This Saturday night, UFC 262 takes place in Houston. The lightweight title is up for grabs after Khabib Nurmagomedov decided to step away from the sport and relinquish the belt.
Coming off a dominant performance against Tony Ferguson in December, Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira will look to keep his eight-fight win streak intact and capture UFC gold. But one man stands in the way of his dream of being a champion: the former lightweight king in Bellator, Michael Chandler.
In terms of the matchup, Oliveira has made significant improvements with his striking over the years and has adapted his game to more than just a pure jujitsu practitioner. He will always be more dangerous on the mat though, as he is a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu and holds the record for most submission victories in UFC history. He is one of the most skilled grapplers in the lightweight division and the entire UFC roster and is always live to find a finish on the ground in any matchup.
However, this is a tough stylistic matchup for him as he is dealing with a powerful opponent in Chandler, who comes from a high-level wrestling background. It is unlikely that Oliveira is going to be able to take Chandler down and it will be Chandler who is landing any takedowns in this fight. Additionally, Chandler is a competent grappler who has never been submitted in his entire career.
While the fight plays out on the feet, Chandler is going to be much more dangerous with his knockout power and early aggression in the fight. His last three wins have all come by first-round knockout including his UFC debut win over Dan Hooker who is historically very durable. Despite the improvements Oliveira has made in the striking realm, he is still very hittable defensively and that is a bad recipe against someone as dangerous as Chandler on the feet.
Because I expect Chandler to be the one moving forward and landing the more impactful shots along with landing the takedowns and earning control time, he is the more likely round winner in this matchup, and I must favor him to get the job done. He is currently in the +115 range on the betting line, and I believe the odds should be flipped with him as the small favorite. For that reason, he is a great bet this Saturday night.