The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great night of fights at UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega. The card saw six (T)KOs, two submissions and five decisions.
Performance of the Night: Chris Daukaus and Merab Dvalishvili
Fight of the Night: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega
The early prelims saw Jonathan Pearce get a second-round submission over Omar Morales after a hard fought first round. Matt Semelsberger scored another early finish when he knocked out Martin Sano just 15 seconds in. Nick Maximov defeated Cody Brundage via unanimous desicion and Jalin Turner defeated Uros Medic close to the end of round 1 with the second rear-naked choke of the night.
Taila Santos kicked off the regular prelims with a unanimous decision over Roxanne Modafferi and Chris Daukaus scored the TKO over SHamil Abdurakhimov in round two. Dan Hooker completely outclassed Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision and Merab Dvalishvili and Marlon Moraes put on a fantastic fight, ending with Dvalishvili getting the W after scoring the TKO.
The main card saw Jessica Andrade score a first round TKO over Cynthia Calvillo, a great start considering Curtis Blaydes pulled a Curtis Blaydes and bored us all to tears in his victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Then Robbie Lawler boxed up Nick Diaz, getting 17 years worth of retribution when he scored the thrird-round TKO over Nick Diaz. HUZZAH!!
Valentina Shevchenko beat Lauren Murphy by superior striking, wrestling, kicking..,basically a carbon copy of all her fights against tough gals that can’t beat her. She turned up the heat in round four, scoring the takedown, then pounding out Murphy with vicious elbows and punches. Outstanding finish after what looked like might be a dominant, but lackluster decision.
Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega put on an amazing fight. The third round may have been the best round of the year. Ortega had Volk in trouble with two different submissions, tight ones at that, but Alex never panicked, and survived. Round four, he beat the absolute daylights out of Ortega. It could have and probably should have been stopped, but Ortega came back in round five, and won the round by my scoring. Two of the judges gave the fight to Volk all five rounds, only one scored the fifth for Ortega. Regardless, it was a stellar fight.
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10 PM ET)
Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-46)
Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy by TKO (ground strikes) at 4:00 of round 4
Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz by TKO (punches) at :44 of round 3 (five rounds)
Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jessica Andrade def. Cynthia Calvillo by TKO (punches) at 4:54 of round 1
Preliminary Card (ESPNNews/ESPN+, 8 PM ET)
Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes by TKO (strikes) at 4:25 of round 2
Dan Hooker def. Nasrat Haqparast by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Chris Daukaus def. Shamil Abdurakhimov by TKO (punches and elbow) at 1:23 of round 2
Taila Santos def. Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6 PM ET)
Jalin Turner def. Uros Medic by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:01 of round 1
Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Matt Semelsberger def. Martin Sano by KO (punches) at :15 of round 1
Jonathan Pearce def. Omar Morales by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:31 of round 2