UFC 262: Oliveira vs. Chandler Predictions
Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler
Oliveira’s shot at the vacant lightweight title is well-earned, having compiled an eight-fight winning streak in the division while breaking records along the way, including extending his tally for the most submission wins in UFC history to 14.
Chandler’s rise to title contention was far quicker, requiring just a single TKO victory against Dan Hooker in his promotional debut to get the nod, but of course he does have a long history of successes in the Bellator promotion, where he’d ended his 10-year stint there with a KO victory over Ben Henderson last year.
This should be highly entertaining wherever the fight takes place. Chandler possesses genuine knockout power in his right hand and is no stranger to engaging in a firefight as he presses forward. Troublingly, he has been rocked numerous times during his Bellator run and occasionally has been TKO’d, but he does generally have good powers of recovery and has more often than not got the better of those battles.
Oliveira is a threat on the feet too with his dynamic and creative muay thai striking, and while he’s not naturally heavy-handed like Chandler, he is also not to be taken lightly on the feet and will have a 2″ height and 3″ reach advantage here. That being said, he has been stopped by strikes in the past, and Chandler certainly has the power to cause him problems.
Of course, Oliveira’s real A-game is his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu though and he is incredibly active with his submission attempts and clearly has a high success rate in that regard, which could make for some fascinating ground action given that Chandler has a strong wrestling game and can end fights with his heavy ground-and-pound and his own submission skills.
It’s such a big risk tangling with Oliveira on the mat though, so I could see Chandler trying to use his wrestling defensively here and try to get the better of his opponent on the feet. That might be easier said than done though as Oliveira is exceptionally crafty and won’t be averse to pulling guard and setting up scrambling opportunities to get the fight where he wants it.
Given that both men are excellent finishers who are not immune to being finished themselves then this fight really could go either way, but Oliveira is the more dangerous of the two on the mat and has the capability these days to be very competitive on the feet too, so I’ll take him to emerge with a fourth round submission stoppage to become the new 155lb champ.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira to win by submission in Rd4 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush
2020 was a tough year for Ferguson after his title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov fell through and then his 12-fight winning streak collapsed in a convincing TKO loss against Justin Gaethje. To make matters worse Charles Oliveira then defeated him on the scorecards, so ‘El Cucuy’ heads into this co-main event bout coming off back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.
On the other hand, Dariush is riding a wave of momentum, having racked up a six-fight winning streak and looked very good in the process. Always standing out as a very talented grappler, the 32-year-old has also impressed in more recent times by showing off his power on the feet, racking up two KO wins last year.
So, the 37-year-old Ferguson has a real fight on his hands here as he looks to prove that he’s not now past his best. That is a genuine concern though as he has taken a lot of punishment against top flight opposition for a number of years, even in fights that he ended up winning, has had numerous injury issues and he did appear out-of-sorts in his last couple of outings.
That being said, Ferguson is still a lethal weapon offensively with his relentless pace and dynamic, unpredictable striking that’ll be aided by a 4″ reach advantage, together with good wrestling and savvy submission skills.
Dariush is more than capable of matching him on the mat though as I believe he’s the stronger wrestler, and while he might not have the same diversity of attacks at his disposal on the feet, he appears to be the heavier-handed of the two and will find opportunities to land.
It’s too early to say for sure whether Ferguson is going to be the next star to head down the same late-career path as the likes of Donald Cerrone, but there’s certainly enough doubts here for me to lean towards Dariush emerging with the decision victory here.
Prediction: Beneil Dariush to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Matt Schnell vs Rogerio Bontorin
Originally scheduled for the prelims, flyweights Schnell and Bontorin step into the PPV main card spotlight courtesy of a fight between Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shaybayzan being pushed back a week due to Covid related precautions.
Both are all-rounders, but Schnell has more confidence heading into this one as he’s coming off a win over Tyson Nam, albeit only by split decision, while Bontorin is returning after the first KO loss of his career just a couple of months ago. That being said, Schnell has actually been knocked out a few times in his career, including back-to-back ones at the start of his UFC run, so neither man can completely trust their chin here.
Schnell will have a 3″ height and reach advantage to work with and he has some solid fundamental striking he can work behind, while Bontorin is more likely to wade in throwing bombs.
That being said, neither man is a noted finisher on the feet, though on the mat it’s a different story, with Bontorin having finished 11 of his 16 career wins by submission, while Schnell has racked up 8, including back-to-back triangle choke finishes in 2019, so the ground battle could be intriguing.
This should be a close fight, but I don’t like that Bontorin has come back so quickly after his last KO loss, which saw him momentarily lose consciousness as he faceplanted onto the canvas, and I think Schnell’s cleaner, more concise striking will help him get the edge here, while he’ll also be able to hold his own on the mat to win on points.
Prediction: Matt Schnell wins by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Katlyn Chookagian vs Viviane Araujo
Chookagian is coming off a decision win over Cynthia Calvillo and holds the No.2 spot on the flyweight rankings, while Araujo is riding back-to-back wins over Roxanne Modafferi and Montana De La Rosa to claim the No.7 spot.
Chookagian is not the fighter you’d turn to if you’re looking for highlight-reel finishes – in fact she’s only mustered 3 stoppage wins in 15 career wins. Nevertheless, she’s proven to effective at emerging with her hand raised after 15 minutes thanks to her good gas tank and volume striking from distance, which isn’t always especially effective, but is active enough to make an impression on the judges.
Araujo gives up 5″ in height here, but actually has the same reach as Chookagian. She’s a reasonably well-rounded fighter who can give a good account of herself on the feet, but also will look to mix in takedowns and is a submission threat too.
I’m going to slightly favor Chookagian here. She doesn’t have as many ways to win as Araujo and has less power, but she just a knack of staying busy enough throughout the full three rounds to get the decision nod and I think she’ll do so again here.
Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza
This should be a fun way to quick off the main event as there’s going to be plenty of firepower on display between Burgos and Barboza.
Burgos has good boxing ability and puts up high numbers offensively, backed up by solid power. Barboza has more tools at his disposal on the feet as he has high-level muay thai ability and is particularly fast and powerful with his kicks.
So, technically I’d give the edge to Barboza, but at 35 he’s already been in a large amount of striking wars and so he’s not quite as durable as he once was.
The 30-year-old Burgos is the fresher fighter, although he does eat a fair amount of strikes, which may well catch up with him at some point. Nonetheless, I think his forward pressure and high output for the full three rounds is going to stop Barboza from having the kind of time and space he needs to bring his full striking arsenal to bear, so I’ll take the younger man to emerge with the decision win here.
Prediction: Shane Burgos to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
UFC 262 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Ronaldo Souza vs Andre Muniz
Lando Vannata vs Mike Gundry
Andrea Lee vs Antonia Shevchenko
Jordan Wright vs Jamie Pickett
Kevin Aguilar vs Tucker Lutz
Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira
Christos Giagos vs Joel Alvarez
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.