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Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev agreed to for UFC 279

Nate Diaz doesn’t have his UFC release, but he finally has a fight.

Diaz will meet Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, which takes place Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena, ESPN.com reported and a person with knowledge of the booking told MMA Fighting. Chimaev told ESPN.com via rep Majdi Shammas, “I am going to handle Nate Diaz’s funeral.”

ESPN.com confirmed the planned booking with UFC executive Hunter Campbell, who said verbal agreements are in place. According to the report, the fight marks the final obligation of Diaz’s current contract with the UFC after a long standoff with the promotion. The Stockton, Calif., star said he repeatedly asked to fight so he could complete his deal with the UFC and move on to other combat sports ventures. Diaz said the UFC in turn offered him several contracts with more money, but he had rejected them.

One week ago, Diaz appeared on The MMA Hour and said he would fight anyone. He also claimed Chimaev turned down a fight, reportedly set to take place at UFC 276, while Chimaev accused him of the same. Diaz accused the UFC of holding him “hostage” in his contract as it sought to book a trilogy against Conor McGregor.

UFC President Dana White denied the promotion was attempting to stall Diaz and said he would work on getting the veteran a fight, again citing what he said was an obligation to provide fighters three bouts per year in lieu of payment. Ariel Helwani reported a deadline to book Diaz of Oct. 19 before a sunset clause in his contract made him a free agent.

Helwani on Tuesday afternoon reported the fight is nearly booked and Diaz vs. Chimaev will serve as a five-round main event at UFC 279.

Diaz was most recently seen in the octagon at UFC 263, where he salvaged a lopsided beating against Leon Edwards with a last-second comeback that nearly knocked out the British vet, who’s now set to fight for the welterweight title against champ Kamaru Usman in a rematch.

Since a return from a three-year layoff following a loss to McGregor, Diaz is 1-2 in the octagon while Chimaev is unbeaten at 11-0. One of the brightest up-and-coming stars in the UFC’s history, the Chechen fighter has won five straight fights including a “Fight of the Year” candidate at UFC 273 against Gilbert Burns in which he was tested more than any other octagon bout.

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