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UFC 266 to feature title defences for Alex Volkanovski and Valentina Shevchenko

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UFC 266 has two title fights AND Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler.

UFC 245 - Max Holloway v Alexander Volkanovski
Alex Volkanovski when he beat Max Holloway at UFC 245.
Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

UFC 266 is scheduled to go down on September 25 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Yesterday it was announced that the card would include the much anticipated return of Nick Diaz, who will face former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a five round contest.

Yesterday ESPN announced that UFC 266 would also feature a pair of title fights. The first, which is expected to headline the event, is the rescheduled UFC featherweight title bout between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.

The second title bout sees dominant UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko taking on Lauren Murphy.

Volkanovski vs. Ortega was supposed to happen at UFC 260 in March. However, that was cancelled after Volkanovski contracted COVID-19. After the fight was postponed, those men wound up coaching against each other on the current series of The Ultimate Fighter.

The fight against Ortega represents Volkanovski’s second title defence. His first was against Max Holloway at last year’s UFC 251. Volkanovski won the title from Holloway previously at UFC 245 in 2019.

Ortega heads into this fight off the back of a convincing unanimous decision victory over Chan Sung Jung. That fight came after a near year long lay-off following a brutal loss to Max Holloway.

Shevchenko has looked unstoppable since transitioning to the flyweight division. She won the title with a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2018. Since then she has defended the belt five times with wins over Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade.

Murphy has earned her title shot thanks to an undefeated run reaching back to 2019 that includes five victories. In that run she TKO’d Mara Borella, submitted Liliya Shakirova and—most recently—decision’d Joanne Calderwood.

UFC 266 is also expected to include Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili, Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Tatiana Suarez vs. Roxanne Modafferi.