1. UFC 266
The busiest weekend in Las Vegas sports began on Saturday with UFC 266, and boy did they put on a card to remember. In fact, between Valentina Shevchenko putting Lauren Murphy down for a KO/TKO victory and Alexander Volkanovski defeating Brian Ortega in the main event, it was quite the show to remember. Another big fight that evening was Nick Diaz versus Robbie Lawler, which ended when Diaz was sent to the floor after a punching combination that left him with a bloody nose. A referee asked him if he wanted to continue and Diaz said no.
“Thank you for bringing the best out of me,” Lawler said he told Diaz afterward. “I have a lot of respect for you. Hopefully, your life is gonna get together and good things are going to happen to you.”
2. Las Vegas Lights vs San Diego Loyal
The Las Vegas Lights were next on the docket for the busiest week in Las Vegas sports history, and they had a tall task ahead of them in the form of the San Diego Loyals on Saturday night. The Lights were the first to score after Danny Trejo pounded the soccer ball into the net and gave the Lights the first lead of the game. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, San Diego would score the tying point in the next ten minutes of the game and followed that up with another goal in the 65th minute of the matchup. Vegas would score one more goal thanks to Cal Jennings knocking one in late, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-4 loss.
3. Las Vegas Raiders vs Miami Dolphins at Alligent Stadium
All eyes turned to Allegiant Stadium at 4:15 on Sunday to watch the Las Vegas Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins in their third game of the season.
Expectations were high for the Raiders, especially after defeating the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first two weeks of the season, but they gave up two touchdowns in the first quarter of the game.
The Raiders ended up rallying, though, and were able to score ten points in the second quarter to make the score 14-12 at halftime.
And that’s when the Raiders did their best work, keeping the Dolphins scoreless in the third quarter and tacking on a touchdown of their own, thanks to Derek Carr. The Dolphins would catch up again by scoring 11 points in the final quarter of the game, but the Raiders were able to send the game into overtime with a tying kick-to-end regulation. This set the stage for another intense overtime game for the organization and resulted in Daniel Carlson kicking the game-winning field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 season.
Peyton Barber made a huge difference in the game, scoring the opening touchdown on the ground and racking up a total of 111 yards. Barber and Kenyan Drake were supposed to split carries in place of the injured Joshua Jacobs and did a very good job. In fact, once Jacobs comes back, the Raiders could end up splitting carries between all three running backs.
“I don’t apologize for winning these games, no matter how we won them,” Gruden said. “When you’re down 14-0 and score 25 unanswered in the NFL against a team like that, something’s going right.”
4. NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway opened up the round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs, and the 1.5-mile track did not disappoint when it came to action. All that action started Friday night when Christian Eckes was able to pull away from the field in the Camping World Truck Series and earn his first NASCAR win. That was followed up by Josh Berry, who filled in for Michael Annett, winning at Las Vegas in the Xfinity Series and setting the stage for a very bright future at JR Motorsports.
Fast forward to Sunday night’s Cup race, and it was an intense battle between the Joe Gibbs Racing machines and the Hendrick Motorsports cars. While Hendrick managed to stay competitive for most of the evening, even leading laps at one point, it was Denny Hamlin who no one could seem to catch up to in the closing stages of the race. This gave Hamlin the eventual win and a guaranteed spot in the round of eight. Chase Elliott finished second, Kyle Busch finished third, Martin Truex Jr finished fourth, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.
“It feels so good to win in Vegas,” said Hamlin, after becoming the first driver to earn a spot in the round of eight next month. “I’m so happy to not have to worry about the next two weeks.”
5. Las Vegas Golden Knights Vs. San Jose Sharks in T-mobile arena
The Las Vegas Golden Knights started their preseason Sunday night at Allegiant stadium against the San Jose Sharks.
Unfortunately, the Sharks proved to be much more than they could handle. Of course, Max Pacioretty and Paul Cotter were able to get the puck in the net for the Knights, but that didn’t help things much.
Logan Thompson turned out to be the team’s biggest issue, letting four goals slip into the net throughout the game.
In the end, the Golden Knights lost 4-2 in Sunday night’s matchup, but there were some positives there too. For example, Pacioretty proved that he’s still the dangerous scorer who helped lead the team to the playoffs the last couple of years.