REPORT: UFC 266 to feature two title fights, return of Nick Diaz

Originally published at REPORT: UFC 266 to feature two title fights, return of Nick Diaz

The UFC 266 card on September 25th is expected to feature two championship fights and Nick Diaz’s first fight in over six years.

UFC president Dana White tells ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the September card will feature the delayed fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 no-contest) for the Featherweight Championship. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 260 this past March but the fight was postponed after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19. Due to the delay, the two were named the coaches for the ongoing season of the Ultimate Fighter.

White also told the outlet that Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) will defend the 125-pound title against Lauren Murphy (15-4). Murphy has won her last five fights, and this will be her first shot at a UFC championship.

The big fight expected for the card is a 2004 rematch between Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 no contests) and Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 no-contest) as first reported by Kevin Iole. Diaz’s attorney Ross Goodman told ESPN that Diaz has signed the contract for his first fight since January 31, 2015, when he fought Anderson Silva at UFC 183. ESPN noted that Lawler has not yet signed his bout agreement but is expected to shortly.

In another wrinkle, the fight would be a five-round fight even though there is no championship involved.

Diaz and Lawler fought in April 2004 at the UFC 47 with Diaz winning by second-round knockout.

Diaz has not won a fight since beating BJ Penn in October 2011 at UFC 137. After the win over Penn, he dropped decisions to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre prior to the fight with Silva that was ruled a no-contest after Silva tested positive for a pair of banned substances while Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites.

The 39-year old Lawler, a former welterweight champion, is winless in his last four fights with losses to Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, Colby Covington, and Neil Magny.