In a clash of titans, Robbie Lawler gets what he ‘expected,’ outlasts Nick Diaz in UFC 266 showstopper.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Robbie Lawler approached a seated Nick Diaz and took his hands in his.
As a gesture of respect, the two pressed their foreheads together.
Lawler and Diaz, two elderly fighters are known for their great MMA bouts, squared up again at UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
Lawler was victorious by TKO at 44 seconds of the third round, despite the fact that they were both closer to 40 years old than 30.
Afterward, Lawler claimed he thanked Diaz, “Thank you for bringing out the best in me.” “I have a great deal of admiration for you.
Hopefully, your life will start to fall into place and wonderful things will happen to you.”
Lawler, a former UFC welterweight champion, delivered a series of punches,
ending in a powerful right hand to Diaz’s nose, which knocked him out.
Diaz shook his head when referee Jason Herzog asked if he wanted to continue.
The fight was called off by Herzog.
In his postfight interview, Lawler stated, “That’s what I anticipated.”
“I anticipated him to attempt to break me by pushing the pace. And I wasn’t going to allow him.”
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Diaz, a cult hero among fans, has not fought since losing a majority decision to Anderson Silva at UFC 183 on Jan. 31, 2015,
a fight that was subsequently overturned to a no-contest when Silva tested positive for a steroid and Diaz tested positive for cannabis.
Diaz voiced animosity against the sport of MMA and claimed he wasn’t sure why he was competing in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto earlier this week.
As a result, several in the MMA world questioned whether Diaz should be competing.
But when he entered the Octagon on Saturday, he proved he was ready to fight,
hitting lengthy combos and his typical number of punches, although at a slower pace.
“I’ve always admired Diaz,” Lawler said. “Every friggin’ time he steps into the ring, he brings it.
He came to fight and put up a great performance.”
Diaz was then seen with a cloth over his nose, which was bleeding.
He hadn’t been knocked out in a fight since 2007 and had only been knocked out once before in about that wasn’t a doctor’s stoppage (2002).
When the fight was called off on Saturday, two judges had the score knotted at 19-19 and the other had Lawler in the lead at 20-18.
Diaz said, “I knew I was leaking in here.” “I didn’t want to make too much of a mess,” she said.
This was a rematch from UFC 47 in 2004, when Diaz knocked out Lawler in the second round.
Saturday’s battle was contested at middleweight, a move made at Diaz’s request during fight week,
and was scheduled for five rounds, which is uncommon for non-title, non-main event fights.
Diaz remarked, “At the very least, I put on a show.” “I had a feeling it was going to happen to me.
There was a lot of anxiety around this one.”
The first two rounds were very tight. In the opening round, Diaz hit a slew of combos.
In the second and third rounds, Lawler responded with stronger punches.
According to UFC Stats, Diaz landed more meaningful strikes, 150-131.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Diaz is just the 12th competitor in UFC history to land 150 major blows in a defeat,
and all of the other bouts lasted longer than this one versus Lawler.
The 150 major strikes matched for fifth-most in a middleweight bout,
while the 281 total significant strikes tied for third-most in UFC middleweight history.
Lawler (29-15, 1 NC) was coming off a four-fight losing streak and hadn’t won since a unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in July 2017.
From 2014 until 2016, the Florida native held the UFC welterweight championship, which he successfully defended twice.
Lawler, 39, has been a professional fighter since 2001 and is a former Elite Xtreme Combat middleweight champion.
Lawler described Diaz as a “fighter.” “That was a tense battle. In the pocket,
he was standing exactly there. He was taking my hard shots as I was throwing them.
It was a significant amount of damage.
When you watch the fight again, you’ll see that it was a three-round battle. I smacked him hard, and it wasn’t his night.”
Diaz (26-10, 2 NC) was seeking his first win since beating BJ Penn at UFC 137 in 2011.
Former Strikeforce welterweight champion, the Stockton,
California native has three title defenses before joining the UFC for his second stint with the organization.
Diaz, 38, is the elder brother of Nate Diaz, another UFC fighter who is one of the most popular on the roster.
“I ruined a few plans,” Lawler said.
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