A Rematch For The Ages, UFC 266 Predictions

Source: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

17 years ago I was still a virgin. I was also 11. And although my quest to pop my cherry has been fulfilled, my undying desire to see Lawler and Diaz fight once more seemed to be just a pipe dream. Until today. Forgive if I'm putting the two title fights on the back burner, but when you have a fight between two of the most entertaining welterweights (85ers in this case) in the past two decades someone has to get overlooked.

With that said, UFC 266 will more than likely be defined by its depth of talent. The prelims are almost as stacked as the main card, and when you have a full night of fights to salivate over you know you're in for a good time. Onto the predictions!!!!

Alex Volkanovski (C) vs Brian Ortega

Nothing against this fight, but it just seems so predictable. Whether you think Volkanovski won his last fight with Holloway is irrelevant, Ortega just doesn't have the output to keep up with the champion. Don't get me wrong, he looked good against the Korean Zombie, but his boxing-centric style makes it hard for me to believe he can land meaningful shots on a moving target like Volkanovski. The champ should retain.

Prediction: Alex Volkanovski, Decision

Valentina Shevchenko (C) vs Lauren Murphy

It's getting harder and harder to try and describe just how great Shevchenko is. I'm mean, what else is there to say? She's awesome. Murphy does present some interesting questions grappling wise. But again, seeing Shev lose to someone other than Nunes is like believing in Santa Claus. I'll believe it when I see it.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko, Decision

Nick Diaz vs Robbie Lawler

My jimmies are in a knot over this one. I hate to play favourites, but these two guys have been my favourite since I was a wee little lad. Back then, Lawler was a brawler and Diaz was nothing more than a promising prospect being fed to the UFC's golden pony. Needless to say, two decades and both have carved themselves out a pretty sweet spot in MMA history.

However, Diaz hasn't won a fight in a full decade, and Lawler's been on a skid of his own. And if I'm being honest, I question whether or not Diaz is taking this seriously. He was obviously going to miss weight, and even still his body just doesn't look in peak condition. Not by his standards at least.

This is a five round fight, and although that would've typically favoured Diaz a decade ago, I'm not so sure that will benefit him this time around. Will he manage to break Lawler down? Or will he be broken? I'm betting on the latter.

Prediction: Robbie Lawler, 3RD RD TKO

Curtis Blaydes vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

On paper, this fight seems as simple as Blaydes shoots, Blaydes scores a takedown, done deal. However, when it comes to Blaydes it's never that simple. I don't think Rozenstruik is as scary of a striker as Lewis or Ngannou, but the man can still sling it with the best of them. If Blaydes gets caught AGAIN in this fight I don't like his chances of ever getting a title shot. But I'll say a little prayer for him.

Prediction: Curtis Blaydes, Decision

Jessica Andrade vs Cynthia Calvillo

I'm still uncertain about Calvillo. She's obviously very talented, but now that she is starting to face upper-tier opponents the cracks are starting to show. And facing off against Andrade, I don't think there are any advantages for her. I don't think she'll get squashed by any means, but I find it unlikely she'll be able to ward off the full arsenal of the former champ.

Prediction: Jessica Andrade, Decision

Rest of the Card

Dvalishvili def Moraes

Hooker def Haqparast

Daukaus def Abdurakhimov

Santos def Modafferi

Turner def Medic

Maximov def Brundage

Semelsberger def Sano

Pearce def Morales

2021 Predictions Record: 121-83-3


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