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After months and months of accumulation, Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will lastly get their hands on each other in the primary occasion of UFC 266 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Volkanovski and Ortega were initially set up to lock horns in March. A favorable COVID-19 test for the champ postponed the bout. The 2 signed on to coach opposite one another on the return of The Ultimate Fighter.
Naturally, the truth TELEVISION competitors is a breeding place for hate and drama. The accumulation has actually been even more intense than typical for a battle that has actually basically been in the offing considering that the spring.
The 2 featherweights with bad blood aren’t the only ones defending a title. The card likewise includes the most recent defense from dominant females’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, who will see Lauren Murphy in the co-main occasion.
We’ll likewise the return of Nick Diaz and numerous close matches on paper. Here’s a take a look at the entire card, the most recent chances and forecasts for the greatest battles.
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Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN PPV)
- Alexander Volkanovski (c) (-180; wager $180 to win $100) vs. Brian Ortega ( 155; $100 bet wins $155)
- Valentina Shevchenko (c) (-1600) vs. Lauren Murphy ( 900)
- Nick Diaz ( 140) vs. Robbie Lawler (-160)
- Curtis Blaydes (-335) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik ( 260)
- Jessica Andrade (-225) vs. Cynthia Calvillo ( 185)
Prelims (ESPN News/ESPN )
- Marlon Moraes ( 205) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (-255)
- Dan Hooker (-150) vs. Nasrat Haqparast ( 130)
- Shamil Abdurakhimov ( 175) vs. Chris Daukaus (-210)
- Roxanne Modafferi ( 340) vs. Taila Santos (-450)
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)
- Uros Medic (-125) vs. Jalin Turner ( 105)
- Cody Brundage ( 110) vs. Nick Maximov (-130)
- Matthew Semelsberger (-550) vs. Martin Sano ( 400)
- Jonathan Pearce ( 125) vs. Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer (-145)
Odds through DraftKings Sportbook
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Ortega is no complete stranger to defending the title. T-City’s only loss pertained to Max Holloway after a fourth-round TKO.
In that battle, Ortega’s striking was exposed. In the past, the submission expert had the ability to win some battles where he was getting beat in the stand due to the fact that of his submission video game. Both Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano were beating Ortega with their striking prior to eventually giving in to a guillotine choke.
Ortega wasn’t lucky adequate to discover a tap from the previous champ, and Holloway outstruck him 290-110
The loss led Ortega to take a prolonged lack from the sport in which he has actually attempted to up his striking video game.
His return battle versus Chan Sung Jung showcased that rather, however his ground video game still played a significant function. That’s constantly going to hold true, however the concern stays whether Ortega has the weapons to keep Volkanovski at bay when the battle isn’t on the ground.
The response to that concern is most likely no, and except locking on to a surprise submission, Volkanovski is the choice here.
Prediction: Volkanovski by means of choice
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At this point, Shevcehnko’s most significant challenger is dullness. As in, combat fans are having a hard time to come up with intrigue in her battles. She’s plainly the most dominant fighter in her department, yet she currently has 2 losses to Amanda Nunes, so going up 135 pounds isn’t all that appealing.
It isn’t her fault, however it does establish a vibrant where she has actually type of struck her ceiling.
As for this match, there aren’t numerous opportunities by which you can see Murphy winning. Shevchenko is a well-rounded excellent fighter with couple of weak points.
If she wishes to keep the battle at kickboxing range, she will select Murphy apart with her speed and power. If Murphy picks to grapple, Shevchenko will counter with a strong clinch video game and gradually crush her.
Murphy is an excellent story. She has actually continued to improve and has actually absolutely taken advantage of her physical capabilities. Great stories do not win champions.
Shevchenko need to roll here, and the only thing that might keep it from ending early is Murphy’s strength.
Prediction: Shevchenko by means of choice
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The return of Nick Diaz is among the significant stories of UFC266 Reuniting him with Robbie Lawler more than 15 years after they battled the very first time makes certain to bring some fond memories.
But Diaz was on a three-fight winless streak when he ignored the sport. Lawler hasn’t won a battle in 4 shots. At this moment, both are this high up on the card from name acknowledgment.
The 3rd greatest battle on the card in regards to stakes is Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the heavyweight department.
The bout puts Blaydes’ dominant fumbling video game versus the knockout power of Rozenstruik. It’s a match that Blaydes has actually seen lots of times. He holds wins over Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Junior dos Santos and Alexander Volkov.
Granted, his losses have actually pertained to Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis, however combating a powerful striker isn’t brand-new for Blaydes.
Rozenstruik hasn’t seen numerous elite wrestlers. His greatest wins have actually come versus the similarity Andrei Arlovski, Overeem, Dos Santos and Augusto Sakai– none of which are takedown artists.
It’s difficult to select what you have not seen, and there are a lot of unknowns about Rozenstruik’s takedown defense to choose him here.
Prediction: Blaydes by means of second-round TKO
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