UFC 266 on Saturday featured a rematch that was 17 years in the making. Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler faced Nick Diaz in a five-round fight.
Diaz and Lawler first fought at UFC 47 in April 2004 with Diaz winning by knockout. The rematch was Diaz’ return to the Octagon for the first time since January 2015.
Lawler came out aggressive, taking the fight to Diaz. Diaz answered with volume punching. For two rounds, Diaz threw punch after punch while Lawler pressured him. The two boxed in close quarters with Diaz’ back to the cage.
The momentum changed in the final minute of the second frame when Lawler began landing at a higher rate. He found openings in Diaz’ punches in bunches strategy. A liver kick hurt Diaz and forced him to retreat. The second round ended with Lawler taking it to Diaz.
Lawler picked up the pace in the third round. He started letting his hands go and they were landing. Diaz fired back but a short right hand dropped Diaz to a knee. Lawler followed with an uppercut that glanced off Diaz as Diaz fell to his back. Lawler immediately motioned for Diaz to get up. When referee Jason Herzog told Diaz to stand, Diaz stayed on the ground. The fight was immediately called.
Twitter applauds Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz after wild fight at UFC 266
“I expected for him to bring it to me, push the pace and try to break me, and I was right there with him. That was a fun fight. That’s the kind of shit I like to do,” Lawler said after the win. “I’ve always had respect for Diaz. He brings it every time he steps in the ring. He’s a hell of a fighter.”
Diaz took the loss in stride and said he knew that he ‘had it coming.’
“I’m glad at least I put on a show. I knew I had it coming. Ol’ Rob. I had a lot of stress coming into this one especially being off for a long time. I don’t have any excuses. I had a long time off and I knew I had it coming,” Diaz said.