UFC 266 Betting Predictions
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UFC 266 Betting Predictions

With two title fights and a rematch 17 years in the making, UFC 266 on September 25 should excite fans of UFC bettors of all generations.

Ultimate fighting action returns to Las Vegas with UFC 266 on September 25. The main event features two championships fights and the return of Nick Diaz following a seven-year absence from the sport to take on Robbie Lawler. Get ready for the night with our UFC 266 betting predictions.

Main Event: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega for the UFC Featherweight Championship

To Win the FightSports InteractionSports InteractionTo Win the Fight
Brian Ortega2.551.49Alexander Volkanovski
  • Alexander Volkanovski Record: 22-1, 11 wins by knockout
  • Brian Ortega Record: 15-1, three wins by knockout

It has been a while since we last saw Alexander Volkanovski – but the UFC Featherweight Champion is finally back and ready to defend his title for the first time since UFC 251. Brian Ortega has had only one fight under his belt since the start of 2019 – a win against Chan Sung Jung. His fight before that was a loss to Max Holloway. Volkanovski beat Holloway twice, once to win and once to defend his Featherweight Championship.

In terms of physical attributes, the guys match up pretty even. Ortega is two inches taller, while Volkanovski's reach is two inches longer. Where the fighters separate from each other – and where we find evidence to lean one way – is striking and defence.

Volkanovski is a better striker than Ortega. He lands significant strikes at a higher rate (6.02 per minute vs. 4.29 per minute) and accuracy (55% vs. 38%) than Ortega. For Ortega to win, he likely needs to get Volkanovksi to the ground – which is easier said than done. Volkanovski's takedown defence of 73% is above average for the weight class.

If Ortega cannot get the fight to the ground – where he is at his best – it is hard to see him winning, even if he manages to last all five rounds.

Alexander Volkanovski To Retain the UFC Featherweight Championship
2.55
Sports Interaction

Co-Main Event: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy for the UFC Women's Flyweight Championship

To Win the FightSports InteractionSports InteractionTo Win the Fight
Brian Ortega2.551.49Alexander Volkanovski
  • Valentina Shevchenko Record: 21-3 record, seven wins by knockout
  • Lauren Murphy Record: 15-4 record, eight wins by knockout

Of all the fights on the main card, none looks more lopsided than the championship bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Lauren Murphy. Valentina Shevchenko is considered the second-best women's pound-for-pound fighter in the world (ranking behind Amanda Nunes).

Shevchenko is on a seven-fight winning streak and since 2011 has only two losses (both to Amanda Nunes). Her skills are as diverse as any fighter – with 21 career wins all split evenly by knockout, submission, and decision.

Her opponent in the title fight – Lauren Murphey – is talented in her own right but overmatched. Murphy ranks fourth in the weight class. The two fighters ahead of her (Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian) and the fighter behind her (Jennifer Maia) have all fought and lost to Shevchenko in the last year and a half.

Her last win against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 was arguably her most impressive, winning by TKO (elbows) for a fifth straight title defence. Go with Shevchenko to defend her title for a sixth consecutive fight. Also, considering the line on this fight, consider parlaying her with one of our other predictions.

Valentina Shevchenko To Defend the Flyweight Championship
1.11
Sports Interaction

Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler

 

To Win the FightSports InteractionSports InteractionTo Win the Fight
Brian Ortega2.551.49Alexander Volkanovski

  • Nick Diaz Record: 26-9-2, 13 wins by knockout
  • Robbie Lawler Record: 28-15, 20 wins by knockout

It almost feels like the UFC built a time machine for this fight as the 39-year-old Robbie Lawler takes on 38-year-old Nick Diaz – who has not fought in the UFC since 2015. Sometimes, though, a little bit of fan service is the perfect addition to a fight card.

On paper, this fight is wild. Nick Diaz's last fight was a no-contest against Anderson Silva in 2015. His previous win was against B.J. Penn in 2011. On the other side is Robbie Lawler – who has lost four straight fights dating back to 2017. The two have fought before – back in April 2004 at UFC 47. Diaz defeated Lawler by KO in the second round.

Of the two veteran fighters, the better bet to win is Robbie Lawler. Lawler – despite four straight losses – has at least been in the Octagon lately. He has also fought decently – going the distance in three of the losses. He has also more recently won and lost a UFC Championship than Diaz has been in the Octagon.

Robbie Lawler To Win the Fight
1.77
Sports Interaction

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