KEY POINTS

  • Nick Diaz's return to the Octagon will see him in a rematch against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266
  • Lawler might be looking for a knockout to avenge his loss 17 years ago
  • Both fighters are past their prime, but fireworks are still expected

It’s official: Nick Diaz is returning to the Octagon on September 25 at UFC 266.

Last week, it was reported that the long-awaited return of the older Diaz brother was in the works as a potential co-main event for UFC 266, but that spot has since been occupied by Valentina Shevchenko defending her flyweight title against Lauren Murphy.

Kevin Iola of Yahoo Sports confirms that it will be a rematch versus Robbie Lawler.

The fight is confirmed to be a five-round contest, the second non-title fight in the UFC’s history to be scheduled for five rounds after UFC 263’s bout between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards.

Diaz, now 37 years old, last fought in January 2015 as he took on Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

It was ruled a no-contest after Silva popped for PEDs, while Diaz was positive for marijuana--leading to a five-year suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and later reduced.

The 39-year-old Lawler is currently on a four-fight losing streak, his last fight being a unanimous decision loss to Neil Magny.

The question that is on the mind of most MMA fans is this: what can we expect from the rematch?

It’s been 17 years since the pair met each other in the octagon, which ended in this memorable second-round knockout by Diaz.

Lawler can be seen being disappointed with referee Steve Mazzagatti that the knockout was called early despite him stumbling to his feet after falling face down to the mat.

It can be argued that both fighters are past their prime, but with the MMA world not being blessed with a rematch after this fight, the fans deserve to see them go at it again.

Lawler made his name in the MMA scene as a brawler and he kept that same fighting style as he was able to edge Johny Hendricks in a split decision for the UFC welterweight championship.

His most famous fight being that now-legendary matchup between him and Rory MacDonald in July 2015 which left both men bloodied and even UFC president Dana White calling it one of the best title fights in the promotion’s history.

With Diaz, it’s still unknown if he can still hang around in the octagon after not fighting for a long time.

If anything, the Diaz brothers are known for their enormous gas tank and it will make the most sense for Nick to repeat the same strategy that he used against Lawler the first time.

Using superior boxing to keep Lawler at bay, Diaz can punish him with straights and hooks as he drags the fight to the later rounds.

Lawler will need to close the distance with leg kicks and force Diaz against the cage, which is easier said than done since the latter’s footwork is still one of the best in the game.

An outright knockout may be in the cards for the two fighters, but it will most probably end in a technical knockout in the fourth round as Lawler has been able to manage his gas tank better as he aged and Diaz might be testing his power in the early rounds.

However, there is extra motivation for Lawler to end it in a knockout as he looks to regain the loss that led to his release from the company.

The rematch is still as anticipated as ever, and MMA fans can expect fireworks the likes of which will most likely be reminiscent of their first meeting.