Chimaev: Closer Than It Seems, but Still Not Close

  • Nate Diaz opened as a +775 underdog to Khamzat Chimaev.
  • Diaz’s odds have stabilized at around +650 as his last fight was recontextualized after Leon Edwards’ championship win.
  • Khamzat Chimaev has gone from -1100 odds to -850 odds to win the fight.

LAS VEGAS – Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev’s matchup at UFC 279 is one of the most lopsided matchups in the history of the UFC.

Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev Odds

  • Nate Diaz +650
  • Khamzat Chimaev -850

However, these odds are actually closer than they were when the fight was originally announced.

Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev Opening Odds

  • Nate Diaz +775
  • Khamzat Chimaev -1100

At the time of the fight announcement, Diaz’s most recent fight was a decision loss to Leon Edwards, the challenger to Kamaru Usman that everyone expected to lose.

Except Edwards won. He’s now the Welterweight Champion of the UFC, and Diaz went a full five rounds with him, complete with a late comeback that could have won him the fight.

This seemed to stabilize the odds, which were approaching all-time favorite levels. Instead of being the most favored fighter in UFC history, Chimaev is now merely one of the most favored fighters in UFC history.

Ronda Rousey was north of -1500 odds when she fought Bethe Correia, and it looks like Khamzat’s odds will stabilize far below that.

Still, a -850 favorite is nothing to sneeze at. Chimaev is 11-0, and is coming off of a war against the former second-ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns – a war that Chimaev, who had barely ever been hit in the UFC, won.

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Even Diaz recognizes that the UFC is effectively using his star power to make Chimaev a household name.

“This fight isn’t even about this guy,” Diaz said. “It’s about ‘making’ this guy. And I’m like, ‘OK, you guys aren’t going to let me go? Because I’m the best fighter here? And you’re not gonna let me go unless it’s off of somebody? I gotta make somebody for you? Well, alright, you’re welcome. Let’s make you.’ You’re welcome, UFC.”

The idea behind the scenes seems to be that feeding Diaz to Chimaev will bolster Chimaev’s standing in the eyes of casual fans, and the odds reflect that the online sportsbooks believe that the match will serve this purpose.

Before Leon Edwards’ remarkable head-kick knockout of Kamaru Usman, that seemed to be the most likely course the fight would take.

However, since that fight, the sportsbooks have realized that laying +800 odds on Nate Diaz is still a bit iffy, no matter how good his opponent is.

Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev face off on UFC 279, which will be available on PPV. The PPV card starts at 10:00 p.m. EDT.