but neither did this tragic sight that some had predicted. After a grueling back-and-forth that brought T-Mobile Arena to its knees, Lawler earned the TKO in the third round.
Let’s hope both guys were aware of the outpouring of fan adoration from every nook and cranny of the venue. They’ve always been open and honest, and Saturday night was no exception.
Those three fights were simply the climax of an important night for combat sports.
A night of actual boxers performing genuine bouts is no longer a luxury in an era when the YouTuber-as-boxer fad is edging closer to being at least a tributary of the sports mainstream.
It’s a must for MMA — and boxing, for that matter — to remain relevant.
In front of 66,000 spectators in London, Oleksandr Usyk dethroned heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, earlier in the day.
UFC 266, on the other hand, was a nonstop brawl.
Prior to the two championship fights and Diaz’s comeback,
there were fights involving rated fighters at both heavyweight and women’s flyweight (Curtis Blaydes crushed Jairzinho Rozenstruik) (Jessica Andrade knocked out Cynthia Calvillo).
We also witnessed Merab Dvalishvili pull off a remarkable comeback,
coming back from the verge of being knocked out by Marlon Moraes to win by TKO on the strength of a triple-digit onslaught of unanswered punches.
There was much more to come. This was one of those evenings that late-night TV commercial huckster Ron Popeil would have been proud of.
To be fair, it’s a throwback to the days when fight cards were jam-packed with the right sort of drama,
but it seemed appropriate on a night that was somewhat of a throwback to the days when fight cards were jam-packed with the proper kind of drama.
There are also actual battles.
Diaz showed signs of his old self, but it’s time to step away.
Raimondi: Nick Diaz’s unedited interview with Brett Okamoto, which aired earlier this week, was one of the first things I saw on the internet.
And I’ve been saying for a few days that I’m not too worried by what Diaz is saying.
Diaz’s conflicted views towards MMA have been well-documented for over a decade.
Diaz has never been hesitant about admitting that he dislikes fighting and only does it out of necessity.
He was destined to do it, despite the fact that he despised it.
Even though Diaz was knocked out in the third round of his UFC 266 bout with Robbie Lawler, I don’t feel any different than I did before the fight.
Let’s be clear about something. Diaz didn’t seem to be any slower or in worse condition as a result of what he stated in the interview.
He was 38 years old at the time and had not fought in nearly seven years. Lawler was brought into the fight by Diaz.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, he landed more important strikes — 150 to 131 — he landed the most significant strikes in a defeat in UFC history in a fight that concluded as early as this one did.
Diaz’s punches were sluggish, but he landed a lot of combinations versus Lawler and won at least one round.
This week, Diaz informed Okamoto that he would regret not returning sooner before it was too late.
He expressed concern about how he would feel about himself if he did not at least take advantage of the chance. Well, he’s done it now.
And, despite a few excellent moments versus Lawler, it’s time for him to put his gloves away forever.
I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be seeing Diaz fight someone else the UFC may set up for him next, apart from a few elderly legends like himself.
Lawler was a great matchup since he was another elderly fighter whose best days are behind him.
In the end, it wasn’t a total failure, but it also wasn’t a resounding triumph.
It was in the center of the road. I’m happy Diaz understood when to call it quits. Before things began to go bad fast, he had that presence of mind.
Hopefully, he is now at peace with his decision to quit and has no regrets regarding his MMA career.
He’s done enough for us all, and now it’s time for him to go on to the next phase of his life.
Diaz has entertained us with his fights for almost two decades. He isn’t one of the all-time great fighters.
But he’s one of the most beloved fighters of all time because you always knew what you’d get from him: a bloodbath.
On Saturday night, it was against Lawler, and Diaz understood when to raise the white flag. It’s time to do the same for his illustrious career.
Appreciate Valentina Shevchenko, even if she’s erased the drama in a sport that relies on it.
Okamoto: For the record, I believe we value Shevchenko.
I think she is well aware of her uniqueness in this sport. Shevchenko gets her due in this sport.
But isn’t it usually difficult? We, as viewers, like the unknown, so it’s easy to ignore her.
Of sure, we appreciate excellence, but we can only tolerate so much domination before our attention wanes.
And Shevchenko may be heading in that direction right now.
She’s destroyed every flyweight she’s fought, and she’s already dispatched the finest opponents she can find.
Maybe we felt those competitors had a shot if we squinted very hard and utilized our imagination.
The world’s Joanna Jedrzejczyks and Jessica Andrades. Shevchenko devoured them.
We’re going to keep moving down the 125-pound ranks now simply to get fresh matches. And Shevchenko’s betting odds will continue to be very favorable. And as spectators, we may find it difficult to get up for that.
But it’s worth noting how Shevchenko has polished her skill and continues to devote herself and develop in a sport that requires so much.
So keep an eye on Shevchenko. Continue to admire her for who she is.
Even if it’s the same movie you’ve watched a hundred times before.
Dan Hooker should get big-name next
Legaspi: The battle took place, which was significant in and of itself.
The visas for both boxers came at the last minute, and Dan Hooker defeated Nasrat Haqparast in a dominating performance.
Neither fighter sought a catchweight; Hooker needed to remain at lightweight to show that he belonged in the division’s top five once again.
Many people forget that Hooker participated in some of the greatest bouts of 2020 because of Michael Chandler’s early knockout of the New Zealander.
Hooker entered championship contention after two 25-minute battles over Paul Felder and Dustin Poirier, and he should remain there after what we witnessed on Saturday.
In less than 72 hours, he had to travel from Auckland to Las Vegas, make weight, and defeat Haqparast. He was fantastic on his feet and put in a respectable effort on the ground with his much-improved wrestling.
Because quarantine protocols and embassy shutdowns will continue to complicate efforts to lock down big fights in a stacked division, it may be a good time for him and some of his City Kickboxing teammates, such as middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, to make a short-term decision to spend more time in the United States. Rafael dos Anjos, Tony Ferguson, and Beniel Dariush would all be excellent opponents.
Hooker may also be a good proving ground for Arman Tsarukyan, who is on the rise.
Hooker was one of the biggest winners at UFC 266 despite his difficulties in traveling to Las Vegas. And he deserves to be rewarded for his efforts with another major battle.