UFC 266 Preview: Nick Diaz – Robbie Lawler 2

nick diaz, mma

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 266, we will see a rematch that is 17 years in the making. Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) will be making his highly anticipated return as he meets former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC).

These two first fought all the way back at UFC 47 in 2004. When they first fought, Lawler was the pretty big betting favorite especially if the fight stayed on the feet. However, that night, Nick Diaz showed the world how good he was when he knocked out Lawler on the feet.

Both men went on to have incredible careers. Nick Diaz walked away from the UFC and MMA back in 2015 after a failed post-fight drug test for marijuana saw him get suspended. Diaz has lost his last two fights but those came against Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre.

It’s clear that Robbie Lawler is near the end of his career. The former UFC welterweight champion has lost four fights in a row leading into UFC 266. In his last two fights, he really couldn’t get anything going against Neil Magny or Colby Covington. Lawler will look to show he’s still got something left in the tank and avenge his loss.

UFC 266 Prediction

To be completely honest, I’m really not sure how this fight is going to go. If I thought that Nick Diaz was still in his prime, I would really lean towards him at UFC 266. That said, there are a couple of things that are scaring me potentially away from picking Diaz.

First and foremost, the last minute weight change. These two were always supposed to fight at 170 pounds, however, this week Diaz requested that the UFC make it a middleweight fight. Ultimately, they did and Lawler agreed to the new weight.

Diaz has also been seen shadowboxing this week and he didn’t look good at all. All week long, I was leaning Diaz, but those things have concerned me. Lawler just isn’t the same guy he was when he was UFC champion which is why I’m having a hard time picking him.

I’ve been flip-flopping on this pick, but I’m going to stick with my initial instict despite everything going on. I think that Nick Diaz is going to be able to do enough with his boxing to be able to outlast Lawler over five rounds and edge out a decision.

Prediction: Nick Diaz by Decision

Volkanovski – Ortega and Shevchenko – Murphy booked for UFC 266

The UFC is planning a massive event for their September PPV. First we learned earlier today that the matchup between Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) and Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC) was finalized for UFC 266 on September 25th.

The rematch between the two legends will be a five-round, non-title, non-main event matchup. This is only the second time that the UFC has ever done this. Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards was the first matchup to get the non-main event five-round treatment.

Now, we have learned that the promotion is adding two title fights on top of it. Dana White confirmed with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion had finalized a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and top contender Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Both men are fresh off of their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter and they are ready to battle it out. Originally, the two men were supposed to fight back in March. However, the UFC featherweight champion came down with COVID and the fight got pushed back.

The delay ended up being a blessing in disguise as the two men coached on TUF which created more intrigue around the matchup. While this featherweight title fight is exciting, it’s not the only title fight that’s heading to UFC 266.

UFC flyweight title on the line

White also told ESPN this evening that the flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3), will be defending her title against Lauren Murphy (15-4). The matchup will be the co-main event of UFC 266.

Murphy has won five fights in a row on her way to earning this shot at Shevchenko. She’s also one of the few flyweights in the top ten that hasn’t had a chance to fight Shevchenko. On September 25th, she will get her chance.

Lauren Murphy is going to be a massive betting underdog and for good reason. You can easily make the argument that skill-for-skill, Valentina Shevchenko is the best female fighter on the planet. Honestly, it is something truly special to watch her compete inside the octagon.

The only losses she has in the UFC have come against Amanda Nunes at 135 pounds. Granted, I still maintain that I thought Shevchenko won the last time they fought. At flyweight, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0. During that stretch, she has four finishes and in her three decisions, she’s lost a grand total of two rounds.

UFC working on Nick Diaz – Robbie Lawler 2

Dana White broke some UFC news to TSN this afternoon. White told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter that the promotion was working on finalizing the return of Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC). Per White, Diaz would be returning in September to rematch against Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC).

The fight would co-headline a UFC event in September. Worth noting that the fight is not finalized yet and there is not a finalized date. However, we have known for some time that Nick Diaz was getting ready to return to the octagon and Lawler is the perfect opponent.

These two men first met back all the way at UFC 47 in 2004. Both men were extremely young and green at the time. Lawler was the betting favorite going into the fight, but that was the first time we really got to see the striking of Nick Diaz.

Diaz went on to knock Robbie Lawler out and shock everyone at UFC 47. Both men have since gone on to have incredible careers. Lawler rose all the way to the top of the sport by becoming the UFC welterweight champion.

That said, Ruthless is on a really tough stretch right now. After losing his title to Tyron Woodley back in 2016, Lawler has gone 1-4. The former champion has lost four-straight, but he will look to get back on track and avenge his UFC 47 loss in September.

UFC return for Nick Diaz

For years, Nick Diaz has teased a return to the UFC. We would see him training hard on social media and he would say that he wants to come back. However, a deal never got done and it’s been years since we’ve seen Diaz compete.

The last time Diaz stepped inside the octagon was UFC 183 in January of 2015. Prior to that, his last fight was March of 2013. Since 2012, Nick Diaz has only fought three times in the UFC.

Diaz is getting ready to turn 38 years old and he’s had years to let his body recover from all of his fights. Who knows, we might see the best Nick Diaz we’ve ever seen in September. Either way, the die-hards are going to be glued to their TVs to watch this rematch.

UFC getting closer to booking the return of Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) is getting closer and closer to his UFC return. Back in April, Diaz met with Dana White to talk about his fighting future. Diaz was interested in returning to the octagon, but Dana White wasn’t convinced that Diaz would actually fight.

In the past, Diaz has mentioned that he was interested in returning to the UFC. However, a deal never materialized to make it happen. With that, White was cautious to believe that Diaz would actually step into an octagon in 2021.

However, the UFC president seems to be changing his turn. In speaking with UFC Arabia, White talked about the return of Nick Diaz. White not only thinks things are moving in the right direction, but he is certain Diaz will fight this year.

“You never hear me say that, ever,” White said. “You say, ‘Do you think Nick Diaz will fight this year?,’ and ‘absolutely, positively not’ is what I usually say. The matchmakers have (spoken to Diaz) and I don’t know where we’re at on it, but it’s looking promising,” White said.

Nick Diaz’s UFC Return

Assuming Nick Diaz makes his UFC return this year, the attention then turns to potential opponents. In my opinion, there are a couple of options that should be really attractive to the promotion.

One of the options is former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC). Like Nick Diaz, Lawler is up there in age. Lawler is 39 while Nick Diaz is 37 years old. The two of them fought extremely early in their UFC careers with Diaz getting the knockout win.

Their first fight came all the way back in 2004. Both men are extremely popular and it would be a fun fight for the long-time fans of both men. The other option for the UFC would be a much bigger fight, but it might be hard to put together.

That fight would be pairing Nick Diaz against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). Masvidal has history with Diaz’s younger brother Nate and he also has his own history with Nick. Long before Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz fought, the UFC tried to book Nick Diaz against Masvidal.

However, that fight never came together. If Nick Diaz wants to get right back in the mix, Jorge Masvidal is the way to do it. Either one of those fights would excite me as a fight fan and I would be willing to bet that it’s two matchups the UFC is looking at.

UFC: Dana White meeting with Nick Diaz about his return

One of the most popular and polarizing figures in the UFC is gearing up for his return. Dana White said tonight that he is planning on meeting with Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) tonight about his return to the octagon. Diaz posted a cryptic message on Twitter earlier today hinting at a return.

We have not seen Nick Diaz inside the UFC since 2015. In that fight, Diaz lost a decision to Anderson Silva. However, the fight was later turned to a No Contest after Silva failed his drug test. Nick Diaz has only fought twice since 2013.

Even with the inactivity from competition, Diaz has never stopped training. He is extremely active on social media and is always posting training footage. Even with that, we haven’t seen him back in the UFC since the Silva fight. Diaz’s management said that he wanted to return this year.

However, we haven’t seen any serious momentum until now. White said at the UFC 261 post-fight press conference that Diaz wants to fight and he’s asking for a fight. When someone like Nick Diaz says he wants to fight, he’s likely going to get a fight.

Who will the UFC pair him with?

It will be extremely interesting to see how the UFC decides to play this. If they are wanting to ease Diaz back into competition, I think a great fight would be with Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC). Lawler is just 1-5 in his last six, but he’s still extremely popular.

These two fought way back at UFC 47 and Diaz won by knockout. The rematch of these two legends would be a ton of fun for fans. Another possibility could be against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). Masvidal just suffered a brutal knockout loss at UFC 261 at the hands of Kamaru Usman. 

Gamebred has history with the Diaz brothers and he was actually close to fighting Nick Diaz at one point. However, the fight fell through and Masvidal went on to fight Nate Diaz later on. After Masvidal’s loss, perhaps the UFC decides to have the two men fight. Would be a great opportunity for both.

There are a number of other fun options out there for Nick Diaz and the UFC. I’m just excited to hear that he’s going to be returning. This will definitely be a story to follow over the coming weeks.

After a disappointing return at UFC Fight Island 7, what’s next for Santiago Ponzinibbio?

One of the fighters that I was the most excited about seeing at UFC Fight Island 7 was Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4). Ponzinibbio had been out since November of 2018 with injuries, but he looked like a destroyer before those injuries.

He had won seven straight fights inside the octagon and looked like a guy who could become UFC welterweight champion. The promotion decided to give him Li Jingliang (18-6) in his return fight.

There are some fighters who can come back from long layoffs and not skip a beat. Then there are fighters who return to the UFC with serious ring rust. I was very curious to see where Ponzinibbio would fall on that scale.

One thing I knew is that he was facing an opponent who wasn’t going to let him get comfortable. Li is constantly throwing and constantly pushing forward which would throw Ponzinibbio right back into the fire after a couple of years off.

I figured Ponzinibbio would be able to land a big counter and win by knockout. Well, the exact opposite happened at UFC Fight Island 7. Ponzinibbio was extremely gun shy and he overextended on a right hand and got caught with a flush left hook that put him out.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 7?

It is extremely clear that Ponzinibbio was just not comfortable in his UFC return. He didn’t look confident and he looked extremely hesitant. He looked like a fighter who had been off for a couple of years.

To beat a guy like Li, he needed to be on his game and sharp. He wasn’t and he was knocked out as a result. So what does the UFC do with Ponzinibbio after this loss? Well, in reality they need to get him back in there as soon as possible.

Normally fighters want to take some time off after a knockout loss, but Ponzinibbio has been off enough. The best thing for him is to try and get right back in there so he can get going again. The guy has so much ability and talent to just waste on the sidelines.

The UFC could go a couple of different ways with Ponzinibbio. On one hand, they could give him someone like Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC). Sure, Lawler isn’t the same guy he used to be. However, he’s still got a big name with the fans.

If you want to reestablish Ponzinibbio, give him someone like Lawler who he can beat and restore his name. Or, they could give him someone like Alex Morono (18-7, 1 NC) who just lost to Anthony Pettis.

Sure, it’s not the sexiest fight in the world. However, it’s a fight that Ponzinibbio should be able to win. The UFC has options, but they need to give him a favorable matchup in his next fight.

Who should Nick Diaz fight in his UFC return?

This past week, we heard even more confirmation surrounding the potential UFC return of Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC). Diaz has been training hard and recently completed a mock training camp to see how he felt.

His manager said last week on his podcast that the likelihood that Diaz competes next year in the UFC is, “99.99%.” So by that measurement, the odds are pretty good that we are going to see Diaz return to the octagon next year.

Right now, the current plan for Diaz is to compete at welterweight. Diaz last competed in the UFC at middleweight when he fought Anderson Silva back in 2015. However, Diaz has spent the majority of his career at 170 pounds.

He became a world champion in Strikeforce in the welterweight division and fought for the UFC welterweight title twice. Before Nate Diaz’s fights with Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz was known as the needle mover in the family.

However, that has since changed with Nate becoming a star. Yet, there’s still a huge following for Nick Diaz and MMA fans are getting excited about his potential UFC return. So, who should Nick Diaz fight when he gets back into the cage?

Who should the UFC pair Nick Diaz with?

Diaz’s managers said that they were hoping to have an opponent nailed down by the first of the year. However, nothing is close to being finalized at the moment. It’s an interesting time for the UFC and their roster.

Last night, Dana White announced that the promotion would be making some serious cuts to their roster. He said some big names could go which could impact who the promotion would offer Nick Diaz upon his return.

For now, we will look at the current UFC roster and forget about the potential cuts. One matchup I really like is the rematch with Robbie Lawler. Lawler was supposed to fight Mike Perry recently, but had to pull out due to injury.

The plan is for Lawler to fight at the beginning of the year. I think a potential matchup between the two men makes a ton of sense. If you want to jump into the top ten, I think another option could be a Demian Maia.

Imagining those two grappling is a lot of fun. However, Maia would be a very good option if the UFC wants to get Diaz a win against a serious opponent right away. Maia isn’t a pushover, but if he can’t land takedowns, Diaz would light him up on the feet.

A win over Lawler or Maia would immediately re-establish Diaz in the welterweight division. I still would love to see the matchup between Diaz and Jorge Masvidal long-term, but I don’t see the UFC doing that without Diaz getting a win first.

UFC books Mike Perry – Tim Means

It’s been quite the year for Platinum Mike Perry (14-6). In terms of his UFC career, Perry got a big win over Mickey Gall back in June to get his career back on the right path. However, things outside the cage of made it tough on Perry.

One of the notable things that have occurred outside the UFC octagon was his bar fight with an elderly man. Then on top of that, he’s been accused of domestic violence. He also made headlines by having his girlfriend be his only corner member in his last UFC fight.

Previously, Perry was supposed to take on former UFC champion, Robbie Lawler. The fight was supposed to take place on the main card of UFC 255. However, last week, Lawler had to pull out of the fight with an injury. 

Perry is itching to get back into the cage and he started calling fighters out including Khamzat Chimaev. However, the UFC has settled on an opponent for Perry at UFC 255. Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Perry will be taking on The Dirty Bird, Tim Means (30-12-1, 1 NC).

Solid replacement from the UFC

Means is coming off of a win back in August against Laureano Staropoli. Means is 3-3 in his last six fights, but he usually puts up a good fight whenever he’s in the cage. He should give Perry a very good matchup at UFC 255.

Both men will be coming into this contest looking to win their second consecutive fight in the UFC. If Perry is able to win, I think the UFC could look at re-booking the fight between him and Lawler. Perhaps someone else on the fringe top 15.

Given the striking skills of Tim Means, I would think Perry will likely try to lean on his wrestling skills in this matchup. Although, we know that Perry loves to stand in trade. However, the much longer and precise Means could edge him on striking for points. Should be a pretty good matchup.

UFC: Robbie Lawler – Mike Perry fight is off

Robbie Lawler

One of the more exciting bouts on the UFC 255 card is off. Per the official Twitter account of Mike Perry (14-6), Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC) has pulled out of their fight with an undisclosed injury. This report was then confirmed by MMA Fighting.

This was expected to be a fun fight for UFC fans. Lawler has long been a fan favorite and Mike Perry is one to always bring the fight. The former UFC welterweight champion was looking to snap his current four fight losing streak.

While Perry on the other hand was looking to win his second fight in a row this year. A win over Lawler would have been the biggest win in the career of Platinum. There is no word yet on how long Lawler will be out due to his injury.

Mike Perry has made it known that he would still like to fight on the November card. He called out Khamzat Chimaev for a fight at UFC 255. Chimaev of course was just booked to headline a fight night against Leon Edwards on December 19th. 

The UFC’s Options

In addition to Chimaev, Perry also called out Darren Till who is scheduled to face Jack Hermansson on December 5th. It’s clear that Perry is itching to get back into the UFC with all of the negative press going on around him.

I think that the UFC will look at potential opponents that make sense for Perry. Assuming that Lawler is going to be out for an extended period of time. If Lawler can bounce back quick, the UFC could always look to book the fight at a later date, perhaps in December.

However, if the promotion needs to find a new opponent, they’ll need to find one that will generate some interest. Potentially a good matchup would be with Niko Price (14-4-1, 1 NC). Price is an exciting fighter who is coming off of a draw against Cowboy Cerrone.

Not sure what the UFC is going to do with Perry, but Price could be an option. I would again advise that the promotion looks for someone who would make a fun fight with Perry to keep the energy level the same for his spot on the card.

UFC: Is Carlos Condit – Nick Diaz 2 the fight to make?

Carlos Condit

This past weekend at UFC Fight Island 4, former interim champion, Carlos Condit (31-13), got back in the win column after a five fight losing streak. The former champion hadn’t won since 2015, and his back was against the wall.

However, Condit came out with a dominant performance over former Ultimate Fighter winning, Court McGee (19-10). Condit dropped McGee in the first round and cruised to a decision. A massive UFC victory for the Natural Born Killer.

Earlier in the week, Condit expressed interest in fighting Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) if he were to win on Saturday night. The two men have some history that dates back to UFC 143 which was almost nine years ago.

That night, Diaz and Condit fought to a decision for the UFC interim welterweight title. The decision was razor close, and a lot of people felt that Diaz won the fight. In the end, Condit walked away with the decision and the interim title.

Diaz recently announced that he was training and getting ready for a UFC comeback. There has not been any progressive talks between him and the UFC on who he would face upon his return in 2021. However, Condit is ready to throw his name into the mix.

Should the UFC book it?

When Diaz’s team announced that he would be returning, they said he had his eyes on some of the top fights in the division. One of those fights did not include what happened Saturday night between Condit and Court McGee.

Diaz looked to be more interested in the guys at the top of the division. However, a fight with Condit could be a good way for the UFC to reintroduce Diaz to competition. It’s a winnable fight for Diaz, and there is some name recognition there.

Not too mention the fact that Diaz could get his revenge in that matchup. We already know that Condit is down for the rematch. I’m not sure that Diaz would sign up for this, but if I’m the UFC, it’s worth offering out to both parties.

If Condit doesn’t get the fight against Diaz, I think the next reasonable fight to look at is the Robbie Lawler – Mike Perry fight taking place in November. Condit had a Fight of the Year with Lawler so that would make for an excellent rematch. A fight against Matt Brown could also be a possibility.