A new lightweight division champion will be crowned at UFC 262: Oliveira vs. Chandler on Saturday with the winner of the Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler headline bout grabbing the strap in the post-Khabib Nurmagomedov era. The main event highlights a five-fight main card with every bout having close lines on the opening odds. The 12-bout ticket from the Toyota Center in Houston is filled with numerous betting options and can be seen on ESPN and pay-per-view.
Fast-tracked to a title fight, Chandler (22-5) is making just his second appearance in the Octagon, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a three-time lightweight champion in the Bellator promotion and upset Dan Hooker with a first-round KO in January in his UFC debut. As a -135 favorite on the betting line, Oliveira (30-8) looks to continue a blistering run that’s seen him win his last eight fights while going 9-1 overall since returning to the 155-pound class. Of those nine wins eight were by stoppage. Both fighters have high finishing rates so this one won’t go the distance.
The lightweight class is featured prominently on the main card with a bout between contenders Tony Ferguson (25-5) and Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). There is plenty at stake for Ferguson, who once held the interim lightweight belt. However, back to back losses have him scrambling to get back in contention and at 37 years old his best days might be behind him. Dariush is riding a six-fight win streak and hit the board as a -185 favorite.
Ranked featherweights Shane Burgos (13-2) and Edson Barboza (21-9) square off with the winner vaulting into the thick of the title picture in the ultra competitive division. Barboza spent most of his career fighting as a lightweight before moving down a class last year. He lost a controversial decision to Dan Ige in his divisional debut before a convincing unanimous decision victory over Makwan Amirkhani in October.
Three fights are scheduled on the early prelims card with another four bouts filling out the slate of prelims. Those fights can be seen on ESPN and ESPN+. Betting options for every fight on the night’s ticket are available at BookMaker.eu when you’re ready to make a wager. Let’s take a closer look at few fights on the docket.
Charles Oliveira (-135 ) vs. Michael Chandler (+105 )
With Daniel Poirier busy dealing with Conor McGregor this fight for the vacant lightweight throne may have an asterisk by it. Still, both fighters are more than worthy of wearing the belt and one of them will at the end of the night. It’s a tough call on which fighter comes out on top but one thing is fairly certain: the fight won’t go the distance. Seven of Oliveira’s last eight wins didn’t involve the judges.
While both fighters don’t have backgrounds in striking they’ve been deadly with their fists. Ten of Chandler’s 22 wins have come by knockout or TKO giving him the edge in this category. He’ll need to have successful strikes and stay off the mat against a sub-specialist. Oliveira set the UFC record for submission victories so it’s not a surprise that six of his last nine wins have come via submission. He also has two KOs in that stretch with the lone decision coming last time out in a dominant performance against Tony Ferguson.
Chandler has the stats to post a minor upset in this fight. He can throw punches and is an expert wrestler. However, he has to stay upright since Oliveira owns the mat. Oliveira has more ways of winning the fight, but the one that matters belongs to Chandler, and I like him for KO win inside the distance.
UFC 262 Prediction: Michael Chandler / KO
Edson Barboza (+105 ) vs. Shane Burgos (-135 )
According to the odds this should be another close fight between ranked foes. A longtime contender in the lightweight division, Barboza recently made the jump going 1-1 in the class. He dropped a debated split decision in his 155 debut but gained a UD win last time out. If anything fans won’t be bored with this matchup. Barboza has the record for finishes by kicks while Burgos has twice been involved in the Fight of the Night. Burgos had his three-fight winning streak last time out in a UD to Josh Emmett.
Burgos is a well-rounded fighter with five wins by knockout and five more by submission. He’s proven to be equally destructive on his feet and on the mat, something that Barboza will have to deal with. And he hasn’t dealt well with things in the octagon recently going just 2-5 in his last seven fights. That has me leaning toward the slight favorite Burgos.
UFC 262 Prediction: Shane Burgos / Stoppage