Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega | UFC 266

Who Prevails in Sin City? UFC 266 Preview: Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega

Following Dana White’s successful execution of UFC 265, both White and the UFC will be exercising a state of euphoria this week with another loaded fight card in the making at UFC 266 on September 25th, Las Vegas. Division kingpin Alexander Volkanovski prepares to pour on the punishment against challenger Brian Ortega at the UFC featherweight championship bout.

Before the curtain-raiser commences, UFC 266 features a myriad of blockbuster bouts, including Valentina Shevchenko defending her flyweight belt against venerable Lauren Murphy in the co-main event. Curtis Blaydes prepares to do battle with Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the heavyweight contest.

While Robbie Lawler will lock horns with Nick Diaz under the desert lights, and finally, Jessica Andrade will hone her craft against Cynthia Calvillo in the women’s flyweight bout at the start of the evening. September’s UFC calendar is unfolding and Sporting Index has all the exciting UFC betting and UFC spread betting prices.

When Will UFC 266 Take Place?

The main card of UFC 266 will begin Sunday, September 26th at 3:00 BST for fans to watch.

Who’s Fighting On The Main Card?

The main card will be headlined by Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, the co-main event will be filled with Valentina Shevchenko defending her flyweight belt against Lauren Murphy. While the last two fights are occupied by Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz, and finally Jessica Andrade battling it out with Cynthia Calvillo.

Alexander Volkanovski VS. Brian Ortega

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will be hoping to remain undefeated under the UFC banner when he defends his featherweight strap against Brian Ortega at the UFC 266 main event. Australian Volkanovski (9-0 UFC, 22-1 MMA) has risen through the featherweight ranks, leaving a trail of destruction behind him.

Volkanovski still remains without a blemish on his UFC fight-card and has been nothing short of impressive since joining the roster in 2016, already getting wins against Max Holloway twice, Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. After a tightly contested bout with striking specialist Max Holloway last July, the Australian wants to silence the doubters by dispatching the durable Ortega in short fashion.

Brian Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) will be looking to knock Volkanovski off his stride to capture the featherweight strap at UFC 266. The American will be vying for supremacy against the resilient Australian in Vegas and knows he is tasked with five difficult rounds. Max Holloway is the fighter’s sole loss on his record and the Hawaiian has inflicted defeat twice.

Ortega demonstrated that he possesses a plethora of versatility after he threw the kitchen sink at ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung at Fight Night 180’s main event. Many had already counted him out, voicing that the Zombie is far too dangerous for him to tangle with. But Ortega was the one to have the last word as he put on the performance of a lifetime and got his hand raised after snapping his losing skid over five brutal rounds.

Volkanovski remains the favourite coming into the contest and has showcased a flawless fight card over the past five years in the UFC. Performances against the best warriors in the division have elevated the Australian to the upper echelons of the featherweight division and it seems he has no plan to slow down any time soon.

Ortega on the other hand will have banished the memory of the Holloway defeats and will be utilising his momentum against the featherweight champion. The American comes into the title fight as the underdog but will be taking advantage of the partisan home support in Las Vegas.

Valentina Shevchenko VS. Lauren Murphy

Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will return to the eight walls of death to defend her title against Lauren Murphy at the upcoming UFC 266. The champion last fought in April where she dismantled former champion Jessica Andrade with a flurry of elbows earning herself a round-two TKO.

Murphy (15-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) knows she comes into this battle as the big underdog against Shevchenko, but the American is accustomed to this. No one has had an answer to the Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian fighter at 125 pounds thus far, but Murphy believes she has what it takes to dethrone the champion. Murphy’s nascent UFC career at bantamweight was not what she planned for, losing her opening two fights. She bounced back by putting Kelly Faszholz to the sword via TKO at UFC’s Fight Night in 2016.

Murphy later went on to win five on the spin which thrust her into contention with the dangerous Valentina Shevchenko. Murphy’s last outing at the UFC 263 saw her usurp a venerable Joanne Calderwood. The fight eventually went the distance, with two judges scoring the bout in favour of Murphy with scores of 29-28, while the dissenting judge turned in a 29-28 for Calderwood.

Valentina Shevchenko (21-3-0 MMA, 10-2 UFC) has won seven on the spin last jostling for supremacy against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261. Shevchenko successfully defended her flyweight title and will be looking again to brush aside the challenger in Murphy.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Curtis Blaydes will be looking to charge back into the win column against fellow heavyweight bruiser Jairzinho Rozenstruik when they collide at the promotion’s upcoming UFC 266.

Blaydes (14-3-0 1NC) will be hoping to rebound after his second-round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis back in February. Lewis caught the resilient Blaydes with a shot launched his chin into orbit, turning the lights out. It was a disappointing loss for “Razor” as the wrestler was riding a four-fight win streak coming into the contest.

Blaydes, 30, is still considered a major player in the UFC’s heavyweight division, especially with recent departures by veteran’s Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2), on the other hand, is sitting nicely at the No.6 spot in the division and was able to blast his way back into the win column with a first-round domination of Augusto Sakai at UFC Vegas back in June. Blaydes comes into this as the heavy favourite but Rozenstruik is no walkover and will be looking to raise some eyebrows.

Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler 2

Stockton’s very own Nick Diaz will return to the cage and lock horns with his former rival Robbie Lawler in a mouth-watering rematch. Ending a hiatus of over six years, Diaz will be looking to attract attention in his comeback fight and show his fans he still has the fire in his belly to get his hand raised once again. Lawler and Diaz last traded leather all the way back at UFC 47 in 2004, which Diaz put Lawler on the canvass in the second round to secure victory. The last time to two met was when they were in their revered prime, Diaz toppled the tough Lawler bringing viewers to their feet.

Robbie Lawler will be looking to avenge the first fight by settling the odds in this enthralling rematch. Although both the veterans are on the wrong end of their thirties, the rematch still reflects extreme emotions for the traditional fight fans.

Robbie Lawler (28-15-0 1 NC) has been more active in the pro-ride recently, he is yet to taste victory since 2017 after a decision win against the aging gunslinger Donald Cerrone. Nick Diaz (26-9-0 2 NC) last laced his gloves at UFC 183 back at the start of 2015, when his bout against Anderson Silva was concluded as a non-contest because of Diaz testing positive for marijuana.

Lawler comes into this battle of fists as the odds-on favourite, while the previous winner Diaz will enter the bout as the underdog. Both fighters are eager to prove a point and will be desperate to avoid another blemish on their long and impressive records.

Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo

The pivotal women’s flyweight matchup has been added to the UFC 266 event. Jessica Andrade will be looking to bounce back after suffering a tough defeat to now champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261. Andrade is a former strawweight champion but relinquished her strap to the fearsome Rose Namajunas back at UFC 251 in July 2020. Jess made the trek up to 125 pounds where the weight class is not as stacked.

After a tough transition to the higher weight class division, Andrade defeated Katlyn Chookagian in the first round via KO from some thundering strikes and hooks to the body. The Brazilian believed that she was ready to take a shot at the queen of the division, Valentina Shevchenko, but ultimately the champion’s wrestling was too much and the challenger lost in the second round after a barrage of elbows in the second round.

Andrade (21-9 MMA, 12-7 UFC) will be aiming again to place herself in prime position to have another shot at flyweight glory. Calvillo (9-2-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) will be relishing the chance to take on the revered Andrade and has the same idea of climbing the rankings to have a shot at Valentina Shevchenko. Andrade comes into the fight as the favourite, while Calvillo will be hoping to prove the pundits wrong.





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