UFC 266 takes place this Saturday night with a loaded card scheduled for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. At the top of the map are two title fights, including one of the sport’s most dominant fighters as Valentina Shevchenko puts her women’s flyweight title on the line against Lauren Murphy in the main co-event.
In the main event, Alexander Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega. Volkanovki is hoping for a more dominant performance after securing a controversial split-decision victory over Max Holloway in the 145-pound Championship’s first defense.
Also of note, Nick Diaz steps back into the Octagon for the first time since 2015 when he faced Robbie Lawler in a rematch of the fan-favorite fighters who first went to war in 2004.
We know it’s easy to get lost in the details of a big event. So we’re here to help give you a concise overview of what to expect and what to know for each main card fight. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect on Saturday.
Odds below are via Caesars Sportsbook
Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo, Flyweight Women
- Chances: Andrade -280, Calvillo +230 | Last three results: Andrade – G, F, G | Calvillo – L, W, D
- Andrade: Former strawweight champion looks to bounce back from loss in flyweight title bid
- Calvillo: Looking to enter the title race after breaking an unbeaten four-fight streak
Things couldn’t have been much worse for Andrade (21-9) in his last fight. The Brazilian shot flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and was completely dominated as the champion decided to show off her wrestling skills before finishing the fight in the second round. Andrade received the title after just one win in his new weight class and is now 1-3 in his four most recent fights. Yet as a former strawweight champion, Andrade is still dangerous. Calvillo (9-2-1) has enjoyed much more recent success than Andrade, but against fewer elite opponents. Calvillo went on a four-fight unbeaten streak in his last outing, losing a unanimous decision to Katlyn Chookagian. One fight ahead, Calvillo scored the biggest victory of his career, making a decision over former title challenger Jessica Eye.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, heavyweight
- Chances: Blaydes -310, Rozenstruik +250 | Last three results: Blaydes – G, F, F | Rozenstruik – W, L, W
- Blaydes: A stopping artist who lost only to two of the elite UFC heavyweights
- Rozenstruik: One of the most impactful heavyweights in UFC history with 11 knockouts in 12 career wins
Blaydes (14-3) has lost just three times in his career, twice to current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and once to repeatedly title challenger Derrick Lewis. The loss to Lewis came in Blaydes’ last fight, when Blaydes was caught by a perfectly timed uppercut in the second round. Prior to that, Blaydes had four straight wins and was on the verge of claiming the title. Blaydes has won 10 fights by knockout and his three career losses have also come by stoppage. Rozenstruik (12-2) is an elite level finisher, with 11 of his 12 career KO wins. Similar to Blaydes, Rozenstruik’s defeats met elite opposition, losing a decision to current interim champion Ciryl Gane and being knocked out in 20 seconds by Ngannou. Only Gane managed to get Rozenstruik taken to the UFC.
Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler, welterweight
- Chances: Diaz -110, Lawler -110 | Last three results: Diaz – G, G, F | Lawler – G, G, G
- Diaz: A fan-favorite MMA icon who returns to the Octagon for the first time since 2015
- Lawler: A twilight action legend in search of one last big win
Diaz (26-9) and Lawler (28-15) first fought at UFC 47 in April 2004, with Diaz scoring a knockout victory. Since then, the two have reached great heights in their MMA careers, becoming two of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport. Diaz has unfortunately seen his career derailed in large part because the sport has clung for too long to archaic rules regarding marijuana use. After fighting Anderson Silva in January 2015, Diaz tested positive for the metabolites of marijuana and the Nevada State Athletic Commission lobbied to ban Diaz for life. The rules have since changed, but the fight with Lawler is Diaz’s first since he faced Silva. The loss to Diaz came in Lawler’s 10th professional fight. He would go on to win championships in EliteXC and the UFC, becoming one of the sport’s most iconic action fighters and engaging in some of the most incredible brawls in MMA history. Lawler is nearing the end of his career. Since successfully defending the UFC welterweight title twice, Lawler has hit a 1-5 slippage and has fallen from the high end of the sport.
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Lauren Murphy, women’s flyweight title
- Chances: Shevchenko -1400, Murphy +800 | Last three results: Shevchenko – W, W, W | Murphy – W, W, W
- Shevchenko: One of the sport’s most dominant fighters looks to continue cleaning up her division
- Murphy: ‘Next woman’ leads impressive five-game winning streak
Shevchenko (21-3) has lost only twice in the UFC Octagon. Both of these losses came to Amanda Nunes, the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. The most recent loss to Nunes came by split decision. Aside from Nunes, Shevchenko has dominated, especially since winning the flyweight title in December 2018. Shevchenko already has five successful title defenses, including making it easier for Jessica Andrade on her last outing. Murphy (15-4) is Shevchenko’s next woman and she earned her title with a five-game winning streak. Despite Murphy’s recent streak of success, she’s a massive underdog against one of the sport’s most complete fighters.
Alexander Volkanovski (c) v Brian Ortega, featherweight title
- Chances: Volkanovski -170, Ortega +145 | Last three results: Volkanovki – W, W, W | Ortega – W, L, W
- Volkanovski: The featherweight champion makes the second defense of his title
- Ortega: Fighting for only the second time since losing his last title shot in December 2018
Volkanovski (22-1) is leading a 19-game winning streak that includes a perfect 9-0 UFC record. He also holds victories over the best fighters in featherweight history, beating Jose Aldo once and Max Holloway twice. Volkanovski’s first victory over Holloway earned him the featherweight title and led to an immediate rematch. Holloway appeared to be doing enough to earn the victory, but the judges gave Volkanovski the split decision. He is now looking to re-establish his place at the top of the 145-pound division.
Ortega (15-1). fourth round. The Fight of the Night bonus for the Holloway fight was probably little heartwarming after failing to win the title. A knee injury kept Ortega out of action until October 2020, where he put in a career best performance as he made a dominant decision against Chan Sung Jung to win his title.