Nick Diaz is officially set to end his six-year hiatus from MMA.
The former Strikeforce welterweight champion will face off against Robbie Lawler in a rematch 17 years in the making.
For anyone who doesn’t remember, Diaz and Lawler first squared off at UFC 47 in April 2004. The Stockton California native famously picked up a one-punch knockout win after two rounds of war.
Dana White revealed on Wednesday that Diaz and Lawler will rematch at UFC 266 on September 25. The fight will be only the second non-title, non-main event fight in UFC history to be set for five rounds. Nate Diaz was involved in the first when he went toe-to-toe with Leon Edwards at UFC 263 last month.
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Nick Diaz is understandably the underdog ahead of his MMA comeback at UFC 266. The oddsmakers have him at +110 to return with a win in September.
The 37-year-old has been out of action for several years and for the large majority of that time he’s been living his best life in Las Vegas.
Even before his hiatus from the sport Diaz wasn’t at the peak of his powers.
Diaz is currently riding a three-fight losing streak. He was last seen in action against Anderson Silva at middleweight in 2015. Diaz suffered a unanimous decision defeat in that fight, but the result was later overturned due to a positive drug test from ‘The Spider’.
Lawler is backed by the bookmakers to emerge victorious against Diaz at UFC 266. If you fancy a bet on ‘Ruthless’, you’ll find him priced at -138 to get the win.
The former UFC welterweight champion is amid a run of poor form.
Lawler has lost four fights in a row and looks somewhat gun shy. The 39-year-old has fallen to consecutive losses against Colby Covington, Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, and Neil Magny. He last recorded a win inside the Octagon against Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in 2017.
Before we give our early prediction on Diaz vs. Lawler II, we just want to note that this is the perfect fight for both men.
The former champs are clearly on the downslide but still very capable of entertaining crowds if they are given the right fights – props to the UFC matchmakers for this one.
Ultimately, we will be betting on Lawler to emerge victorious as UFC 266.
The simple fact is he’s been active. We understand he hasn’t looked good but he’s been in the gym training for MMA fights and competing against the best in the world.
It’s just unfathomable that Diaz can take so much time off and come back and look anywhere near his best.
We expect a tentative start from both men before Lawler begins to find his range and get the better of the stand-up exchanges.
Both men are tough and will come in in great shape, so we expect this fight to go the full 25 minutes before ‘Ruthless’ gets his hand raised, snaps that four-fight skid, and avenges one of his most famous defeats.
Who do you think will win at UFC 266? Nick Diaz or Robbie Lawler?