UFC 266: Best Card since COVID

By Brad Harlow

After a pandemic and an unprecedented year of growth for the UFC, we have the best card of the year coming up with UFC 266 on Saturday September 25th 2021 at 10 p.m. EDT . With two title fights and the return of Nick Diaz in a 5-round bout, this is primed to be an amazing night of fights that hasn’t been seen since before the pandemic. 

First off we have a fight in the women’s flyweight division between number one ranked Jessica Andrade, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Gilliard Parana with a record of 21-9-0 coming off a loss to Valntina Shevchenko at UFC 261. Her opponent is Cynthia Calvillo, who is fighting out of Tiger Muay Thai. Calvillo is ranked fifth in the division and comes off a loss to Katlyn Chookagian. 

Next up we have a bout between number-four ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes and number-six ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Blaydes sports a record of 14-3-0 with 1 no contest and is looking for a quick bounce back after a KO loss to number-three ranked heavyweight Derrick Lewis. Rozenstruik, on the other hand, is coming off a TKO victory against number-nine ranked heavyweight Augusto Sakai. 

Two months ago we saw the return of Nate Diaz, but now it’s time for the other Diaz brother to make his return. Nick Diaz, who has not fought since 2015, is supposedly making his return to the Octagon at UFC 266 for a rematch between himself and Robbie Lawler. Lawler is coming off four straight losses and it will be interesting to see who will win, and if so-called “Ring Rust” will be at play for Diaz, who was the victor of the first time these fighters met in the Octagon at UFC 47 in April of 2004. The rematch will be happening 17 years later, the longest gap between an original fight and the rematch in UFC history with a stunning 6,384 days between the two contests. 

The following bout is the first of two title fights of the night between Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko, and number-three ranked Lauren Murphy. Schevchenko is riding a seven fight win streak and looks to make it eight straight. She has become an unstoppable force in that division and is a heavy favorite to win on September 25th against Murphy. 

The main event of UFC 266 is sure to be the fight of the night as Featherweight Champion Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski is set to take on fellow TUF coach Brian Ortega in a 5 Round Championship Bout. Both of these fighters have only one loss in their professional careers, with Volkanovski riding a 19 fight win streak. Both these fighters have shown their fighting IQ as coaches in The Return of The Ultimate fighter on ESPN+, and it is sure to be a great fight. Volkanovski comes in as a favorite to defend his belt, but the odds are very tight and subject to change. 

It looks like it’ll be a good night of fights.

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