UFC returned with UFC 266 today and in the co-main event, reigning UFC Women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko went up against Lauren Murphy.
Valentina and Lauren started the first round on a cautious note. Valentina was having marginal success in the round which was pretty much uneventful apart from a few strikes and a takedown towards the end that the champion managed to land. Murphy pushed Shevchenko against the cage at the start of the second round and pushed for a takedown but failed to complete the same. Shevchenko had answers to all the punches that were attempted by Murphy in the round and slowly picked up her pace as well when the round progressed. The champion landed her second takedown of the match midway through the second round and closed the round on top.
The confidence of Valentina grew further in the third round as her volume of strikes was increasing. It was all Valentina throughout the third round which mounted the pressure on Murphy heading into the championship rounds. The fourth-round had a similar story but at the three-minute mark, Shevchenko managed to land some huge shots which wobbled Murphy. Murphy, to her credit, managed to survive the onslaught initially but Shevchenko landed some heavy ground and pound to retain the title with a fourth-round finish.
Valentina came into the fight on the back of seven back-to-back wins which saw her clean up the Women’s Flyweight division. Her latest win came against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 as well. Lauren, meanwhile, built her way up to the title fight and got the same after her win against Joanne Calderwood at UFC 263.
UFC 266 was headlined by the UFC Featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. Valentina Shevchenko went up against Lauren Murphy in the co-main event with the UFC Flyweight title on the line. Another major attraction on the card was the showdown between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler. It marked the return of Nick Diaz into the octagon after a long gap of seven years. The match ended in a third-round finish in favor of Lawler. Robbie Lawler was able to drop Nick Diaz after which Nick was not able to continue.
In the main card opener, Jessica Andrade secured the first-round finish against Cynthia Calvillo. Curtis Blaydes also picked up a win against Jairzinho Rozenstruik after a three-round matchup.
Dan Hooker, Merab Dvalishvili, Chris Daukaus, and Taila Santos among others also picked up wins on the preliminary fight card for UFC 266. What are your thoughts on the event? Let us know in the comment section of the article below.