Bloody Elbow fight experts, Zane Simon & Eddie Mercado, are here tonight – Saturday, September 25th., 2021, to breakdown the UFC 266: ‘Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega’ PPV (pay-per-view) event, which was broadcast from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The guys will have hot takes, possible next fights, as well as reactions to the overall event in the player above, or can be caught on our Bloody Elbow Presents YouTube Channel or any our BE Presents Podcast Network. (SPOILERS...)
After undergoing four fight cancellations for this card, the UFC featured a 13-bout PPV (pay-per-view) event showcasing a battle for the UFC Featherweight Championship in the main event, between current Champ, Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski, who was on a 19-fight win streak, sporting a phenomenal 22-1 fight record and the returning contender, Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega, who had not stepped inside the Octagon since October of last year, but was still coming at this ranked #2. Meanwhile, the co-main event featured our second title fight tonight, this one was for the UFC Flyweight Championship between current Champ, Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko, who was on a seven-fight win streak and the contender, #2 ranked, Lauren ‘Lucky’ Murphy, who was on her own five-fight win streak.
Main Event Outcome:
This was probably the most intense, exciting fight I have witnessed in recent memory. Let me just say, you need to watch this if you missed it.
To summarize the highlights: Alex ‘The Great’ showed an elite performance against a nearly undefeatable Ortega in his wild title defense. Both Featherweights were cut early on. Volk landed a crisp lead jab. Ortega threw down power counter shots. Alex controlled with leg kicks, body shots, lead jabs and combos all along the cage. The third round was insane. Ortega started things off landing a shot on the champ knocking him to the mat, quickly sinking in a guillotine choke which came close to ending this title fight. Volk managed to escape and land Ground & Pound, but Ortega at it again with a triangle choke. Alexander again evades the submission and continues to just brutalize ‘T-City’ with damaging strikes. Ortega attempts a D’arce Choke which Alex also managed to wiggle out of, and punished Brian for his efforts. Volk with top control just rained down massive brutal punches and elbows throwing Ortega around like a rag doll. Ortega relentlessly kept at the Champ, with that title clearly in his line of sight. In the end Volkanovski proved dominant in the judges eyes with a Unanimous Decision victory to retain his title tonight. (49-46, 50-45, 50-44)
Seriously, watch this fight.
"I feel like an idiot saying some of the things I did, because he proved himself." - Alex Volkanovski #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
"We're not defined by how we lose, but by how we get up and overcome that shit." - Brian Ortega #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
Shevchenko landing hooks and strikes throughout while Murphy tried to step into the pocket. Murphy attempts a Superman punch causing Shevchenko to almost lose her footing evading the attack. The Champ continues to land strikes, while Murphy countered with some decent combos. They trade kicks. Murphy intensely holding on to her offensive game, but Shevchenko takes her out with a right hand followed up with a head kick as she attempted to recover. Shevchenko relentless in her pursuit, finally submits her into half guard and fists fly in some intense Ground & Pound, followed up with vicious bloody elbows and a flurry of punches to obtain the ref stoppage.
"I always say, I'm ready for everyone, no matter weight class, no matter time, I'm here." - Valentina Shevchenko #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
Valentina Shevchenko's rise to greatness after the 125 lb division opened up reminds me a lot of Demetrious Johnson's flyweight reign #UFC266— Eddie Mercado (@TheEddieMercado) September 26, 2021
Hard to believe that Robbie Lawler & Nick Diaz are actually about to run it back after 17 years for me this is the MMA equivalent of that Blues Clues dude coming back #ufc266— Eddie Mercado (@TheEddieMercado) September 26, 2021
Also on the card, we had a highly-anticipated Welterweight rematch between ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler, who was on a four-fight losing skid and the returning Nick Diaz who has not fought professionally since January, 2015, when he had a no contest bout against Anderson Silva at UFC 183. Lawler first fought Diaz waaayyy back at UFC 47 in 2004, which was headlined by the first ever fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. The first Lawler vs Diaz bout 17 years ago ended up resulting in a Diaz victory - via Punches in the second round.
"He did a great job, I was just relentless tonight." - Robbie Lawler #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
Diaz vs Lawler 2 Outcome:
Diaz looked out of shape to me, I thought he came out too hard and seemed gassed a minute and a half into the first round, looking ill-prepared to be back in the UFC with the likes of ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler standing across from him in tip top condition. But Diaz gave his best effort showing little ring rust for having been gone so long. He did manage to deliver some heavy body shots throughout the brawl. Lawler backed him to the fence repeatedly, resulting in Diaz eating blows. The ‘Stockton Bad Boy’ stumbled into a perfectly timed and well-executed right hook and dropped to a knee. Robbie motioned for him to get up but he seemed oddly dazed and unable or unwilling to do so. Decent brawl considering Nick’s time away overall, but what an anticlimactic TKO. And that post-fight interview? Was Diaz stoned? It was just, ‘weird’ to me.
We also had a Heavyweight brawl tonight between Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes and Jairzinho ‘Bigi Boi’ Rozenstruik, as well as an exciting showdown between Flyweights Jéssica ‘Bate Estaca’* Andrade and Cynthia Calvillo in our main card opener. Prior to that, we had an extensive eight-bout undercard culminating in our featured prelim showcasing Featherweights Jonathan ‘JSP’ Pearce and Omar Morales. Worth mentioning, was our briefest bout on the card: Sano vs. Semelsberger.
*’Bate Estaca’ translates from Portuguese to ‘Pile Driver’
The smartest thing Blaydes could do was get that takedown and hide his badly swollen eye. Hope this isn't a reoccurring injury for him#UFC266— Eddie Mercado (@TheEddieMercado) September 26, 2021
Blaydes and Rozentstruik lumbered around the Octagon tonight, in what some are calling a “dull affair”. Despite the slow pace, and disappointing exchange for much of the bout, there was some outrageously acute swelling taking place around Blaydes right eye, after having eaten a well-positioned knee to the face. His face literally looked like a special effects artist class used him for their final exam. Despite the damage he stayed in the fight. They took it to the ground for awhile, but Rozenstruik didn’t do much from his back during this exchange, so Blaydes took advantage of the opportunity to deliver blows to his opponent. In the end, Blaydes took the decision victory.
"I want the winner or loser of Gane/Ngannou, give me Stipe, or give me Jon [Jones]." - Curtis Blaydes #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
In the women’s bout, Andrade connected with leg kicks and flurries of strikes throughout her scrap against Cynthia Calvillo. At one point there was a great right cross by Calvillo, which resulted in a vicious come back from Andrade with multiple good rights. After stalking Cynthia across the Octagon, ‘Bate Estaca’ lands a brutal uppercut and follows up with an intense series of right hands against the fence. She basically just kept punching non-stop until Calvillo was spared by the mercy of the ref stoppage.
"Dana, I want to fight Rose Namajunas. I'm ready to go." - Jessica Andrade with an odd callout considering she's in a differnet division now. #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 26, 2021
What is already being referred to as a ‘FOTY candidate’, was the tilt between ‘The Machine’ Merab Dvalishvili who came from behind to stop former title challenger Marlon Moraes via TKO, Punches in the second-round. The first round was a back and forth that was crazy, easily one of the wildest five minutes in some time. Dvalishvili kept up the Ground & Pound in the second round to let loose on a vulnerable and somewhat defenseless Moraes. “The fight probably should have been stopped 50 strikes sooner than it was, but Dvalishvili eventually slammed a final flurry of fists into the head of “The Magician.”” (h/t MMA Mania) Flashback to Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 about sums it up. What a vicious brawl.
Moraes & Dvalishvili just had one of the greatest rounds of all time#UFC266— Eddie Mercado (@TheEddieMercado) September 26, 2021
A fight not to be missed occurred when Chris Daukaus, the former police officer, assaulted Shamil Abdurakhimov with a vicious second-round TKO via punches and bloody elbows.
Chris Daukaus scored a knockdown with his left hand in the first round, and then again with his right hand in the second. EEK! #UFC266— Eddie Mercado (@TheEddieMercado) September 26, 2021
Earlier, we had the mpressive up-and-comer, Jalin ‘Tarantula’ Turner, finish Uros Medic with a first-round Sub, via Rear Naked Choke. This was touted to be an entertaining fight based on the striking of both fighters, but ultimately it actually ended on the ground instead.
Medic is a lot of fun, but he still fights like a guy who came up fighting on a circuit where no one could compete with him at all. Turner was a wakeup call. #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 25, 2021
Submission specialist Sano may have been a monumental underdog headed into the Octagon tonight, but he was at the very least anticipated to hold his own for a notable amount of time. Instead, ‘Semi the Jedi’ took all of fifteen-seconds to cross the cage and land a hard right to his opponent’s weak chin and it was all over for Sano. Check out the 15-second knockout below courtesy of UFC/ESPN:
Featherweight contender ‘JSP’ put an end to his opponent Morales’ efforts in the second-round, via Sub, Rear Naked Choke, to garner his biggest career achievement to date. Morales delivered a handful of decent right hands early on, but Pearce appeared to have a boxer’s chin and just kept at Morales methodically, securing several takedowns. By the second round, Omar had gassed and Jonathan went for a successful submission finish.
"Every single person I get in here with, I work harder than them. I'm gonna beat them with my pace. My pace is a weapon." - Jonathan Pearce #UFC266— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) September 25, 2021
This week the guys’ picks heading into the 13-bout UFC 266 PPV event were:
Zane: Volkanovski, Eddie: Ortega
Zane: Dvalishvili, Eddie: Moraes
Zane: Santos, Eddie: Modafferi
Overall, this now 13-bout card saw three exhilarating first round finishes, six impressive KO/TKO’s (including the Co-Main Event), two sweet submissions, and five hard-fought decisions (including our Main Event). Rounding things out, bonuses for putting forth POTN efforts went to Chris Daukaus and Merab Dvalishvili; FOTN honors went to Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega. What a great night of fights we have to share with you, join us to discuss all the action...
Here’s a look at the fight card, updated fight records & results —
ESPN+ PPV MAIN CARD
13. 145lbs, UFC Featherweight Championship - 5 Rds: Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) DEF. Brian Ortega (15-1) – DEC, Unanimous
12. 125lbs, UFC Flyweight Championship - 5 Rds: Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) DEF. Lauren Murphy (15-5) – KO/TKO, G & P at 4:00 of Rd 4 of 5, Total 19:00
11. 185lbs, Five Rounds - Robbie Lawler (29-15) DEF. Nick Diaz (26-10) – KO/TKO, Punches at 0:44 of Rd 3 of 5, Total 10:44
10. 265lbs, Curtis Blaydes (15-3) DEF. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-3) – DEC, Unanimous
9. 125lbs, Jéssica Andrade (22-9) DEF. Cynthia Calvillo (9-3) – KO/TKO, Punches at 4:54 of Rd 1
8. 135lbs, Merab Dvalishvili (14-4) DEF. Marlon Moraes (23-9) – KO/TKO, G & P at 4:25 of Rd 2, Total 9:25
7. 155lbs, Dan Hooker (21-10) DEF. Nasrat Haqparast (13-4) – DEC, Unanimous
6. 265lbs, Chris Daukaus (12-3) DEF. Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-6) – KO/TKO, Right Cross to Ground Strikes at 1:23 of Rd 2, Total 6:23
5. 125lbs, Taila Santos (18-1) DEF. Roxanne Modafferi (25-19) – DEC, Unanimous
ESPN+ EARLY PRELIMS
4. 155lbs, Jalin Turner (11-5) DEF. Uros Medic (7-1) – SUB, Rear Naked Choke at 4:01 of Rd 1
3. 185lbs, Nick Maximov (7-0) DEF. Cody Brundage (7-1) – DEC, Unanimous
2. 170lbs, Matt Semelsberger (9-3) DEF. Martin Sano (4-3) – KO/TKO, Right Cross at 0:15 of Rd 1
1. 145lbs, Jonathan Pearce (11-4) DEF. Omar Morales (11-2) – SUB, Rear Naked Choke at 3:31 of Rd 2, Total 8:31
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Join us again for another episode of ‘6th Round’ on Saturday, October 2nd, for UFC Vegas 38: Santos vs Walker.