UFC 266 featured a featherweight main event title fight and a women’s flyweight title fight. Valentina Shevchenko reigns supreme at 125 pounds and Alexander Volkanovski proved his championship status is no fluke.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 266, here are some things that stood out.
Nick Diaz Returns
Diaz has not fought since he faced Anderson Silva at UFC 183. For some reason, the UFC decided to put together this fight with Diaz and Robbie Lawler and even Diaz does not understand why, but he only knows that he needs to fight according to his conversation with Brett Okamoto. For the hardcore MMA fans that have been along for the ride since their first fight, no reason has to be given to watch. It’s Nick Diaz versus Robbie Lawler, that’s reason enough.
Roxanne Modafferi lost her fight to Taila Santos and it’s rare to write about the person that lost the fight. However, one thing that went under the radar was that this was Modaferri’s 44th outing in MMA and her 11the bout in the UFC. She’s been fighting since 2003 and still gets put on cards. She deserves some recognition.
Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast
These two men had fought through a lot of issues to get to UFC 266. According to Paul Fleder during the broadcast, they only arrived in Vegas the night before they had to make weight and made their contracted weight. They fought all three rounds and the decision went to Hooker, but this was one fight that was expected to win “Fight of the Night” honors.
A Women’s Flyweight Problem
Jessica Andrade became the first woman to finish Cynthia Calvillo and she did so, the way many expected, with power. The women’s flyweight division seems to be dominated by Shevchenko, what happened in the strawweight division could happen in the women’s flyweight division where the same names keep running across each other. Andrade already fought and lost to Shevchenko, she’ll need a new game if they meet again.
“I had it comin’.” -Nick Diaz
Lawler and Diaz are now 1-1 against one another. In a fight that seemed like it was the main event on a card with two title fights booked as the main and co-main event, the fight looked to be a war for the first three rounds. But something about Diaz coming showed that time away, and time passed took its toll on the elder Diaz that started fighting when he was 18 years old. He fought great and lost, but this will likely not be a trilogy. Fires burn, then they burn hot for a while before they eventually burn out.
Luck Runs Out for Lauren Murphy
Murphy’s story in the UFC has been great, and she will likely stay atop UFC women’s flyweight contender but Shevchenko’s dominance as champion keeps making more of a case to have her and Amanda Nunes do something at catchweight because it seems, there is no one else out there for them. At least right now.
Volkanovski took the very best of Ortega’s arsenal in their title fight and kept coming at him to score the win. If fans needed proof of the legitimacy of his status as champion, he likely gave it to them at UFC 266. He survived several submission attempts from Ortega, including his famed triangle choke which is where the “T-City” name comes from (Triangle City). Daniel Cormier said at the end in the in-cage interview both men should take a bow, and they should.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event than what is listed here. The women’s flyweight division has seemingly been cleaned out and Volkanovski has absolutely improved his stock. The UFC seems to be closing out the year with some interesting fights, and with their return to New York City nearing, what else will they be bringing to fans in match announcements?
What did you take away from the event?