The UFC 266 PPV main card was the setting where a classic rematch 17-years in the making went down — with the former welterweight champ, Robbie Lawler, stopping the returning MMA icon, Nick Diaz, with strikes in the third-round. Diaz was game, throwing his usual volume, but the night belonged to Lawler, who used his pressure and power to even up the score. This snaps a four-fight losing skid for Lawler, and break ups a six-year inactivity streak for Diaz.
Lawler went hard right away, bombing on the returning Diaz and backing him up. Diaz was doing his best to weather the storm and started to return straight punches to the head and a couple of hooks to the body. Lawler responded with some hooks to the body of his own, and Diaz started to come over the top with his combos. The volume of Nick started to add up with him throwing several punches over and over. Just as the momentum seemed to be turning in the favor of Diaz, Lawler started to fire back to level the playing field. This was one crazy round with numerous boxing exchanges!
Lawler was aggressive right away in the second round again. Just when Nick was mounting some offense, Robbie kicked the liver and made Diaz backpedal to the cage. From there, Nick pumped his straight punches in typical Diaz fashion, disrupting what Lawler was trying to do. As the round grew on, Lawler kept up with his pressure and the output of Diaz slowed down a bit. Robbie appeared to have more gas in the tank and kept Diaz fighting backed up the cage, and even running out of harms way at times.
Diaz began the third act with a trio of hooks to the body, to which Lawler responded by unloading more power combos of his own. The former UFC champ kept pressuring, and then landed a right hook to the nose that made Diaz drop down to one knee. Robbie backed off to allow Diaz to stand up, but Nick opted to stay down and end the match. Crazy!