Everything you need to know about UFC 266

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Danny Howard

September 9th, 2021

UFC 266 features a featherweight great who will attempt to secure his legacy and a grudge match almost two decades in the making.

The stakes are high in Las Vegas, and we're ready to tell you everything you need to know about UFC 266.

Where it is happening?

UFC 266 is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25, at 10 p.m. ET. The event will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The main card will air as an ESPN+ pay-per-view, with preliminary bouts available to existing ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass subscribers.

Who is on the main card?

FightersWeight class
Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Brian Ortega
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Lauren Murphy
Women’s flyweight
Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler
Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Women’s flyweight

What to expect on fight night

UFC 266 is headlined by a featherweight title clash between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.

Valentina Shevchenko will look to make the sixth defense of her flyweight title against Lauren Murphy in the main supporting bout.

In a rare move by the UFC, a special attraction that borders on freak show territory will pit old rivals Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler in a rematch 17 years in the making.

A heavyweight clash between Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik and a flyweight bout between Jessica Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo round out the main card.

Volkanovski aims to put Holloway behind him

Sun, September 26 2021, 3:00 AM

Volkanovski, Alex



Ortega, Brian



Decisions be damned, Volkanovski did not beat Max Holloway in their two bouts that left Volkanovski as champion. The sting of controversial decisions are always forgiven with notable victories, and that’s exactly what Volkanovski needs against Ortega.

Ortega’s impressive win over Chan Sung Jung last year, combined with the ill will toward Volkanovski, has made this fight seem more competitive, according to the betting lines. Though Volkanovski should be a prohibitive favorite, he is -190.

If Volkanovski struggles even for a moment against an opponent Holloway destroyed, he won’t be able to get that monkey off his back until he faces Holloway a third time.

Diaz/Lawler II is a farce

Sun, September 26 2021, 1:00 AM

Lawler, Robbie



Diaz, Nick



It’s an unfortunate miracle that both the UFC and Nevada State Athletic Commission decided it was worth their while to stage the long overdue rematch between Diaz and Lawler.

Diaz and Lawler are so badly washed out that this seems more like a charity case than a legitimate fight.

Worse yet, Diaz has the look and sound of a fighter who has been cooked for too long, and being out of the octagon may have been the best thing that could happen to him.

While many will watch with a morbid curiosity, it’s a shame this fight is happening on such a big stage.

Is Murphy a worthy title challenger?

Sun, September 26 2021, 2:00 AM

Shevchenko, Valentina



Murphy, Lauren



Shevchenko is at a point in her career where only boredom or an act of God can topple her reign at flyweight.

She may be in for the toughest challenge she’s had in some time against Murphy, even if the odds have her as a -1115 favorite.

Murphy hasn’t lost a fight in four years and has stopped eight of her opponents. She may be easy to write off, but Murphy might surprise a lot of people with her resilience.

Blaydes has a title shot in his sights

Sun, September 26 2021, 1:00 AM

Blaydes, Curtis



Rozenstruik, Jairzinho



Blaydes was well on his way to a defeat of Derrick Lewis and was on the cusp of a title shot, until Lewis blasted him with an uppercut that unplugged him from The Matrix.

Lewis moved on to get trounced in an interim title fight against Ciryl Gane, but Blaydes can pick up where he left off, should he beat Rozenstruik.

Rozenstruik is tough, but he usually falls way short against top-tier opposition, and Blaydes is a big favorite, at -315.

Gane wants to unify his paper title against the division’s true champion, Francis Ngannou, so Blaydes will be the next man up, should that fight fall apart.

Many fighters have a seat at the “Last Chance Saloon”

Diaz and Lawler are being trotted out as a novelty act, but there are fighters featured on the card that may be fighting for their careers.

Rozenstruik cannot afford another lopsided loss, especially after the stinker he turned in against Gane.

Also, Marlon Moraes and Dan Hooker are desperately seeking wins on the preliminary card.

Last year, the UFC was very generous when it didn't release underperforming fighters amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but these three might find themselves sweating a pink slip if they don’t get a win.