After the dominant reign of Khabib Nurmagomedov ended with the Russian’s retirement last year, there will be a new king of the lightweights crowned on Sunday at UFC 262.
Here are The Wolf’s tips for UFC 262: Oliveira v Chandler.
Charles Oliveira’s UFC career began back in 2010 and it has been somewhat of a roller coaster, only really losing to the top fighters in the division except for a stint in late 2016, when he lost three from four fights. Since then he has gone on a tear, taking out his last eight fights including wins over former contenders in Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. Although his Brazilian jiu-jitsu remains his bread and butter, his striking has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, utilising his long reach as a way to close the distance and take his opponents to the ground.
Michael Chandler announced himself to the UFC in devastating fashion. A 27-fight veteran who has done the majority of his fighting under the Bellator banner, he showed the entire world that he is now here to stay in the UFC when knocking out the ultra-tough Dan Hooker halfway through the first round at UFC 257. He combines an aggressive wrestling forward approach with heavy hands and looks to be peaking at exactly the right time.
Stylistically this is a very intriguing fight. Chandler would normally look to pursue the takedown but Oliveira is one of the most dangerous grapplers in the entire UFC, even off of his back. This fight should be fought at a fairly high pace and The Wolf can see Oliveira controlling the action with his reach advantage and threat of submissions. Even if Chandler manages to put Oliveira on his back, it should only be a matter of time before the Brazilian throws up a triangle choke or wraps up one of his patented guillotine chokes, on his way to UFC Championship glory. The Wolf is backing Oliveira to get the tap out in the first half of the fight at good odds.
Both of these fighters will be eagerly watching the Main Event, as the winner of this bout could either punch his way back into title contention or reach it for the first time.
Beneil Dariush has amassed an impressive record in the UFC, winning all but four fights in a seven-year career. He is an extremely accomplished striker who mixes up brutal leg kicks with powerful punching combinations. His ground game is also somewhat underrated, as he has shown in numerous submission victories.
Tony Ferguson appears to be on a downward spiral of sorts. After spending a great deal of time near the top of the 155lb division, he appears to be a different fighter now after Justin Gaethje battered him from pillar to post at UFC 249. This was followed up by a fight with Charles Oliveira where he was controlled from the get go, taken down at will and never looking in the fight.
The fighting spirit that Ferguson is famous for might now be a thing of the past. He has accumulated a ton of damage over his career and father time could be catching up with him. Dariush has all the momentum in the world (currently on a six-fight winning streak) and The Wolf is tipping him to make it seven on the trot on Sunday.
This fight could determine who gets the next shot at Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko (but to be honest, who would want it?!). Katlyn Chookagian has been a part of the UFC 125lb division since its inception back in 2017, grinding out victories against some decent opponents but ultimately falling short against the upper echelon. She has traded wins and losses in her last four fights but was impressive in her last fight against the highly touted Cynthia Calvillo, earning a decision victory.
Viviane Araujo is a relative newcomer to the division, only having five fights but winning four of them with her sole loss coming at the hands of Jessica Eye at UFC 245. She has quickly but quietly risen up the Flyweight rankings and now finds herself at #7, although a win against the #2 ranked Chookagian could change that.
Although both fighters have a reach of 68 inches, The Wolf thinks the fight could be won and lost in the leg reach. Chookagian holds a massive 5.5 inch leg reach advantage over Araujo and this could be her key to controlling the fight. Aruajo is the more accurate and efficient boxer but Chookagian has shown in the past she has the ability to keep her opponents at bay with her kicks. This will be far from a slugfest but Chookagian bringing up another decision victory looks the safe bet.
Chookagian by Points, Dariush to win and Oliveira to win ($5.19)
MORE UFC TIPS
|Charles Oliveira v Michael Chandler||Oliveira by Submission – $3.20|
|Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush||Dariush by Points – $2.50|
|Viviane Araujo vs. Katlyn Chookagian||Chookagian by Points – $2.00|
|Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos||Burgos by Points – $2.80|
|Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin||Bontorin to win – $2.26|
|Andre Muniz vs. Ronaldo Souza||Souza to win – $1.80|
|Mike Grundy vs. Lando Vannata||Grundy by Submission – $8.00|
|Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko||Wright to win – $1.90|
|Jamie Pickett vs. Jordan Wright||Shevchenko by Points – $2.10|
|Priscila Cachoeira vs. Gina Mazany||Mazany by KO – $6.00|
|Kevin Aguilar vs. Tucker Lutz||Aguilar by Points – $3.10|
|Christos Giagos vs. Sean Soriano||Giagos by Points – $2.10|