Lawler spoils Diaz's return with 3rd-round TKO

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Nick Diaz's return was the biggest storyline heading into UFC 266, but Robbie Lawler played spoiler on Saturday.

Lawler, a former welterweight champion, defeated Diaz via TKO at the 0:44 mark of the third round in the highly anticipated middleweight bout in Las Vegas.

Diaz fell to the ground in the third after Lawler landed a hard punch to his nose. The referee asked Diaz to stand up, but the contest was ultimately waved off after he couldn't get to his feet.

Before the finish, the rematch was a back-and-forth battle. Lawler started strong in the first round, tagging Diaz with a big punch before Diaz came back later in the frame with solid combinations.

Lawler clearly beat Diaz in the second round, as the 39-year-old landed the more impactful strikes. He came out looking for the finish at the start of the third stanza and quickly ended the fight.

With the stoppage, Lawler ended a four-fight skid and earned his first victory since 2017.

Diaz returned Saturday from a six-year layoff. His last bout was a no-contest against Anderson Silva in January 2015. The former title challenger is now winless since 2011.

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Lawler spoils Diaz's return with 3rd-round TKO
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