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UFC 266: Volkanovski vs Ortega - Sep 25 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Catching up on the build up and it seems to me as if Ortega is doing a whole lot of fucking around. He's out driving around and going to Jumping Jacks while Volk is at the PI training. He best be taking the little man seriously.

And yeah, Diaz looks like he honestly couldn't give a fuck. 

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Yeah, I’m officially old.

Between this and hearing that Rong Zhu on last week’s card was the first UFC fighter born in the 2000s, it really hits home what a stupidly long time I’ve spent watching this shit. It’ll be arthritis and a smack off Conor McGregor next.

Also, Hooker and Haqparast have both made weight somehow after all the upheaval and chaos both went through to get to Vegas. They should both get a bonus cheque now really given the circumstances. If anyone would’ve deserved a pass for missing weight it’d have been these two but here they are. 


Edited by wandshogun09
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Why was Faber making weight? Surely he’s not the standby for the main event but I can’t think where else he’d fit in. I didn’t even know he was still in the game, thought he’d finally jacked it in after his last comeback got snuffed out by Petr Yan. 

Seriously, Diaz vs Lawler 2 tomorrow, Jon Jones getting arrested, now Faber weighing in. It’s like old times. Where’s Shonie Carter?

OK, seems I’ve been had and its an old picture 😂 still, the way things are going, stranger things have happened. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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As Wand said earlier, Rogan is off this show. Whats more interesting is the reason. From the news report I read, it was because he was going on a hunting trip. Is this the beginning of the end for him, do we think? Missing shows because of his standup makes somewhat sense, but surely missing shows because hes off hunting seems to suggest something more. He probably gets paid more than most fighters on the show, so losing him to save some extra cash makes sense to the bosses.

I cant get my head around the betting odds for Diaz/Lawler, other than blaming it all on the myth and mystique of Diaz. Now that Condit is done, I checked the main card of the last show Diaz was a full time fighter on (against GSP), and nine out of the ten fighters are retired. That show is truely from a different era, featuring the likes of Johnny Hendricks and Nate Marquardt. Cant understand how its a pick em fight, when Lawler is still an active and dangerous fighter.

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2 hours ago, Dai said:

As Wand said earlier, Rogan is off this show. Whats more interesting is the reason. From the news report I read, it was because he was going on a hunting trip. Is this the beginning of the end for him, do we think? Missing shows because of his standup makes somewhat sense, but surely missing shows because hes off hunting seems to suggest something more. He probably gets paid more than most fighters on the show, so losing him to save some extra cash makes sense to the bosses.

Obviously it's all unconfirmed, but I heard he gets a basic salary per event of $5,000 with a bonus of $50,000 per PPV show, which will explain why he rarely works non-PPV shows.

Didn't he get something close to $100 million for his podcast? If so, you have to think he's close to fucking the UFC off, especially if he's having to travel from Texas to Vegas for shows.

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6 minutes ago, Panhead said:

I fancy Ortega to take the title tonight. I'm not even saying I want him to win it, I just think he'll get it done. 

I feel the same to an extent, but I think I always believe Volkanovski is going to lose. Not sure if it's because he always looks much smaller than his opponents, but I'm never confident heading in. Then by the time we get to round two or three I realise I was completely wrong.

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Caught up on everything and I’m definitely feeling the buzz for this. Maybe more than any card so far this year. It’s all been overshadowed by the return of Nick Diaz but this is a fantastic card top to bottom. It’s got a bit of everything. A brilliant main event with two guys in their absolute prime, a dominant champ in the co-main, a big helping of nostalgia in Diaz-Lawler that could be sad or bags of fun, there’s Heavyweights on there, some new blood. It’s got the lot. 


Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega - Like I said before, this really has been criminally overlooked. Mostly the Diaz factor but I think also the delays getting them in the cage haven’t helped. It was meant to happen in March but COVID knackered it, then they got tied up with coaching TUF nearly all summer. It’s felt like it’s taken forever. Now it’s here though, and they’ve weighed in and everything, I think people are realising it’s actually happening and it’s dawning on everyone what a great matchup it is. Someone mentioned earlier in the thread how it feels like Ortega doesn’t really deserve the shot given that he’s had a whopping one win since the Holloway beating a few years ago. I feel that a bit as well but still, style-wise this is fascinating.

I’ve got Volk to retain on points. It’s a tough one to call though because we haven’t seen him against a really dangerous submission artist like Ortega before. Then again, we’ve never seen Ortega against anyone quite like Volkanovski either. He looked great against Zombie in his last fight but Zombie’s a completely different style to Volk and was always gonna be there to be countered. Volk’s shown against Holloway twice (and others) that he’s smart, has good timing and despite always being the smaller man, he finds a way to make it work. You look at Holloway’s record at 145 and, other than the losses to Volko, you have to go all the way back to 2013 to see him losing at Featherweight. You look at him blistering Ortega and Kattar with a million strikes and then the contrast of how he couldn’t get that going properly against Volk and it really shows how good he is. There’s a reason he wasn’t firing off that insane output in those fights and it’s because Volk wasn’t allowing it. 

1 hour ago, Panhead said:

I think you're right about his size. Just looked it up and he has the reach advantage, but I think if Ortega takes him down then he'll smother Volkanovski and get the submission. 

The thing is though, Ortega’s never been a big takedown guy. He’s a phenomenal BJJ artist but he usually jumps on subs during the chaos of a wild exchange or in a scramble. Neither of which are gonna be easy to drag Volkanovski into. We’ll see. Certainly not discounting the possibility of Ortega catching him, even in the striking. He’s got a unique style compared to the other guys at the top of the division. I think Volk will have enough to keep it in the striking and win the points game there though. Ortega’s definitely got that unpredictable factor going for him though. As amazing a fighter as Holloway is, you know what he’s looking to do technically, it’s just a bastard to deal with because his volume is stupid and he never stops. With Ortega, he’s probably harder to read. You never know quite what he’s gonna do. It’s a hell of a fight. I’d love to see a war but I think Volk will be looking to play the points game and not take too many risks because of how quickly Ortega can snatch up a sub. We’ll see how it plays out.



Valentina Shevchenko vs Lauren Murphy - It’s getting to sound like a stock answer at this point but I can’t see Shevchenko having much bother here. Nothing against Murphy, she’s earned this shot on merit. You can’t not give her the opportunity because you think she’s got no chance. But I don’t think she’s got a chance. She’s experienced, durable, aggressive etc but there’s no area where I think she actually troubles Shevchenko. I don’t think Shev’s unbeatable but I’d be amazed, fucking amazed, if Murphy is the one to end the reign. It’d be up there with Matt Serra knocking out GSP for me if she somehow pulls this off.

She won’t though. Shevchenko by lopsided decision. Was gonna go with a TKO but, as I said, Murphy is tough and has enough experience to where I think she’ll be able to survive. Often with Shevchenko fights it depends on how the opponent approaches the fight. If you hang back and try to just go the distance, a lot of times she’ll decide to just coast and let you live. You’ll lose every round but you get that small moral victory. If you come at her though, like Eye and Andrade did, you’re mince. I could certainly see Murphy thinking ‘fuck it, I’m 38, I probably won’t be getting another title shot after this’ and just going hell for leather and what happens happens. If she goes that route Val probably puts her away in 2 rounds tops. If she comes with the Balboa in Rocky I mindset of just wanting to go the distance, she’ll still likely take her lumps but I think she can see the final buzzer. Either way, Shevchenko leaves with the gold. 



Nick Diaz vs Robbie Lawler 2 - The people’s main event. We’ve talked at length about this but not really much about who we actually think will win. I’ve seen a real shift in opinion on this, over the last few days especially. When the fight was first announced it seemed like almost everyone was thinking Diaz wins because he won the first fight and because Lawler is ‘washed up’ now. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the first fight was 17 bastard years ago, Diaz hasn’t fought in over 6 years, hasn’t won a fight in a decade and that, despite not having the best win/loss ratio lately, Lawler’s stayed in top shape and been active the whole time Diaz has been gone. This week though, seeing Diaz and realising it’s not 2011 anymore, everyone’s seemed to change their tune a bit. 

Lawler by KO for me. Just a feeling I can’t shake. I know Diaz is notoriously tough but he’s been gone so long, who knows if that’s even still the case? A lot of people are judging him off fights he was in 10-15 years ago. It’s 2021 and he doesn’t look in terrible shape like some are making out but certainly not his best and the fact he had it changed to 185 after agreeing to 170 suggests he’s either struggled weight-wise, is injured/sick which hindered the weight cut or he simply couldn’t be arsed and this is purely just a quick cash grab. There’s even been some talk that he got knocked out in sparring heading into this, think that came from Josh Thomson. Who knows? It’s just got the feel of a bad ending though. Style-wise it’s certainly a preferable and more winnable fight for Diaz than some of the names suggested for his comeback. If he’s gonna come back after all this time and actually win, this is the kind of fight you possibly see him doing it in because Lawler will fight Diaz the way Diaz likes to fight. But there’s just too much doubt for me. The time off, the way he’s looking and sounding even by his usual standards, and Lawler seems quietly pumped up for this. He plays it down about wanting revenge and he never gets excited about much, but there’s been a few little moments where I’ve thought ‘yeah, he‘s up for this’. More than anything I just hope it’s a fun fight. 



Rozey’s a bastard for that 🤣

Curtis Blaydes vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik - Haven’t given this any thought since I typed about it in the opening post. Immediate gut instinct says Blaydes just mauls him about and wrestles him into oblivion but you never know. Especially at Heavyweight. The margins for error are so small and Rozenstruik is one of the more dangerous strikers and knockout artists in the division. He’s also shown that he doesn’t mentally break easy and he can pull a KO out of his arse even when things are looking bleak. He’s lethal from the opening to the final buzzer and any lapse in focus and he’ll put you to sleep. And we’ve seen Blaydes kind of switch off and get sparked in his last fight against Derrick Lewis where he just clumsily ducked for a takedown and got his face uppercutted into dust.

Always a bit of a lottery but I’ll stick with Blaydes on points. If he can avoid the killshot and make it a wrestling match it’s his fight to lose all day. I think he’ll be able to. 



Jessica Andrade vs Cynthia Calvillo - Not overly fussed about this. I’m a fan of Andrade, just never really got into Calvillo’s fights. Maybe Andrade can make it entertaining though.

Andrade by KO/TKO. I think she definitely wins. Calvillo is a strong grappler but nothing I think Andrade can’t deal with. And on the feet I just think Andrade will overwhelm her. You look at the women Andrade has lost to over the past few years - Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas, Zhang Weili, prime Joanna Jedrzejczyk - Calvillo is obviously a few levels below that and I just don’t see her getting much going unless she can make it 100% grappling and even then I’m not sure. 

Just touching on a couple of standouts on the prelims;

Hooker vs Haqparast is the real darkhorse FOTN contender for me. People have only talked about it at all because it’s nearly fell through at every turn leading up to the event with Haqparast losing his mum and both men’s Visa issues. Lost in all that is the fact that this is a serious potential barnburner. I’d favour Hooker usually but it’s almost all out the window now with the messed up fight week both have had. And with Haqparast’s mum passing, who knows how that’ll effect him here. It could light a fire under him to go to another level similar to how Buster Douglas did when he lost his old lady and then went over to Japan and ended Mike Tyson.

Moraes vs Dvalishvili is another one I quite like the sound of as well. On paper it’s pure striker vs grappler but we’ll see how it goes. I’d love to see Moraes get back to winning ways here. It wasn’t that long ago he was a top contender, on a hot streak and knocking out Aljamain Sterling. Now he’s probably a loss away from getting his walking papers. I’m hoping it’s just a blip and he can bounce back but he hasn’t been the same since the loss to Cejudo. At least in this fight he shouldn’t be getting ironed out again because Merab is pretty much all grappling. Not sure how this plays out. Moraes has the capability to knock anyone out but his most lethal strikes are with his legs but I’m not sure he’ll wanna be kicking and kneeing so much against someone looking to take him down all night. Interesting one and really feels like a ‘must win’ thing for Moraes.

Full predictions then;

Alexander Volkanovski by Decision.

Valentina Shevchenko by Decision.

Robbie Lawler by KO/TKO.

Curtis Blaydes by Decision.

Jessica Andrade by KO/TKO.

Merab Dvalishvili by Decision.

Nasrat Haqparast by Decision.

Chris Daukaus by KO/TKO.

Taila Santos by KO/TKO.

Uros Medic by KO/TKO.

Nick Maximov by Submission.

Matthew Semelsberger by Decision.

Omar Morales by Submission.

Edited by wandshogun09
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the headlines have been dominated by the main event and Diaz/Lawler but there lots to like.

Moraes/Dvalishvili is the sleeper for me. I think everyones sleeps on Moraes is and Dvalishvili is just an absoute tank at 135lb. If he comes through this (im picking him) he's gonna be in serious contention.

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9 hours ago, Dai said:

As Wand said earlier, Rogan is off this show. Whats more interesting is the reason. From the news report I read, it was because he was going on a hunting trip. Is this the beginning of the end for him, do we think? Missing shows because of his standup makes somewhat sense, but surely missing shows because hes off hunting seems to suggest something more. He probably gets paid more than most fighters on the show, so losing him to save some extra cash makes sense to the bosses.

He's making so much coin from talking absolute bollocks on a podcast twice a week that he can do whatever he feels like. My only hope is that the UFC start to notice that he absolutely isn't needed anymore.

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