Robbie Lawler avenged his 2004 loss to Nick Diaz via TKO tonight at UFC 266 with an impressive showing of forward pressure that eventually led to him landing a big right hook in the third round that Diaz couldn’t recover from.
Spinning head kick attempt from Diaz and then ducks low as Lawler looks to counter. Lawler pressing forward throwing hard and has Diaz on the defensive.
Head kick attempt from Lawler and then more punches. Diaz lands a punch of his own. Lawler still remaining the aggressor for now though.
Diaz with a punch to the body. Lawler ducks under a couple of his punches. Body kick from Diaz. Now a rangey one-two from Diaz.
Diaz with a crisp body punch. lawler steps back then comes forward with a punch upstairs and one to the body.
Both men land with punches. Leg kick for Lawler and Diaz counters with a punch. lawler with a body shot. Diaz landing again too. Fast pace to the opening round for a five-rounder.
lawler with a calf kick. Diaz starting to put together combination striking and lands a few clean punches.
Again Diaz with his familiar punches series without putting much weight behind anything, then attempts a high kick that doesn’t pay off.
Diaz digging to the body nicely at times. Lawler coming forward. Diaz covers up against the cage and Lawler starts to let his hands go.
More of the same and Lawler looks to sneak in the uppercut. Diaz comes forward now with a punch series. Now Diaz backing up to the cage again covering up and letting Lawler unleash some blows, then fires back, again landing a nice digging punch to the body.
The round ends at the same fast tempo as it began and it’ll be interesting to see how both men’s gas tanks hold up here if this fight goes long, particularly Lawler given that he unexpectedly had to move up 185lbs on short notice.
Straight back to the action they go with Lawler pressing the action , but Diaz being right there to meet him.
Lawler lands nicely and throws a good knee strike in there too. A hard body kick from Lawler backs Diaz up. Diaz recouperates quicly though and is back in the fight.
Lawler is constantly marching him down though and is keeping his guard high too as Diaz continues to work his volume punching too.
Diaz with punches and then a nice knee to the body. Lawler getting in Diaz’s face again. Diaz lands to the body. Diaz lands a nice series of punches.
Diaz backing up now and gets caught with a solid left hook. Diaz moving away to get some space, but Lawler is like a Terminator as he marches him down again.
Left hand for Lawler. he connects again. Diaz with a punch. Lawler goes to the body and head. Body kick from Diaz. left hook from Lawler almost at clinch range.
Uppercut from Lawler. He has Diaz backed up to the cage again and lands to the body and then upstairs. Knee to the midsection from Diaz.
Diaz with some head movement. A few clean strikes get through for Lawler, but then Diaz lands again. Hard body shot for Lawler and Diaz doesn’t seem to be responding too well when he land to the bread basket. Diaz backing up now as the round draws to a close, with Lawler visibly growing in confidence here and Diaz potentially tiring in his first fight back after over six years out.
Two hard body punches from Diaz to start the third. Right hook for Lawler and then heavy body punches.
Light punches from Diaz and a hook from Lawler. Diaz lands to the body. Lawler lands one to the nose. Now a Hard right hook from Lawler and Diaz sinks slowly to a knee and then onto the mat hurt.
Lawler just looks at him and then opts to walk away, not willing to go down to the mat with the BJJ specialist.
The ref motions for Diaz to stand, but he just looks at him and stays down, so the ref hesitates for a moment and then waves off the fight! Huge TKO win for Lawler to avenge his previous KO loss to Diaz all the way back in 2004.
All credit to Lawler here as in recent fights he’s looked uncharacteristically hesitant to engage, but he clearly had prepared hard for this fight, looking much more like his old self, and even with the short-notice move up to 185lbs he still had an impressive gas tank and used it to continually take the fight to Diaz and was justly rewarded.
As for Diaz, there was signs of ring rust after such a long time away from the Octagon, but he still fought hard and put on a show, and was being cheered as loudly post-fight as he was during his walk-in.