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