UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega Preview

The first UFC pay-per-view event of the fall will take place this weekend when UFC 266 boasts two title fights. Alexander Volkanovski will defend his UFC Featherweight Championship against Brian Ortega, and Valentina Shevchenko is a massive favorite to retain her UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship versus Lauren Murphy. This is a pretty stacked card as Nick Diaz will also take on Robbie Lawler, Curtis Blaydes will face Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Jessica Andrade will square off against Cynthia Calvillo.

UFC 266 will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The prelims will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN News, and the main event will get started at 10 p.m. ET sharp on PPV through ESPN+.

UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane Betting Odds

Alexander Volkanovski -175

Brian Ortega +150

We haven’t seen Alexander Volkanovski lose a fight in more than eight years. Volkanovski is currently ranked No. 4 in UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, as he has recorded 19 straight victories in the Octagon. He beat the legendary Jose Aldo to set up his title fight with Max Holloway at UFC 245 and beat Holloway by unanimous decision and won the rematch by split decision. This is his first fight in 14 months as he tested positive for COVID in March, and the odds have slowly moved in his favor over the last few weeks.

Volkanovski already holds a transitive win over Brian Ortega by way of Ortega losing to Holloway at UFC 231. That was the lone loss of Ortega’s career, but his only big wins have come against Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar, and The Korean Zombie. Those aren’t great victories since Swanson and Edgar have clearly lost (at least) a step, so Volkanovski should successfully defend his title.

Valentina Shevchenko -1700

Lauren Murphy +850

It’s been impressive to watch Valentina Shevchenko dominate every woman in the UFC except for Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko’s only two losses in the last 11 years have been to The Lioness, and she has had no issues in her last seven fights. She has successfully defended her UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship five times (three times by knockout), and there’s a great chance she finishes within the distance against Lauren Murphy.

Murphy has yet to be knocked out or submitted in her professional MMA career. However, she has not faced anyone nearly as talented as Shevchenko. The win that set this title fight up was a split decision victory over Joanne Calderwood three months ago, and this is asking way too much for the 38-year-old.

Curtis Blaydes -310

Jairzinho Rozenstruik +260

There’s a good chance this bout ends in the first round. We have seen nine of Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s 14 fights end in the first round, and only three of his fights have lasted longer than two rounds. Rozenstruik is someone that comes out like a ball of fury, but if opponents can withstand the first few minutes against him, they can get the upper hand.

Curtis Blaydes knows this and will take full advantage of Rozenstruik’s weakness. Blaydes has the power to keep Rozenstruik from rushing him and the stamina to wear him down after the first five minutes.

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