Nick Maximov takes stage with mentor Nick Diaz UFC 266
The longtime fan-favorite, who for years participated in big fights and earned highlight-reel performances in Strikeforce and the UFC, will rematch Robbie Lawler on the main card portion of the UFC pay-per-view event. However, elsewhere on the card, one of Diaz’s disciples will make his anticipated Octagon debut as Maximov faces Cody Brundage in a middleweight preliminary contest.
Maximov, 23, turned heads in November with a win on the week 10 episode of Dana White’s Contender Series. Notably, the high school wrestling standout fought up two weight classes to face Oscar Cota after a last-minute change of opponents. The Diaz brothers prodigy was a clean 209 pounds for the fight. UFC President Dana White, while declining to sign Maximov directly following the show, gave him props for his willingness to take the fight at all.
Nick Maximov competes on UFC 266 card with mentor Nick Diaz
White then invited Maximov to participate in The Ultimate Fighter Season 29, however, Maximov declined.
In the meantime, Maximov competed extensively for grappling promotion Submission Underground, which is headed by former UFC star Chael Sonnen. There, he faced notable competitors from the grappling world in Joe Baize, Aaron Tiegs, and Micah Brakefield.
Ten months since his Contender Series victory, Maximov will compete for the first time in the UFC Octagon when he faces Brundage, a short-notice replacement for original opponent Karl Roberson.
Brundage, 27, is coming off a submission win at LFA 99 in February, and has won six of his seven pro bouts. The Factory X talent has scored finishes in five of those six victories.
A submission over Brundage would be a fantastic way for Maximov to kick off his UFC career, especially on the same card as his mentor Diaz.
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