After what feels like an eternity of UFC Fight Nights, we finally return with a full breakdown for UFC 266. Where the stellar line-up just happens to include the return of Stockton, California’s most notorious gangster, and MMA icon Nick Diaz!

UFC 266

Main Card (BT Sport)
Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Brian Ortega (Featherweight)
The most recent TUF coaches (does anyone still watch it?) finally clash inside the Octagon to decide who really is the best. Both athletes have ridiculously impressive records and despite all the reality show hype, when it comes down to it this is a great match-up. Can Ortega use his height and reach to keep the aggressive Ozzie at bay? Or will Volkanovski do what he does best and grind his opponent down over 5 rounds? Even as the champion, Volkanovski still hasn’t been given the respect others in his division have been handed so he’ll come in once again with a chip on his shoulder, providing him with the extra grit and aggression needed to get ahead on points with the judges.
WINNER: Volkanovski
METHOD: Decision

Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Lauren Murphy (Women’s Flyweight)
By far the easiest bout on the card to pick. The only thing we hope is that Lauren Murphy doesn’t take too much damage. We’ll be surprised if this one goes the distance (by all means stick a fiver on it to go the distance as odds will be decent), let’s call it and say Murphy ends up in a crucifix being rained on until the ref decides enough is enough.
WINNER: Shevchenko

Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler (Middleweight)
After his last outing on January 31st 2015, fan favourite and MMA enigma Nick Diaz finally returns to Octagon, against fellow MMA pioneer Robbie Lawler. Let us just make one thing clear, we are huge fans of the Diaz brothers but the best part of seven years out of competition, against someone who although may not have received a ‘W’ on his record in four fights but has shown he can still hang with the best? Something tells us this isn’t going to be the homecoming Diaz and his team anticipated. As die hard MMA fans have been waiting a long time to see the return of Nick Diaz, don’t be surprised if the balloon bursts early doors and one of these veterans (most likely Diaz by leg kicks) suffered an all too familiar, injury the leg or ankle. You can never count a Diaz out but a Lawler victory – followed by his retirement is the likely scenario in this one.
WINNER: Lawler
METHOD: Decision

Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (Heavyweight)
Whilst a few pennies on Rozenstruik to take Blaydes out isn’t the worst bet on the card, surely Blaydes will come in to this with a much more calculated game plan. Rozenstuik will be looking to take Derrick Lewis’ blue print here but we don’t think it’ll be as easy for ‘Bigi Boy’.
WINNER: Blaydes

Jéssica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo (Women’s Flyweight)
We thought about going with Andrade via body slam knockout but after a few major upsets she will most likely take a much more cautious approach to Calvillo who although is not on the level Andrade has faced recently, still poses a threat of the fight goes to the ground.
WINNER: Andrade
METHOD: Decision

Preliminary Card (BT Sport )
Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili (Bantamweight)
After a pretty bad start to his UFC (0-2 in first two UFC appearances) Dvalishvili has since gone on to go six fight undefeated. A bit of a decision winning machine it could be argued the Serra-Longo fighter is up against his toughest test in former title contender Moraes but we are not so sure this is the case. However, we have gone with the Brazilian purely on the basis he has to produce the goods here, as he’s been destroyed in both his last appearances. Another loss is not an option.
WINNER: Moraes

Dan Hooker vs. Nasrat Haqparast (Lightweight)
Normally this one would be a lot easier to call but if you’ve been following Dan Hooker on social media lately you’ll know that due to restrictions in his home country, the New Zealand native has had a nightmare preparing for this bout – almost not making it to the States to fight. He’ll not be 100% but once the experience kicks in he should be able to tame the once highly touted Haqparast who is yet to make a real statement under the UFC banner.
WINNER: Hooker
METHOD: Decision

Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chris Daukaus (Heavyweight)
If you are an avid MMA fan you will know that a Chris Daukaus fight ends will him sparking out his opponent or them sparking him out! Many experts will be overlooking Abdurakhimov based on his last performance but he is definitely no bum. We think this one might go the distance so Daukaus on points could be well worth a flutter but ultimately he should wear the 40 year old Russian down and take him out before the end of round 3.
WINNER: Daukaus

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Taila Santos (Women's Flyweight)
We respect how long Modafferi has been in the game and what she’s achieved. The woman has pretty much fought on ever promotion in the world and even had a spell in the TUF house! At 38 and never really improving her game (Modaferri’s striking has always been and continues to be poor) is it about time she thought about full time coaching? Is she risking injury prolonging her career? I guess only she knows. Whilst Santos isn’t amazing (not many in this division are) the Brazilian will be the favourite in this one but we are going to go with the woman’s MMA veteran to steal a split decision.
WINNER: Modafferi
METHOD: Decision

Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Uroš Medić vs. Jalin Turner (Lightweight)
Having graduated from Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) Turner was well and truly thrown to the wolves in his UFC debut (he was destroyed by Vincente Luqe in the first round) but has fared reasonably well since. Unfortunately he’s up against an absolute savage in Kings MMA fighter Uros Medic. Perhaps one of the biggest upsets on the card if Turner gets his hand raised here. He won’t.

Cody Brundage vs. Nick Maximov (Middleweight)
Team mate of the Diaz brothers, Maximov should be able to work in a submission against fellow DWCS alumni Cody Brundage. If not it could be all losses for the Diaz camp.
WINNER: Maximov
METHOD: Submission

Matthew Semelsberger vs. Martin Sano Jr. (Welterweight)
Fans are in for treat here but expect an impressive performance from ‘Semi the Jedi’ against Sano, who is basically on the card because he is in the Diaz camp.
WINNER: Semelsberger

Jonathan Pearce vs. Omar Morales (Featherweight)
Former Bellator FC fighter turned Dana White Contender Series product Jonathan Pearce was on a bit of a tear until randomly getting stopped by UFC veteran joe Lauzon in 2019. An impressive knockout in in his 2020 comeback sees him face with another DWCS star in the form of 35 year old Omar Morales. If Morales weathers the ‘JSP’ storm he may steal a decision win but we’ll take Pearce to find the target in round 2.
WINNER: Pearce

UFC 265 WILD CARD BET: Lauren Murphy to defeat Valentina Shevchenko via Decision.

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