In his 20th year, Robbie Lawler of Sanford MMA can still fight on a UFC main card level

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Robbie Lawler made his pro MMA debut in 2001.

Since then, he has amassed a stellar career, which continues, in its 20th year, on Saturday against Nick Diaz in another UFC main card battle.

UFC 266 Volkanovski vs. Ortega is on ESPN+ and PPV from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, a former UFC welterweight champ, fights Nick Diaz in a rematch from 2004, which Diaz won via knockout.

During his illustrious pro tenure, Lawler won three consecutive “Fight of the Year” awards from Sherdog and MMA Fighting, for his bouts against Johny Hendricks (at UFC 171 in 2014), Rory MacDonald (at UFC 189 in 2015) and Carlos Condit (at UFC 195 in 2016).

Lawler, who lives in South Florida, trains at Sanford MMA, where MacDonald now trains, too, in (South Florida) Deerfield Beach.

Lawler, 39, is 28-15. Diaz, 38, is 26-9. Both fighters are tough and deliver.

Here is my audio interview with Robbie Lawler.

About UFC 266

UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena with a thrilling pair of world championship bouts.

The Ultimate Fighter coaches collide when UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski defends his title against No. 2 ranked contender Brian Ortega.

The co-main event will see UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko go for her sixth consecutive title defense when she meets No. 3 ranked contender Lauren Murphy.

Also in a highly anticipated rematch, Nick Diaz returns against former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a five-round thriller.

UFC 266: VOLKANOVSKI vs. ORTEGA occurs Saturday, Sept. 25 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

All bouts will be simulcast on ESPN+ in English and Spanish beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with the ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass prelims.

The prelims will continue exclusively on ESPNews, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT followed by the ESPN+ Pay-Per-View main card that will kick off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Tickets available for purchase at

Volkanovski (22-1, fighting out of Windang, NSW, Australia) aims to continue his run atop the featherweight division with another dominant performance. The former rugby player turned MMA star holds impressive victories over Max Holloway (twice), Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes.

Volkanovski now has his sights set on getting the last laugh against Ortega and securing his second successful title defense.

Submission wizard Ortega (15-1 1NC, fighting out of Los Angeles, California) turned heads in his last outing by putting on a striking clinic against Chan Sung Jung in October. A talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, he has also netted spectacular wins over Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Clay Guida. Ortega now aims to settle the score with Volkanovski and achieve his dream of capturing UFC gold.

Shevchenko (21-3, fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) has proven herself to be among the most dominant champions in UFC history. A decorated kickboxer, she has delivered memorable victories against Jessica Eye, Holly Holm and Julianna Pena. Shevchenko now looks to continue building her legacy with another show-stealing title defense.

Murphy (15-4, fighting out of Houston, Texas) intends to shock the world by becoming the first fighter to defeat Shevchenko at 125 pounds. During her UFC run, the 11-year MMA veteran has earned notable victories over Joanne Calderwood, Andrea Lee and Mara Romero Borella. Murphy is now gunning to dethrone Shevchenko and become only the third women’s flyweight champion in UFC history.

MMA superstar Diaz (26-9 2NC, fighting out of Stockton, California) returns to the Octagon for the first time in over six years. Throughout his epic career, he has secured sensational wins against former UFC champions BJ Penn, Frank Shamrock and Lawler. Diaz now intends to remind fans he’s still among the best in the world by taking out Lawler a second time.

Lawler (28-15 1NC, fighting out of Sanford MMA/Deerfield Beach, Florida) hopes to even the score with Diaz 17 years following their first encounter. The former UFC welterweight champion has delivered thrilling knockouts against Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger and Josh Koscheck, and he now aims to secure a measure of revenge against Diaz and begin climbing the ladder back to the belt.

Additional bouts on the card include:

• In a heavyweight contenders’ bout, No. 4 ranked Curtis Blaydes (14-3 1NC, fighting out of Chicago, Illinois) takes on No. 6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2, fighting out of Paramaribo, Suriname)

• No. 1 ranked Jessica Andrade (21-9, fighting out of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) faces No. 5 Cynthia Calvillo (9-2-1, fighting out of San Jose, California) in an exciting clash of women’s flyweight contenders

• No. 6 ranked bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1, fighting out of American Top Team/Coconut Creek, Florida) by way of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) aims for another highlight-reel finish when he squares off with surging No. 10 Merab Dvalishvili (13-4, fighting out of Long Island, New York by way of Tbilisi, Georgia)

• In a heavyweight contenders’ bout, No. 7 ranked Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-5, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) faces No. 10 Chris Daukaus (11-3, fighting out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

• Rising bantamweights meet when Ricky Simon (18-3, fighting out of Vancouver, Washington) faces Timur Valiev (18-2 1NC, fighting out of Toms River, New Jersey by way of Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia)

• Manon Fiorot (7-1, fighting out of Nice, France) hopes for another impressive finish when she takes on submission ace Mayra Bueno Silva (7-1-1, fighting out of Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil) at flyweight

• Undefeated Uros Medic (7-0, fighting out of Anchorage, Alaska by way of Novi Sad, Serbia) meets Jalin Turner (10-5, fighting out of Fontana, California) in an intriguing lightweight bout

• In a clash of Dana White’s Contender Series veterans Karl Roberson (9-4, fighting out of Neptune, New Jersey) takes on Nick Maximov (6-0, fighting out of Stockton, California) at middleweight

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UFC 266 Card

Saturday, Sept. 25

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Main Card 10 p.m. EST on ESPN+ PPV

UFC Featherweight Champ Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega

UFC Flyweight Champ Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy

Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz

Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo

Prelims 8 p.m. EST on ESPN News, ESPN DePortes, ESPN+

Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili

Dan Hooker vs. Nasrat Haqparast

Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chris Daukaus

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Taila Santos

Early Prelims 6 p.m. EST on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass

Uros Medic vs. Jalin Turner

Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva

Karl Roberson vs. Nick Maximov

Matthew Semelsberger vs. Martin Sano

Jonathan Pearce vs. Omar Morales


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