Alexander Volkanovski retains title at UFC 266


Sep 25, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, United States; Alexander Volkanovski reacts after his title victory and defense against Brian Ortega in UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Volkanovski proved himself on Saturday night.

UFC featherweight champion Australia came close to being twice submitted in the third round of his UFC 266 main event against challenger Brian Ortega of Torrance, Calif. with Ortega (15-2) saved by the horn.

Ortega’s unreal tenacity kept him going the distance in the 5-round fight, but Volkanovski retained his title in a Fight of the Year candidate at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

February 8, 2020;  Houston, Texas, United States;  Jon Jones (red gloves) fights Dominick Reyes (not pictured) during UFC 247 at the Toyota Center.  Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The judges’ scores were 49-46, 50-45, 50-44 for a unanimous decision. It was Volkanovsky’s second successful title defense and his 20th consecutive victory.

“All the skeptics, I will continue to prove you wrong, time and time again,” Volkanovsky said.

The evening’s fight was the final chapter in what is shaping up to be the next dominant UFC title reign.

Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) of Kyrgyzstan played with Lauren Murphy of Houston (15-5) for three rounds before turning up the heat and finishing things off in the fourth. A right hand let Murphy down, then a ground attack ended things at 4:00 a.m. The victory marked Shevchenko’s sixth successful title defense.

“I’m ready for anyone, I’m the champion,” Shevchenko said.

With the title fights headlining, the most anticipated bout of the night was a 17-year-old rematch between fan favorite Nick Diaz (26-10) of Stockton, Calif., And the former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.

Diaz delivered one of the most memorable knockouts in MMA history at UFC 47 in 2004. On Saturday night in a middleweight game, Lawler (29-15) exhausted the struggling Diaz. for the first time since 2015. A right hook was the blow as Lawler won via TKO at 0:44 of the third round.

“I’ve always had respect for Diaz, he brings it every time,” Lawler said.

–Field level media

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