UFC 266 took over Las Vegas, Nevada for the evening and delivered a spectacular night filled with the agony of defeat and the joys of victory.
With the return of the cult favorite Nick Diaz against Robbie Lawler, a rematch from 17-years ago, the night was sure to be special. The former UFC welterweight champ had a thrilling fight with Diaz which was mostly contested on the feet. As the two went back and forth, the pressure of Lawler proved to be too much for the elder Diaz brother.
Despite initial worries about the long layoff Diaz took, he came to fight. By the end of the bout, much like his ESPN interview, many were left wondering how badly the OG Stockton slapper really wanted to fight again. After the two began to trade shots methodically, Lawler’s pressure started to take an obvious toll on Diaz. In the third round, “Ruthless” dropped the 38-year old legend and won the fight via TKO.
With two gold belts hanging in the balance still, Alexander Volkanovski and Valentina Shevchenko turned in all-time classic performances. The “Bullet” met Lauren Murphy who was riding a 5-fight winning streak going into the night. Joining rarified air, Shevchenko dominated and won by TKO in the fourth round. The flyweight champ has now tied Ronda Rousey with six successful title defenses.
Damn! She’s a fast as a…bullet 😃
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) September 26, 2021
The UFC 266 main event delivered what many are deeming ‘Fight of the Year’ already. Volkanovski and Ortega went to war, and the former title challenger clamped a couple of submissions and had the champion gurgling for oxygen more than once. Showing off incredible willpower and heart, Volkanovski defended his title for a second time. Following a torturous battle with COVID-19, the Australian native handed the submission specialist his second loss while attempting to capture a title in the UFC.
Official decision: Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defeats Brian Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) via Unanimous Decision #UFC #UFC266pic.twitter.com/ELohHceO5o
— All Access MMA (@AllAccessMMA247) September 26, 2021
Pros React To UFC 266 On Social Media
Foty candidate #supernecessary #UFC266
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) September 26, 2021
That was a great fight!!!! #UFC266
— Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) September 26, 2021
Tough. As. Nails! Both of em 💯
— Dustin Jacoby (@thehanyakdj) September 26, 2021
Let’s goooo!!! #UFC266 pic.twitter.com/fjKn0ByVpn
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) September 26, 2021
Holy shit! What an incredible fight. So impressed by @BrianTcity and the heart he showed. Of course the night belonged to @alexvolkanovski He truly is the champion of the world, but both men should take a bow! Congrats fellas!!! Inspired
— michael (@bisping) September 26, 2021
He might not be leaving with the belt but Ortega showed a champions heart tonight. Congratulations to both guys on a great fight!
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) September 26, 2021
Great performance by the champ @alexvolkanovski
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) September 26, 2021
Things you love to see…@alexvolkanovski 🤜🤛 @BrianTcity
Nothing but respect to these two warriors for an absolute war! 👏#UFC266 pic.twitter.com/deomTcyxLU
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) September 26, 2021
Yeah the boys! UFC champ @AlexVolkanovski w/ the celebratory shoey 🍺 👟 🇦🇺 #UFC266
Your move, @bambamtuivasa 👀 pic.twitter.com/jdvnStjfAj
— UFC (@ufc) September 26, 2021
#AndStill 🔥@BulletValentina 🔥💪🏻🎊🎉🎂❤️ pic.twitter.com/bzVH3F5O6e
— Antonina Shevchenko (@AntoninaPantera) September 26, 2021
This main event is incredible!!!#UFC266
— Jamahal Hill (@JamahalH) September 26, 2021
A lot aren’t built for a war like this #UFC266
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) September 26, 2021
What performance impressed you most at UFC 266?