The main event will feature current men’s featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega.
After capturing and defending the featherweight title in two highly competitive fights against former Featherweight king Max Holloway, Volkanovski is set to have his first title defense in over a year. Originally scheduled for March, the fight was postponed due to a positive Covid test from Volkanovski. Since then, the fight was further delayed as the two competed as coaches on the ‘Ultimate fighter’ series. Now, after the anticipation has built and the bad blood between the two has developed, the UFC featherweight championship will be determined.
The co-main event features dominant Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko, facing off against Lauren Murphy. In typical fashion, Shevchenko is the largest favorite on the card, at -1250, according to Draftkings.com. Undefeated since her move to flyweight, Shevchenko has effortlessly dispatched every opponent she has faced since capturing the flyweight title on Dec. 8, 2018.
In what could be described as “the people’s main event,” Nick Diaz returns after a nearly 6-year layoff, in a rematch against former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. The two first met in the octagon for UFC 47 on April 1, 2004. Lawler at the time had a fearsome reputation as a power puncher. Diaz, who was just 20 years old at the time stopped Lawler via second round knockout in just his second UFC fight. Now, nearly 17 years later, Diaz and Lawler will once again faceoff.
If the 3 aforementioned fights are not enough to sell fans, the main card also features a key heavyweight bout between the wrestle-heavy Curtis Blaydes and knockout artist Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
A bout between former women's flyweight title challenger Jessica Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo will round off the main card. The winner of the fight may be looking at the next title shot against the winner of Shevcenko and Murphy.
Lastly, the preliminary card is nothing to gloss over. Two fights to pay attention to include the preliminary headliner between Merab Dvalishvilli and Marlon Moraes, and Dan Hooker versus Nastrat Haqparast. The former is a fight that could either end the two-fight losing streak of Moraes, or add to the 6 fight win streak of surging contender Dvalishvilli. The latter, an exciting match up on its own, has been plagued by drama due to mounting visa issues among both fighters and the recent passing of Haqparast's mother.
UFC 266 is nothing short of exhilarating. Championships on the line, former rivals returning to face one another, and many more matchups featuring the best their divisions have to offer. All of this will be available on pay per view on Sept. 25.