Marlon Moraes continued to fall at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a bantamweight matchup between “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) and Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Both of these men entered the contest going in completely opposite directions.

Dvalishvili was souring heading into UFC 266 and looked like he was ready to take the next step into serious title contention. Meanwhile, Marlon Moraes has been tail spinning ever since he lost to Henry Cejudo in a battle for the UFC bantamweight championship.

The fight on Saturday couldn’t have started better for Moraes. Moraes was lighting Dvalishvili up with powerful kicks and then he landed vicious shots that had Dvalishvili out on his feet. For a moment, it looked like a Moraes finish was in the bag.

However, Dvalishvili somehow survived and the fight continued at UFC 266. Once Moraes didn’t get the finish, you could actually see the desire and fight inside of him completely leave his body.

After nearly finishing Dvalishvili, Moraes almost got finished by Dvalishvili late in the first round. The rest of the fight was completely dominated by The Machine and Dvalishvili went on to score a second round TKO.

What’s next for Moraes after UFC 266?

Marlon Moraes lost his UFC debut to Raphael Assuncao (27-8). After that loss, he won four straight which included avenging that loss against Assuncao. He also knocked out Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera during that stretch.

Those four wins gave him a UFC title shot against Henry Cejudo. In that fight, Moraes dominated the opening round. However, when it became clear that Cejudo wasn’t going away, Moraes started to break.

Cejudo would go on to stop Moraes in the third round. After that, Moraes got a win over Jose Aldo, however, the majority people thought he lost. Then, he was knocked out in back-to-back fights by Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font.

Those losses led him to UFC 266. Again, Moraes started great, but broke when he couldn’t get the finish. There are spots in Moraes’ fights where he looks like one of the best in the world. However, if his first gameplan doesn’t work, he completely falls apart.

There’s so much talent there, but he’s becoming so predictable. If you can survive the onslaught early, you’re going to finish him more than likely. He has some real soul searching to do ahead of his next UFC fight.

In terms of what’s next, I’m honestly not sure. He’s dropped to tenth in the rankings and the only fight that I can think of that makes sense is Raphael Assuncao again. The two are 1-1 in their series and the trilogy makes a ton of sense.

Now, Assuncao is fighting Ricky Simon in December. Regardless of that result, I think Assuncao should be the fight for Moraes.

After successful title defense at UFC 266, what’s next for Alexander Volkanovski?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 266, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defended his featherweight title against Brian Ortega (15-2, 1 NC). Ortega was getting his second crack at UFC gold while Volkanovski was trying to defend for the second time.

When this fight was first announced, I really liked Ortega’s chances. The Brian Ortega that fought Chan Sung Jung last year looked like he could be the guy to take out Volkanovski. Or, so I thought.

Volkanovski has had an interesting run so for as UFC champion. He did the unthinkable when he defeated Max Holloway (22-6) to win the title. Then he barely edged out Holloway in the second fight to retain.

However, the split decision nature of the second fight has casted some doubts regarding his status as UFC champion. Well, Saturday night he did a pretty damn good job of silencing those who casted doubt.

From the opening bell, Volkanovski controlled the fight. Sensational feints and pinpoint striking had Ortega flustered throughout the fight. However, there was one moment where the fight almost went to Ortega.

Ortega locked in a mounted guillotine in the third round. It was so deep that I was tapping from my chair at home. However, the UFC champion gutted it out and survived. Ultimately, he won a lopsided unanimous decision.

What’s next after UFC 266?

Volkanovski now finds himself in an interesting spot after UFC 266. To me, the clear option for his next opponent is the trilogy with Max Holloway. However, Holloway has a fight with Yair Rodriguez in November so there’s likely going to be a layoff for the champ.

Nobody is expecting Holloway to have troubles with Yair Rodriguez so I think the plan is already in place for the UFC to do the trilogy. However, there could be an outside the box idea that could get considered.

Henry Cejudo (16-2) continues to tease a comeback. The former two-division UFC champion and Olympic Gold Medalist retired last year after defending his bantamweight crown. He’s talked about his desire to capture a belt in three weight classes which has never been done.

I do not expect the UFC to go in this direction, but I wouldn’t dismiss it either. If Volkanovski wants to fight relatively close to the beginning of the year, they might have to go a different direction than Holloway. That direction could be the King of Cringe.

What’s next for Valentina Shevchenko after UFC 266?

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 266, Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) defended her flyweight title against Lauren Murphy (15-5). Murphy was not intimidated and really believed she could give the champion troubles on Saturday night.

However, Shevchenko maintained that this defense would be like all of the rest. She said that she would win no matter what at UFC 266 and walk out of the arena with the flyweight title.

Well, she was right again. UFC 266 was another one-sided fight from Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko never allowed Murphy to get off any offense throughout the evening. I think you could count on both hands how many strikes Murphy landed in the fight.

Shevchenko’s speed and strength was just too much for the challenger. In the fourth round, Shevchenko really started to pour it on and hurt Murphy badly. The champion unleashed vicious combinations that ultimately wilted the challenger. Shevchenko got her hand raised and retained her title by fourth round TKO.

What’s next after UFC 266?

There is nobody in the UFC’s flyweight division that can compete with Valentina Shevchenko. It’s very clear that nobody even has a prayer against her out of the options for her.

Amanda Nunes (21-4), rightfully so, is considered to be the greatest of all time. However, she’s been pushed in fights. We’ve seen Germaine De Randamie have success against Nunes.

But the biggest challenge Nunes has ever faced is Shevchenko. These two have fought twice before the UFC started the flyweight division. Shevchenko is smaller, but that didn’t really matter in their fight.

The first fight, it was clear that Nunes won. However, the second fight generated a lot of controversy. Nunes edged Shevchenko by split decision at UFC 215, but the world has been split on that fight. 20 media members scored the fight and they were perfectly split 10-10.

Personally, I scored the fight for Shevchenko. While it’s not popular to say, I think Shevchenko is the best overall female fighter in the UFC and I believe it’s time to set up the third fight between these two.

Now, Nunes has to win her fight in December against Julianna Pena. However, let’s be real, she’s not losing to Julianna Pena. After she wins, it’s time to book the trilogy. This is the fight every one wants and it’s the fight that should happen to truly determine who’s the best in the world.

Will Nick Diaz fight again after UFC 266?

This past Saturday at UFC 266, we saw the return of Nick Diaz (26-10, 2 NC). Diaz hadn’t competed in almost seven years but finally returned to the octagon after years away to take on Robbie Lawler (29-15, 1 NC).

This fight was a rematch that was seventeen years in the making. When they first fought, Lawler was a massive favorite, but Diaz shocked everyone when he knocked him out. Originally, despite the lengthy layoff, Diaz was the favorite leading up to UFC 266.

However, the betting lines started to change the week of the fight. Diaz requested that the fight change from 170 to 185 pounds. When he appeared at fight week, he didn’t appear to be in the kind of shape we were accustomed to seeing Diaz in.

He looked very soft and just didn’t look right. The fight at UFC 266 didn’t start out well for him as Lawler poured it on immediately. However, Diaz held his own and even found his own groove where he was landing a lot of shots on Lawler.

You could tell that the boxing technique was still there. However, the cardio was not and the speed was not. He just didn’t look like a guy who was fully prepared and he got stopped in the third round.

What’s next after UFC 266?

Diaz and his camp have alluded to a number of issues leading up to the fight. He parted ways with folks in his membership team and hinted that he was essentially forced into this fight with Lawler.

Teammate and close friend Jake Shields said that Diaz only had six weeks to prepare. When you’ve been off for more than six years, six weeks is not enough time and it showed at UFC 266. Diaz even said in the post-fight interview that he knew he had a loss coming.

So the question becomes, will we see Nick Diaz in the UFC again? Well, that remains to be seen. On one hand, he said that he was happy to be back, but on the other hand, he just didn’t look the same.

If he does decide to fight, I think he needs to wait a bit and really make that he has a full three-month camp to prepare. If the UFC gives him another fight, I could see someone like Donald Cerrone (36-16, 2 NC) being a good candidate.

Cerrone has history with Nick’s younger brother Nate and he’s also in a very similar career position. If you want a little more high profile, perhaps a Jorge Masvidal (35-15) fight could come to fruition depending on the result of Masvidal’s next fight.

Is Dan Hooker – Beneil Dariush the fight to make after UFC 266?

This past Saturday during the prelims of UFC 266, Dan Hooker (21-10) made his return as he took on Nasrat Haqparast (13-4). The fight was considered a risky one by Hooker considering his placement in the division.

Hooker is a top ten lightweight in the UFC and Haqparast is not ranked, yet, he’s viewed as very dangerous. However, Hooker just wanted to get back in the cage after suffering back-to-back losses.

Both men had visa issues getting into the US for this fight, but both showed up on weight for UFC 266 and put on a performance. From the moment the fight started, Hooker was the one pressing forward.

When Hooker lost to Michael Chandler, he was constantly backing up. He made the adjustment in this fight and he was the one putting the pressure on Haqparast. Hooker did eat some shots, but he just kept coming forward.

I was incredibly impressed with how well-rounded of a performance Hooker had at UFC 266. He had good pressure, good striking, and mixed in some beautiful takedowns. All of this added up to a lopsided decision win for The Hangman.

Is Dariush next after UFC 266?

After his big win to get back on track at UFC 266, there was one name on the mind of Dan Hooker and that was Beneil Dariush (21-4-1). Dariush is currently ranked third in the UFC’s lightweight division, but he’s without an opponent.

After picking up six straight wins, Dariush finally got his first big fight against tony Ferguson back in May. Dariush put on an incredible performance as he dominated and controlled Tony Ferguson for fifteen minutes.

Considering where everyone’s at in the division, Hooker makes the most sense for Dariush next. Islam Makhachev is the only guy near Dariush, but he’s tentatively scheduled to face Raphael Dos Anjos at UFC 267. That fight is in trouble due to a knee injury to RDA.

If that fight falls through, perhaps Dariush takes on Makhachev. However, I think a fight with Hooker would make more sense for him. Hooker has a decent following and it’s a better fight for Dariush stylistically. It’s what Hooker wants and it’s the right fight for Dariush. Sign me up!

What’s next for Brian Ortega after UFC 266?

Brian Ortega, UFC

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 266, the featherweight title was on the line. After coaching on The Ultimate Fighter, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defended his UFC title against Brian “T-City” Ortega (15-2, 1 NC).

I was incredibly intrigued by what kind of fight we would see from both men. Somehow, Volkanovski always seems to fly under the radar. Probably considering the fact that most believe he lost his second fight to Max Holloway.

Nevertheless, he holds two wins over Holloway and a win over Jose Aldo. He was the slight favorite, but there were a lot of people high on Brian Ortega. To be honest, I was one of them.

After Ortega’s performance against The Korean Zombie, I was convinced he was going to win the UFC title. However, over the last couple of weeks, I changed my pick leading up to the fight because I overlook Volkanovski so much and I’m glad I switched.

Ortega was game, but all night Volkanovski was a step ahead. However, there were two moments where Ortega almost got the win. In the third round, Ortega locked in a deep mounted guillotine choke.

Volkanovski admitted that he thought he was going to lose the belt, but he survived. Later in the round, Ortega almost got a triangle choke but against the champion slipped out. At the end of the day, Ortega came close, but Volkanovski retained at UFC 266.

What’s next for T-City after UFC 266?

Brian Ortega has now had two shots at UFC gold and he’s been brutalized in both of those fights. Max Holloway beat him up so bad that the doctors had to call a stop to the action.

The doctors almost had to call a stop to the fight on Saturday as well. However, despite how swollen and bloody Ortega got, he never stopped trying. In fact, he pushed forward and threw everything he had in the final round on Saturday night.

To me, it’s clear that Brian Ortega is not the best featherweight in the UFC, but he might be the toughest. His heart is unmatched and he wasn’t going anywhere despite the damage he took from the champion.

After this loss, he’s going to need to take some time off. However, when he’s ready to return, I think he’ll be right back in the mix. The Max Holloway – Yair Rodriguez fight is being looked at as a title eliminator in November.

Personally, I think a great fight would be with him and whoever loses that fight. That would give him enough time off, but it would also give him someone in a similar position. That’s what I think the UFC should do next for Ortega.

Alexander Volkanovski defeats Brian Ortega in a classic at UFC 266

In the main event of UFC 266, we saw a showdown for the featherweight championship. The undisputed UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) was back to defend his title against “T-City” Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Alexander Volkanovski lost his fourth professional fight which occurred in 2013. He hasn’t lost since. The champion is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC which includes two victories over Max Holloway. Volkanovski was hoping to add Ortega to his hit list.

That said, Brian Ortega was not going to be an easy challenge to overcome. T-City looks like a completely different fighter than he was a few of years ago when he got his first crack at the UFC title against Max Holloway.

After nearly a two year layoff due to injuries, Ortega returned last October and outclassed Chan Sung Jung. In that fight he showed tremendous improvement in his striking. He believes he’s now ready to become the UFC featherweight champion.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 main event started with a touch of the gloves. Volkanovski throws a low kick to start the striking. Ortega looking to strike from range here in the opening minute. Body kick lands from the champion.

Low kick from Volkanovski and Ortega comes up top with a head kick attempt. Ortega pushes forward with a couple of nice jabs. A nice jab from Volkanovski as Ortega enters range. Big overhand right from the champion.

Nice low kick lands for Ortega. Ortega lands a jab that looked like it wobbled the legs of Volkanovski briefly, but he appears okay. Volkanovski goes right back to pressuring and lands some nice leg kicks.

Body kick from Volkanovski and he lands a check left hook. Jab lands for Ortega. Stiff jab from Volkanovski. Big right hand lands for Volkanovski. Both men are bleeding here near the end of the first.

Nice combination lands for Volkanovski and Ortega lands a nice leg kick. Body kick from the champion and Ortega lands a couple of nice straights. Ortega lands a couple of nice shots near the end of the first, but I have it 1-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 2

Both men had their moments in the first at UFC 266 and neither gained a ton of momentum. The second starts with another touch of the gloves and Volkanovski goes right back to the pressure with low kicks.

Body kick from Volkanovski is countered by a beautiful combination from Ortega. Low kick from the champion lands and Ortega counters with a jab. Left hook from Volkanovski. Powerful leg kick from Ortega spins around Volkanovski.

Volkanovski lands a body kick flush. He steps in but Ortega lands a nice combination to back him off. Good lead hook from the champion. Volkanovski stepping up the pressure here.

Nice right hand by Ortega lands but Volkanovski is just plotting forward. Jab from Ortega countered by two leg kicks from Volkanovski. Huge combination lands for the champion and he’s getting more aggressive here.

Powerful leg kick from Ortega backs Volkanovski up for a second. However, the champion keeps moving forward. Another good 1-2 lands for Volkanovski. Jab from Volkanovski countered by a leg kick from Ortega. The second ends nd I think it’s 2-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 3

Brian Ortega has had moments, but he needs to win this round. They touch gloves to start the third and Ortega lands a jab to start the striking. Good low kick counter from Volkanovski. Volkanovski lands another kick and that one seemed to hurt Ortega a little.

Ortega tries to counter but doesn’t land. Pressure from the champion who’s looking for that leg kick. Ortega steps in and eats a massive combination from Volkanovski. Ortega seems a little wobbly here and Volkanovski is putting a ton of pressure on him.

However, a big combination from Ortega stops the pressure. Nice overhand shot from Volkanovski. Ortega is really busted up now, but he comes back and lands a good shot. Big left hand lands for Volkanovski.

Nice left hook lands for Ortega but his nose looks smashed. Nice jab from the champion. Volkanovski slips and Ortega takes big advantage. Ortega locks in a mounted guillotine and it’s very tight.

The champion almost seems out but somehow survives. Volkanovski then gets top position and he’s pouring it on Ortega badly. Then Ortega locks in a triangle choke and it’s very deep.

Once again the champion survives and pushes through. Volkanovski starts raining down massive shots to the end the round. Goodness gracious what a round at UFC 266.

Round 4

Entering the fourth and the fans are on their feet at UFC 266. The doctors almost stopped it in between rounds but we fight on. Volkanovski immediately on the pressure to start the fourth round.

Low kick lands for the champion. Two straight jabs from Volkanovski. Ortega is still trying to recover a bit. The challenger is plotting forward now and lands a nice right hand. Good jab from Volkanovski finds the mark.

Powerful left hook lands from the champion. Ortega gets a body lock and gets a takedown. The challenger immediately tries to jump on another choke, but he can’t lock it in. Volkanovski ends up on top and the ground and pound starts.

Big elbows from Volkanovski landing here. Ortega is still trying to attack with submissions, but he seems really exhausted here. Big shots landing from the champion. Volkanovski postures up and he’s landing massive shots on Ortega.

The referee is looking at stopping this one. More big shots from Volkanovski land. Volkanovski backs up and lets Ortega stand up. Ortega looks out on his feet, but he makes it to the end of the round. 4-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 266 and Ortega is going to need a miracle here. They touch gloves and here we go. Ortega pushes forward and tries to land a big shot but nothing home.

Head kick attempt from Ortega and Volkanovski is pressing forward. Big jab from Volkanovski lands. He doubles up on it which forces a takedown attempt from Ortega. Volkanovski backs him up and lands an elbow against the fence.

Nice little right hook lands for Ortega. Ortega coming on a little here the fifth and he’s really trying. Volkanovski lands a nice combination which slows him down a bit. Ortega is now the one pushing forward as Volkanovski is slowing a bit.

Big right hand over the top from Ortega. These two are just standing and trading. Nice uppercut and right hand from Ortega. Now it’s Volkanovski who starts pressuring the challenger.

Nice jab lands for Volkanovski. Flying knee to the body lands for Ortega. Ortega is wearing damage but he’s just walking forward through everything. They both trading big shots. Ortega goes all out in the final seconds but can’t find the finish. He will win the final round, but not the fight.

Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-46)

Valentina Shevchenko demolishes Lauren Murphy at UFC 266

In the co-main event of UFC 266, we saw a battle for the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed queen Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) was defending her crown against a very hungry challenger in “Lucky” Lauren Murphy (15-4).

There is a very good argument for Valentina Shevchenko being the best pound for pound fighter in terms of skillset on the UFC roster. This includes both women and men. She is tremendous wherever the fight goes and she’s become so dominant that it’s impressive when she loses a round.

Overall, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0 at 125 pounds in the UFC. Every time we see her fight, she seems to improve which should be terrifying for fellow flyweights. However, a flyweight that was not intimidated was the challenger, Lauren Murphy.

Lauren Murphy has quite the inspiring story. She didn’t grow up a martial artist, but just decided that she wanted to compete and she dedicated her life to it. After starting her UFC career 2-4, Murphy has won five straight fights to earn this shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 co-main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Murphy takes the center to start things and Shevchenko starts measuring her up. Low kick lands for Shevchenko and she also lands a nice right overhand.

Body kick lands for Shevchenko. Shevchenko holding the center here and Murphy is circling on the outside. Murphy tries to step in but Shevchenko evades the strikes. A lot of heat being thrown by the UFC champion early on.

Powerful body kick and a few powerful punches behind it lands for Valentina. Murphy tries to answer but nothing lands. Huge step in left straight for Shevchenko. Another left for Shevchenko and a body kick behind it.

Beautiful combination lands for the champion. Murphy lands her first strike of the fight and it’s a body kick. However, Shevchenko lands a big combination behind it. Another big combination from the champion. Powerful left hand lands for Shevchenko.

Right hook now from Shevchenko and Murphy is starting to swell up. Spinning backfist from the champion and then she comes up with a headkick. Dominant opening round by the UFC champ who ends the round with a big takedown.

Round 2

Entering the second here at UFC 266 and I don’t know how in the world Lauren Murphy is supposed to win this fight. The second starts with Murphy coming forward but she’s looking very gun shy here.

A clinch exchange here and Murphy actually gets the better position. She pushes the champion against the fence and she’s trying to get a takedown here. Murphy working hard here for a takedown, but Shevchenko is defending well and separates.

Good combination lands for Shevchenko. Murphy tries to push forward but eats a big right from the champ. Good jab lands for Shevchenko and then she lands back-to-back body kicks.

Murphy tries to get a takedown but Shevchenko gets the body lock and throws Murphy to the ground. Shevchenko settles into the halfguard with two minutes left in the round.

The champion starts trying to pass and you have to think she’s going to try and get to her crucifix position. However, Murphy defends well. The round comes to a close and it’s another dominant one for the UFC champion.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 266 and Murphy really needs to get something going. Shevchenko opens in the center and she starts the striking with a nice kick. Murphy tries to come forward but eats a crisp counter hook from the champion.

Every time that Murphy advances she’s getting clipped by Shevchenko. Spinning back kick just misses from the champion. Big 1-2 lands for Shevchenko. Huge counter right hand lands for Shevchenko on a Murphy entry.

Two big kicks land for Shevchenko. Another brutal combination lands from the champion. Front kick to the body lands for Murphy and Shevchenko responds with multiple big shots.

Big leg kick and a nice 1-2 behind it from the champion. Shevchenko keeps throwing head kicks that are just missing the mark. Big jab from the champion. Murphy tries a superman punch and doesn’t come remotely close.

Shevchenko responds with a big combination. Brutal body kick lands for Shevchenko. Powerful leg kick lands for the champion. Another dominant round in the books for the UFC flyweight queen.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round and Shevchenko has bagged all three rounds at UFC 266. Pressure from the champion to start the fourth and she starts the striking with two good low kicks.

Murphy responds with a nice body kick. 1-2 and a big right hook lands for Shevchenko. Shevchenko pressing on the gas here a big more in the fourth and she lands a few really nice left hands.

Body kick from the champion finds it’s home. 1-2 followed by a big calf kick from Shevchenko. Nice body kick from Shevchenko and then she comes up top with a front kick that just misses.

The champion is locked in and she rocks Murphy badly. Shevchenko pouring it on here and Murphy is just trying to survive. Murphy is able to grab ahold of Shevchenko on the ground and it looks like she’s going to survive but she was hurt badly.

Big elbows from Shevchenko and now she’s pouring it on again. The referee stops the action and once again, pure dominance from the flyweight queen.

Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy by TKO – Round 4

Robbie Lawler stops Nick Diaz in the third at UFC 266

Robbie Lawler

On the main card of UFC 266, we saw a rematch that was 17 years in the making. Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) was making his highly anticipated return as he met 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.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The talking starts immediately from Nick Diaz as the UFC 266 middleweight contest kicks off. Immediately pressure from Lawler and he’s landing big shots on Diaz early. Diaz is looking slow here and Lawler is ripping him to the body.

Nice 1-2 lands for Robbie Lawler. Good hook to the body lands for Diaz and Lawler answers. Good 1-2 lands for Nick Diaz and then he lands a body kick. Two good straight shots land for Diaz. Another good rip to the body for Diaz.

Nice left hook lands for Lawler. 1-2 from Diaz finds it’s home again. Now it’s Diaz pushing forward but he lands a good shot from Lawler. Diaz is mixing speeds really well and he’s clipping Lawler.

Lots of volume from Diaz. Huge shot to the body for Diaz  and Lawler is returning much. Another good shot to the body lands for Lawler and Diaz responds with a big combination.

Lawler has Diaz against the fence but Diaz appears to be using it to counter. Nice combinations from Diaz and these two are just boxing. Big moments for both, but I lean towards Nick Diaz based on the second half of the round at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 266 and both can’t wait to get back at it. Lawler starts with pressure immediately and Diaz welcomes it. Good shot to the body lands for Diaz and Lawler responds with a counter.

Good combination lands for Nick Diaz, but a big body kick lands for Lawler and that seemed to hurt Diaz. Pressure from Lawler but Diaz goes right back to work with the boxing combinations.

Both men trade jabs and Lawler is chasing Diaz here. Diaz is landing his short shots and Lawler comes over the top. Another good combination from Diaz who is just constantly throwing.

Nice left hand lands for Robbie Lawler. Diaz gets some space and throws a little more power on a combination as Lawler comes in. More pressure from Lawler who rips to the body.

Robbie Lawler is landing very well near the end of the second round. Body kick lands for Diaz and Lawler counters with a big hook to the body. Big combination and Lawler comes forward to end the round. Great second round from Lawler at UFC 266.

Round 3

This fight is all squared on my scorecard at UFC 266 after two. Lawler starts the third round with immediate pressure just like he has the entire fight. Diaz opens the striking with a few nice shots to the body.

Lawler counters with a combination, but Diaz counters well. A few big shots land for Lawler and Diaz drops to one knee. It appears that Diaz might’ve hurt his knee but Lawler hurt him. Lawler backs away and Diaz doesn’t get up. The fight is called and Lawler gets the win.

Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz by TKO – Round 3

Curtis Blaydes uses takedowns to defeat Rozenstruik at UFC 266

Curtis Blaydes, UFC

On the main card of UFC 266, we saw a big time showdown in the heavyweight division. Two of the very best in the world went head-to-head as “Bigi Boy” Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2) took on Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (14-3).

The two top UFC heavyweights were looking to pickup a big win that could put them in title contention. If you want to look at one of the very best heavyweights in the world who hasn’t fought for a title, look no further than Curtis Blaydes.

Blaydes joined the UFC back in 2016 making his debut against Francis Ngannou. While he lost that night, he’s gone 9-2 since then with the promotion. His two losses coming to Ngannou for the second time and Derrick Lewis.

Rozenstruik is in a very similar position as Blaydes. He’s one of the very best and he’s only lost to the very best. Bigi Boy has lost twice in the UFC and one was to the current interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane and the other was to the undisputed champion Francis Ngannou.

The last time we saw Rozenstruik was back in June when he took on Augusto Sakai. Rozenstruik looked great in that fight and scored a knockout just at the end of the first round.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 heavyweight contest starts with Rozenstruik taking the center. Blaydes is feeling out the striking and gets clipped right away from Rozenstruik. Pressure from Rozenstruik which is a good way to stop the takedowns of Blaydes.

Nice jab from Blaydes who appears to be looking for his takedown opening. Just as I type that, Blaydes shoots in and pushes Rozenstruik against the fence. Almost immediately, Blaydes drags Rozenstruik to the ground.

Side-control for Blaydes and he’s starting to work his elbows. Huge knees to the body for Curtis Blaydes. More good shots to the body for Blaydes. Rozenstruik trying to use the fence to get back up, but the pressure is heavy from Blaydes.

Good shots along the fence from Blaydes. Rozenstruik gest to his fence and he’s able to break the grip and they’re back to striking. Rozenstruik looks a bit more tentative on the feet after getting taken down by Blaydes.

Nice jabs from Blaydes. Two really good straight shots land for Blaydes. Bigi Boy tries to counter but nothing lands. Good opening round for Blaydes at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 266 and Rozenstruik needs to get a little momentum back. He lands a couple of good shots to start the striking and he’s the one pressing forward to start the second round.

Nice check left hook lands for Blaydes. Rozenstruik is holding the center here and Blaydes is just bouncing on the outside. Not much being thrown here and the crowd is letting them know.

Good low kick lands for Blaydes but he eats a good counter from Rozenstruik. Blaydes tries to get a takedown, but he shot from way too far away and can’t land it. Rozenstruik trying to land hooks, but he’s a little too far away to land his own shots.

Nothing landing from either guy with two minutes left in the round. Both trade left hooks and Rozenstruik lands a big knee. Good hook behind it and Blaydes appeared hurt for a second. However, Blaydes uses Rozenstruik’s momentum and lands a takedown.

Blaydes immediately passes into half-guard and starts working his elbows. Not much lands the rest of the round and that’ll be a tough one to score. Despite the takedown and minute of control, I lean Rozenstruik in the second at UFC 266. It could be tied or 2-0 Blaydes.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 266 and I think this fight is tied up so this round should decide things. Blaydes tries to open with a kick but he whiffs. His eye is almost shut from the big shots he ate in the second round from Rozenstruik.

Both men are too far out of range to land anything in the opening minute and the boos are coming in. Blaydes throws some lefts, but they don’t really land. Nice left hook lands for Blaydes and he follows it with a nice straight right.

Good low kick from Blaydes and he immediately chains it into a takedown attempt. The powerful attempt gets Bigi Boy down and Blaydes settles into the guard. Rozenstruik tries to kick off Blaydes, but he can’t get him off.

Blaydes move into half-guard and starts working his elbows. Rozenstruik tries to get up, but the pressure is very heavy from Blaydes here. 90 seconds left and Rozenstruik needs to do something big or he’s going to lose this one.

Heavy top pressure from Blaydes who’s landing some decent elbows. The crowd doesn’t seem pleased but Blaydes is being very effective. More decent shots from Blaydes and the final bell sounds. Curtis Blaydes will get the win at UFC 266.

Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)