Tag Archives: UFC 262

UFC 262 Fallout: Who can beat Oliveira? Tony Ferguson is finished

It’s the beginning of a new era at 155lbs as Charles Oliveira defeat Michael Chandler at UFC 262 to become the 11th undisputed lightweight champion.

It was a rocky start for the Brazilian, as ‘Iron’ Mike was able to close the distance quickly and effectively using his right cross to the body before going upstairs with a couple of hard shots. Those punches took their toll on Oliveira who ended the first round on his back eating big punches, thankful for the buzzer.

Chandler came out rather excited in the second round but his world came crumbling down around him as just 19 seconds later the referee was waving the bout off in ‘Do Bronx’s favour.

The commentary team had spent the entire build up to the fight talking about how Oliveira threw all his strikes with perfect technique and in straight lines, and it was on full display in the finish of this fight.

The 31-year old slipped a barrage of strikes from Chandler, who clearly wanted to take advantage of the fact he’d hurt Oliveira in the round previous, and landed a stunning left hook right on the button to put his opponent down.

He moved in for the kill immediately, landing punches, a knee and an elbow before Chandler tried to create space by moving away. But Oliveira refused to allow him that breathing room and chased him around the cage, before landing another big left hand that put his lights out.

The scenes following the referee’s stoppage were something to behold, as Oliveira climbed the cage and went straight to the commentary table to tell them “surprise, surprise!” – mocking what Chandler had told the world after he stopped Dan Hooker in his debut at UFC 257.

He then proceeded to run around the stadium celebration, embracing fans and coaches before returning to the cage to show the utmost respect to Chandler and his team.

It was the 28th fight of his illustrious UFC career, making him the man with the most fights in the promotion before winning the belt. But it couldn’t have come at a better time for him. He’s in his fighting prime at just 31-years-old and seems to have accumulated the knowledge and IQ from his previous fights to pick and choose his moments well.

He has the most finishes in UFC history now with 17, as well as the most submission wins in the companies history with 14, which begs the question of just who can beat him right now. Whoever does eventually take the belt from him will have to be something special, because Oliveira is far from a one-trick pony.

In the co-main event we saw a brilliant performance from another lightweight in Beneil Dariush as he completely dominated Tony Ferguson for 15 minutes to claim a place in the top five of the 155lbs rankings.

Many thought that Ferguson would come out all guns blazing after back-to-back defeats to Justin Gaethje and Oliveira, but Dariush closed the distance well and used his superior grappling to tremendous effect to take next to no damage in the fight and get a routine win in the end.

While Dariush was incredibly impressive, it was a sad sight to see for Ferguson as it looks like the wild techniques and awkwardness that once made him great are now the exact reason he can’t get anything going.

His basic fundamentals are lacking and in an era where the average level of the UFC fighter has increased, coinciding with father time tapping ‘El Cucuy’ on the shoulder, it may now be time to call it a day.

His run at the top of the division was incredible and the fact he never got to challenge for the undisputed title will always burn him, but rather than go out even sadder he should just admit his time at the top is over and walk away.

Ferguson’s fights are notorious for being absolute wars and he has taken so much damage over his career, not to mention we don’t know the damage caused long-term by the heel hook he refused to tap out to during the UFC 262 card.

There’s no shame in admitting that you’re just not that guy anymore and saving yourself for another day and that’s exactly what I hope he does.

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Christos Giagos def Sean Soriano via Submission (D’arce Choke), Round 2 (0:59)

Big start to the fight for both guys as Giagos lands a nice right hand to open that wobbles Soriano, who responds with a nice low kick that puts Giagos down to one knee. Giagos shoots for a takedown and pushes the fight against the cage before switching to take the back, before letting it go before they separate. Soriano lands a nice one-two down the middle and Giagos is wobbling again, but he responds with a combo of his own. Soriano’s speed is causing Giagos big problems and he’s landing clean. Giagos goes for a takedown but Soriano sprawls well and denies it. Both guys head hunting with the punches right now, but Soriano mixing in some leg kicks too and it’s serving its purpose so far. Head kick from Soriano lands partially as he slips, before Giagos shoots for a takedown and dumps him down as the round ends. 10-9 Soriano.

Soriano comes out heavy once again and lands a big right hand but Giagos goes for a takedown much earlier this time and gets top position quickly. He flows through the position and Soriano tries to get back up, but Giagos locks up a d’arce choke and sits down on it! It’s super tight and Soriano stops fighting it and goes to sleep! Huge win for Giagos!

Tucker Lutz def Kevin Aguilar via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Fast start from Aguilar as he presses forward and applies pressure early looking to throw big strikes to the head. Lutz looking to slow him down a little with leg kicks and then a clinch, but Aguilar doing well to separate and lands a nice left hook. Lutz now starting to come forward more and he lands a nice left hook of his own clean, before a head kick lands partially too. Aguilar is doing well to be dangerous in the pocket and make Lutz think first, then Lutz lands a huge uppercut. Big takedown from Lutz, with perfect timing and minimal effort, before shifting Aguilar over to the cage and starts landing some decent ground and pound to control the position. Aguilar trying to get back up but Lutz does well to keep him down and end the round on top. 10-9 Lutz.

Aguilar charges forward early once again at the start of the round but Lutz times him well and lands a decent left hook counter once again. Good little flurry while moving forward from Lutz again, but Aguilar looking to counter with a hard right hand. Aguilar looks to grapple against the cage but Lutz is able to stop him in his tracks easily then separates with a knee to the head. Aguilar comes forward and lands a nice body shot, but Lutz is timing everything perfectly so far and shoots in for a takedown to get it with ease again. This time though Aguilar is able to battle back to his feet quickly with his legs, before Lutz starts up on the leg kicks and left hooks once again. A more even round certainly, but still Lutz’s for me. 20-18.

Big left hand lands early from Aguilar and gets the crowd on their feet, before another left hand lands and sends Lutz backwards. Lutz replies with a big uppercut and hook combo that rocks Aguilar, but he keeps coming forward and lands more shots making this ugly and hurting Lutz. Aguilar goes for a one-two but Lutz ducks under it and gets the takedown, shuffling him over to the cage and stacking him. Aguilar explodes back to his feet and eats a couple of punches and a knee for his troubles, but he continues to come forward looking to be aggressive. Aguilar shoots for a takedown of his own but Lutz denies him and they go back to trading. Lutz keeping distance with leg kicks and clinching whenever Aguilar gets close as we enter the final 30 seconds. Big left hand from Aguilar snaps Lutz’s neck back but he keeps calm, keeps moving and should take the win. 29-28 Lutz.

Priscilla Cachoeira def Gina Mazany via Knockout, Round 2 (4:51)

Cachoeira comes out of the blocks very aggressive, right hand loaded looking for a power strike but Mazany nice and busy early with her jab and a small flurry. Mazany clinches up and is able to trip Cachoeira down to the top position and while Cachoeira gets up quickly, she’s immediately brought back down to the mat. Mazany starts landing some nice ground and pound as she controls the position, before Cachoeira eventually gets back up and starts landing some nice right hands. Mazany ducks under and gets another takedown to control the rest of the round from top position with ground and pound. 10-9 Mazany, easily.

Immediate takedown at the start of the round for Mazany has them in exactly the same position that they ended the first round in, with top control and suffocating pressure. Cachoeira looks to get back to her feet but Mazany transitions and takes the back, before Cachoeira rolls back onto her back to go into full guard again. More control from Mazany on top as she lands a couple of big elbows. The referee pauses the fight after she fails to advance position and stands them up and now Cachoeira is walking Mazany down and has thrown some big punches. Huge right hands landing from Cachoeira and Mazany is exhausted and hurt! Mazany looking for the takedowns but can’t get it and Cachoeira is beating her up and the referee steps in! Huge win for Cachoeira!

PRELIMS

Andrea Lee def Antonina Shevchenko via Submission (Triangle Armbar), Round 2 (4:52)

Busy start to the fight from Lee early on, looking to land some kicks and a jab early on while Shevchenko is getting her reads and looking to counter. Lee clinches up against the cage and looks for some knees but she gets overpowered by Shevchenko who lands some of her own before the separate. Shevchenko engages in a clinch this time and lands several knees to the body before Lee is able to get away from it. Shevchenko goes for a spinning back first but Lee lands a big head kick and wobbles her, then goes for a takedown and eventually is able to trip her. Lee looks for a big hammer fist that just misses but she’s controlling the top position and sees the round out on top. Close round that Lee probably takes because of the takedown. 10-9.

Lee opens up the round with a huge spinning back elbow that lands flush and rocks Shevchenko! She goes for a finish and Shevchenko grabs her but Lee hip tosses her and ends up in a very dominant position. Big elbows to the head of Shevchenko and she transitions into a mounted triangle and rolls through. She starts throwing elbows off her back with the triangle on and she’s looking for an armbar too but Shevchenko is just about surviving. Huge elbows from Lee with the triangle still synched in and she finally is able to extend the arm of Shevchenko and gets the tap right at the end of the round! Huge win!

Jordan Wright def Jamie Pickett via Knockout, Round 1 (1:04)

Pickett opens the round with a big body kick and charges in for a takedown. Wright stays standing and starts throwing some big elbows to the side of the head and Pickett is hurt! Wright lands some big knees and sends Pickett stumbling as he swings a big right hand. Wright holds on to Pickett in a clinch and throws a big knee up the middle that drops him! He starts landing some huge ground and pound and the referee steps in to end if mercifully! Huge win for Wright! What a performance.

Lando Vannata def Mike Grundy via Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)

A very tactical start from both guys as Vannata bounces around on the outside throwing feints and leg kicks while Grundy is switching stances and staying out of range. Grundy charges in for a takedown but Vannata holds up and both men throw a knee and land in the groin to cause a pause. They resume action and Vannata lands a couple of nice strikes before Grundy gets a single leg takedown. Lots of scrambling as Grundy looks to keep the grip but eventually Vannata is able to escape. Vannata lands a nice knee and then a right hand behind it, before Grundy goes for another takedown but he gets back up to his feet very quickly. Vannata doing well to defend all these takedown attempts and get back up and separated quickly, but not enough action from him so that’s likely a Grundy round. 10-9.

Vannata looks very fluid and relaxed in the second round here as he fakes a knee up the middle, but Grundy fires forward with a takedown attempt once again. Vannata stays standing once again before both men exchange nice, tight right hooks. Vannata pushing forward with pressure and lands a nice kick, before Grundy explodes forward with a big right hand that lands clean. Vannata lands a nice combo that ends with a leg kick before Grundy shoots for yet another takedown. Head kick from Vannata lands and then as he starts faking uppercuts Grundy replies with a big overhand right. Vannata having more success in this round as it ends, 19-19 heading into the third.

Grundy opens up the round with two immediate takedown attempts but Vannata denies them both and fires back with a hard calf kick. Grundy shoots in again but Vannata throws a hard knee that lands flush on the chin but Grundy powers through it and gets Vannata down finally. He starts working to the back but Vannata gets back up, avoiding a submission attempt from Grundy, before picking up and slamming Grundy down to the mat. Grundy explodes back up to his feet and Vannata starts pressuring forward once again as both fighters exchange head kicks. Final minute and both guys still look sharp as Vannata denies yet another takedown attempt to end the round. Great fight, I’ve got it 29-28 Vannata.

Andre Muniz def Jacare Souza via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 (3:59)

Good start to the fight for Jacare as he comes forward landing some nice kicks to the body with a few flurries of strikes before shooting in for a takedown against the cage. Jacare lifts and sweeps the legs to complete the takedown, immediately stepping over and throwing some good ground and pound strikes. Muniz is able to kick his way up and then shoots in for a takedown of his own and lands it. Jacare is able to work his way back up to the feet but Muniz gets him down again and Jacare jumps up again quickly. Muniz jumps on the back and tries to roll over the top, but holds on to Jacare’s arm and sinks in a deep armbar. Jacare’s arm visibly snaps and the referee waves the fight off! Insanity! What a submission win!

*TRIGGER WARNING*

MAIN CARD

Edson Barboza def Shane Burgos via Knockout, Round 3 (1:16)

Big start to the fight from Barboza as he steps forward and lands four huge calf kicks to Burgos that immediately causes problems. Burgos starts firing out his jabs but Barboza is looking to counter them with a heavy leg kick every time. Jab starts to land for Burgos and opens up a cut over the eye of Barboza, who then throws a spinning back kick to the body. Burgos starting to land more and then rips the body big and follows up with a nice left hook too. Barboza throws the uppercut and Burgos replies with a right hand. Barboza spins with a wheel kick and rocks Burgos, then follows up with two or three big right hands! Burgos keeps coming forward though and gets wobbled off a jab. Barboza continues to land the right hook and leg kicks as the round ends. 10-9 Barboza.

Burgos comes forward to apply pressure early in this round but Barboza continues to throw the leg kicks. Burgos goes body, body head while standing and lands nicely. Barboza throws another heavy leg kick and follows it up with a huge left hook, but Burgos keeps coming. Burgos throwing a nice front kick to the body, then follows up with a left hook to the body too. Burgos lands two leg kicks of his own now, before a spinning back kick to the body from Barboza. Burgos throws another calf kick but Barboza responds with a big left hook combo to the body and then the head. Three big body shots from Burgos and then Barboza goes for the wheel kick that just misses as the round ends. What a fight this is. 20-18 Barboza for me, but could be 19-19.

Final round and Burgos is pouring on the pressure now, but Barboza standing with him and throwing those leg kicks once again. Burgos comes forward with the body shots again, and Barboza lands a great body shot before a left hook and overhand right land flush. Both men reset but suddenly Burgos starts to stagger backwards and just falls against the cage! Barboza goes for the finish and the referee ends it quickly! What a fight.

Katlyn Chookagian def Viviane Araujo via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fast start to the fight for Araujo as she steps forward looking to land hard shots and closing the distance to prevent Chookagian’s kicking game from getting going. A nice left hook from Araujo leaves a mark on the cheek of Chookagian, but she fires back with a nice front kick to the body. Araujo throwing a lot of power into all of her shots and missing wildly so far and Chookagian is starting to get her kicks and jab working. Araujo starting to slow down a bit already and Chookagian lands two nice kicks to the body before Araujo shoots in for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage as Chookagian stuffs it and both ladies trade knees to the body as the round ends. 10-9 Chookagian.

Good start to the round from Chookagian as she seems to have figured out her range now, slipping a couple of Araujo strikes before landing a push kick to the chest that sits Araujo down. Chookagian moving well and throws a body kick but Araujo catches it and puts her on the ground. Araujo gets on top and looks to move into full mount. She looks to synch up a guillotine but Chookagian survives it and eventually is able to get back up to her feet. Chookagian now starts throwing big strikes to an exhausted Araujo as the round starts coming to an end. 19-19. Big final round incoming.

Araujo comes out aggressive in the third, looking for nice hooks but Chookagian showing her range once again and landing nice jabs and body kicks. Araujo still coming forward and looking to cause damage with her hands, but Chookagian’s footwork has been great throughout this fight and she is sticking and moving well. Side kick to the body of Araujo, then she counters Araujo’s right overhand with a left high kick. Araujo goes for a takedown but Chookagian does brilliantly to defend it then lands a huge knee up the middle as they separate. Big right hand lands from Araujo in the final 10 seconds but Chookagian fires back with a flurry of punches and kicks to end the round strong. 29-28 Chookagian for me, but it’s all on how the first round was scored.

Rogerio Bontorin def Matt Schnell via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Pretty slow start to this one as both guys look to go make their reads early on. Schnell takes the centre of the cage and cuts off the centre as Bontorin circles on the outside, with the odd jab and low kick each. Schnell finally strings together a flurry of strikes but Bontorin does well to avoid damage, before landing a big right cross. Left hook and then a jab follows it, before a calf kick puts Schnell down on one knee. Bontorin lands a left hand but Schnell replies with a beautiful right hand then a pull left-hook counter that wobbles Bontorin. Bontorin lands a hard calf kick and the round comes to an end. 10-9 Bontorin.

Right high kick from Schnell opens up the round and lands flush on the nose, before following it up with a nice right hand too. Schnell lands a nice jab, low kick combo but Bontorin replies with another strong leg kick of his own. Bontorin is landing his left hook cleanly at will, but Schnell is still coming and landing some good strikes of his own. Schnell throws a nice four-punch combination before Bontorin replies with a low kick and left hook. Bontorin lunges forward and lands a big left hand that wobbles Schnell and he lands two or three more before missing with a big knee as they separate. Another short flurry from Schnell as the round ends, very close round but it’s probably Bontorin’s again for the more eye-catching strikes.

Both men look fearful of making a mistake to lose this fight as we start the third round. Schnell looking to get his combinations off but Bontorin landing the bigger strikes once again. Bontorin moves forward with a big left, right, left combination that rocks Schnell! He changes levels as Schnell is hurt and gets a takedown and starts landing some big elbows on the ground. Schnell tries his best to get out but Bontorin controls the position and sees the round out on top. 30-27 for me.

Beneil Dariush def Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Very aggressive start to the fight from Dariush as he takes the centre and throws a big left hand early. Ferguson not really throwing anything yet and Dariush closes the distance quickly and shoots in for a takedown against the cage. He locks the hands and dumps him down on the mat and Ferguson immediately starts throwing elbows from the bottom. Dariush starts swinging some heavy ground and pound but nothing really landing. Dariush controlling the position from the top and while there’s not much damage being handed out, he’ll take that round. 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts in a similar way and Dariush rushes him for a takedown and immediately gets it against the cage. Ferguson looks to synch up a d’arce choke but Dariush stays so calm and eventually pops his head out with no danger. Dariush starts raining down ground and pound again and Ferguson eventually tries to sweep him, but they end up entangled on the ground. Dariush synches in a heel hook super deep and Ferguson is grimacing with pain but he refuses to tap out! Dariush lets it go then moves to control top position for the rest of the round again. 20-18 Dariush.

Third round and Fergusons leg is in bits after the heel hook. Dariush lands a nasty body kick and then shoots in for a takedown once again and gets Ferguson down with a slam. Dariush goes into side control and is just completely controlling the positions. Ferguson is looking for some type of offence from his back but Dariush dominating him from top position into the final 30 seconds. Dariush rains down some ground and pound to end the fight but that is as one-sided a fight as you’ll see. Huge win. 30-27 Dariush.

Charles Oliveira def Michael Chandler via Knockout, Round 2 (0:19)

Fast start to the fight as Oliveira comes out and drops Chandler with a calf kick early. Chandler comes forward and throws a flurry of strikes, with a left hook busting open the eye of Oliveira. Oliveira shoots in for a takedown and Chandler sinks in a deep guillotine! Oliveira manages to escape and then Chandler gives up his back trying to get back up. Oliveira sinks in both hooks and starts working for the rear-naked choke but Chandler works back to his feet with Oliveira on his back and just drops backwards. He explodes out of the body triangle and gets back to his feet, then rocks Oliveira with a huge punch. He starts teeing off on Oliveira and cuts him up but Oliveira survives the round. Crazy! 10-9 Chandler.

Chandler comes out hard in the second round and Oliveira slips a big shot then lands a picture perfect left hook that drops Chandler! Oliveira charges over and starts blitzing Chandler who is in trouble! Oliveira lands another left hook that crumbles Chandler and it’s all over!!! AND NEWWWW!

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Main card predictions

The new king of the lightweight division will be crowned at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant 155lbs title.

203 days after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, the number three and four ranked fighters in the division go head to head to be crowned champion but the division will be far from settled after this fight.

In the co-main event both Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush will bring the chaos as both men enter a crossroads phase of their career, trying to get to the top but having to cross a top guy on their path.

Last week at UFC Vegas 26 we went 6/9 on an interesting card with one perfect pick to move to 308/482 (63.9%) with 134 perfect picks (43.51%).

We’ll look to improve that record with this 12 fight card and having started with the early prelims here and rounded off the rest of the prelims here, we move onto the main card.


Shane Burgos (13-2) vs Edson Barboza (21-9) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

My pick for fight of the night here as two absolute bangers meet in the featherweight division to open up the main card. Burgos was beaten by Josh Emmett in his last fight at UFC Vegas 3, with both guys trading absolute bombs on the feet, while Barboza “lost” his featherweight debut to Dan Ige before destroying Makwan Amirkhani at UFC Fight Island 5.

Both of these guys are expert strikers, with Burgos coming with a fairly heavy boxing approach while Barboza is as good a kickboxer as there is in the UFC. Both guys use great pressure to overwhelm their opponents and are happy to hold their ground in the centre of the cage rather than back up. Both guys have genuine KO power, but one thing about Burgos is that he is hittable.

He’s as durable as they come though and while he has the ability to get the knockout, Barboza’s ability to use kicks to keep range and some decent grappling in his arsenal too I think he takes a super close fight.
PICK – Edson Barboza via Decision

Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs Viviane Araujo (10-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A striker’s paradise in the women’s flyweight division here as former title challenger Chookagian looks to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2019. Chookagian lost to Valentina Shevchenko before beating Antonina just two months later. She then got knocked out by Jessica Andrade due to a body shot at UFC Fight Island 6 before bouncing back with a decision win over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 255. Araujo has won her last two in the UFC, beating Montana De La Rosa before a win over Roxanne Modafferi at Fight Island 8.

Chookagian is a great kicker from distance, but showed in her last fight that she’s capable of mixing in some wrestling to her game too. Araujo on the other hand walks her opponents down and uses good striking and clinches to wear her opponent down for two rounds before slowly fading in the third.

This is a really close fight on paper and in the octagon, but I think Chookagian is able to mix it up that little bit more and has no issues with her gas tank so she should be able to outlast Araujo and get the win.
PICK – Katlyn Chookagian via Decision

Matt Schnell (15-5) vs Rogerio Bontorin (16-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight between two natural flyweights that was bumped up to the main card following a change in the cards. Schnell has won five of his last six fights, with a win over Tyson Nam at UFC Fight Island 8 most recently. Bontorin has lost his last two in a row, including a violent KO loss to Kai-Kara France III as recently as UFC 259.

Schnell is a brilliant grappler, but he’s shown in recent fights that he has got great power on his feet too and solid technique. Bontorin is a very similar fighter, with good skills on the ground backing up his powerful striking technique. On the feet Schnell has a slight power advantage and in the grappling both have the ability to control from the top but not get submitted from the bottom.

Schnell has a great cardio advantage though and in a scrap I expect to be quite scramble-heavy, I think he can keep the pressure up late to get a stoppage.
PICK – Matt Schnell via Knockout, Round 3

Tony Ferguson (26-5) vs Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Enter chaos for this huge lightweight fight between ‘El Cucuy’ Tony Ferguson and the division’s dark horse Beneil Dariush. Ferguson was on a record-breaking 12-fight win streak before getting dominated by both Justin Gaethje and then Charles Oliveira at UFC 256. Dariush on the other hand is on a six-fight win streak including a memorable KO win over Drakkar Klose before a spinning-back fist win over Scott Holtzman at UFC Vegas 6 and a split decision win over Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 19.

Ferguson is elite at absolutely everything. He brings total chaos to fights with unrivalled forward pressure, heavy hands with his unorthodox striking and great jiu-jitsu skills from top position or off his back. Dariush is similar, with stunning jiu-jitsu skills now being paired with heavy hands and improved striking of his own. This fight will undoubtedly be wild for as long as it lasts, but Ferguson is still by far the best fighter Dariush has ever fought. The question is which Ferguson turns up; the savage or the new version who can’t take the punishment anymore?

My bets are on the old Ferguson, simply because Dariush isn’t even close to being as good and dangerous as Gaethje and Oliveira are. Dariush will however take encouragement from the fact that Oliveira was able to dominate Ferguson on the mat. Despite that though, I think Ferguson comes through the other side and gets a highlight reel KO win to get back on track.
PICK – Tony Ferguson via Knockout, Round 1

Charles Oliveira (30-8 1NC) vs Michael Chandler (22-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

There will be a new lightweight champion crowned this weekend when two styles clash in the main event. Oliveira is on an impressive eight-fight win streak including wins over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson, while Chandler is on a three-fight win streak of his own including a vicious knockout win in his company debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257.

Oliveira is a third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, with heavy hands and great volume on the feet too. Chandler on the other hand is a world class wrestler with great power in both his hands to set up those grinding takedowns. Oliveira is a scary proposition for anyone right now, with the most submission wins in UFC history but enough power and range to really cause Chandler problems. Chandler will undoubtedly be looking to put Oliveira on his back foot in a similar way that he did against Hooker but he will need the fight to stay on the feet to have his best chance of winning.

It’s going to be a crazy fight regardless of how it goes, but Oliveira just has so many paths to victory. The one thing we haven’t see from him is if his cardio can hold up for 25 minutes since he’s never gone past a third round before. Despite that, I think he gets it done with a knockdown followed by a submission to become the new champion.
PICK – Charles Oliveira via Submission, Round 2

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Prelims predictions

The new king of the lightweight division will be crowned at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant 155lbs title.

203 days after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, the number three and four ranked fighters in the division go head to head to be crowned champion but the division will be far from settled after this fight.

In the co-main event both Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush will bring the chaos as both men enter a crossroads phase of their career, trying to get to the top but having to cross a top guy on their path.

Last week at UFC Vegas 26 we went 6/9 on an interesting card with one perfect pick to move to 308/482 (63.9%) with 134 perfect picks (43.51%).

We’ll look to improve that record with this 12 fight card and after starting with the early prelims here, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Andrea Lee (11-5) vs Antonina Shevchenko (9-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A very fun flyweight fight between two ranked ladies in this one as Lee looks to get off a three-fight skid against the sister of the champion. Lee has dropped three decisions in a row to Joanne Calderwood, Lauren Murphy and most recently Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Vegas 10, while Shevchenko has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC with a KO win over Ariane Lipski most recently at UFC 255.

Both Lee and Shevchenko are good strikers on the feet but Lee is also a very competent wrestler when it’s needed too. Shevchenko’s biggest struggles have come whenever a fighter puts her on her back, with next to zero bottom game in her arsenal. This issue Lee has is that she definitely prefers to stand and trade, but her lack of real power encourages her opponents to come forward through those strikes.

Shevchenko does have a decent top game of her own though and this is a pretty even fight on paper, but because Shevchenko is likely to push forward more the takedown should be there for her moreso and she can grab a decision win.
PICK – Antonina Shevchenko via Decision

Jordan Wright (11-1) vs Jamie Pickett (11-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An intriguing fight at middleweight between two prospects coming off defeats in their last UFC fight. Wright stopped Isaac Villanueva after just 91 seconds in his debut back at UFC Vegas 7 before being sent to the shadow realm by Joaquin Buckley at UFC 255 last time out, while Pickett’s debut against Tafon Nchukwi was unsuccessful on the judge’s scorecards at UFC Vegas 17.

Wright is a great striker, with great kicks and good footwork around the cage while Pickett is a good striker of his own. The problem for Pickett is that he struggles to lead the fight, with not enough volume and pressure going forward and too easily backed up to the cage. Wright will pressure forward and get those kicks going looking to land his big right hand.

Pickett is a pretty durable opponent and will throw back with heat, but Wright has the power advantage and stylistically this bout suits him more. He should be able to back Pickett up against the cage and I think he could land hard and clean to get a stoppage.
PICK – Jordan Wright via Knockout, Round 2

Lando Vannata (11-5-2) vs Mike Grundy (12-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun clash of styles fight at featherweight between two UFC veterans. Vannata has just two wins from his last eight fights stretching back to 2016, with his most recent fight being a loss to Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 5. Grundy on the other hand was on a nine-fight win streak heading into his last fight, where he was well beaten by Movsar Evloev at Fight Island 3.

Vannata is a striker with decent power on his hands, once dropping Tony Ferguson in a fight, but over the years his level has plateaued while everyone else has continued evolving. Grundy is the polar opposite, with takedowns the sole intention in his mind to then get control from top position and dominate fights. Vannata’s only path to victory is to KO Grundy early or avoid takedowns for the entire fight.

With Grundy’s high level of wrestling and good durability on the feet, it’s highly unlikely that happens and Grundy should cruise to a pretty one-sided decision win.
PICK – Mike Grundy via Decision

Jacare Souza (26-9) vs Andre Muniz (20-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An absolute banger at middleweight as the veteran Jacare Souza steps back into the octagon to take on the hot prospect Andre Muniz. Souza has lost five of his last seven fights, including his last three in a row which ended in a a KO defeat by Kevin Holland at UFC 256, while Muniz has won six-in-a-row including wins over Antonio Arroyo before a submission win over Bartosz Fabinski.

Jacare is a highly-skilled all-rounder with great striking and brilliant jiu-jitsu, while Muniz is a great judo fighter with brilliant submission skills off his back. Souza was able to hold his own in the grappling with Yoel Romero and Chris Weidman in the past and while he’s not the same fighter anymore he’s still not a pushover. He has a clear power advantage on the feet and if Muniz was able to out-grapple him to get a submission it would be the upset of the year.

Muniz’s only path really is to win the grappling exchanges and control on top, but Souza should be able to use his experience, power and solid grappling to get the win via ground and pound.
PICK – Jacare Souza via Knockout, Round 2

UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler – Early prelims predictions

The new king of the lightweight division will be crowned at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant 155lbs title.

203 days after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, the number three and four ranked fighters in the division go head to head to be crowned champion but the division will be far from settled after this fight.

In the co-main event both Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush will bring the chaos as both men enter a crossroads phase of their career, trying to get to the top but having to cross a top guy on their path.

Last week at UFC Vegas 26 we went 6/9 on an interesting card with one perfect pick to move to 308/482 (63.9%) with 134 perfect picks (43.51%).

We’ll look to improve that record with this 12 fight card, starting with the early prelims here.


Christos Giagos (18-8) vs Sean Soriano (14-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A fun lightweight fight to open the card as Giagos takes on second-time UFC debutant Soriano. Giagos is 3-2 in the UFC so far in his second run with the company, with a decision win over Carlton Minus at UFC Vegas 17 last time out. Soriano on the other hand has won three-in-a-row en route to this short notice call up, with a first-round KO win in March.

Giagos is a good wrestler who knows nothing but to go at 100mph, which causes him plenty of problems going into the latter rounds of fights. Soriano is a good striker and definitely has the edge on the feet, but his last defeat came via rear-naked choke where he looked like a fish out of water on the ground.

If he can clip Giagos early he could get the finish but if Giagos gets his wrestling game going and paces himself enough to survive the full 15 minutes he should take the win.
PICK – Christos Giagos via Decision

Kevin Aguilar (17-4) vs Tucker Lutz (11-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Two guys at different ends of their UFC career as Kevin Aguilar looks to snap a three-fight skid against UFC debutant Tucker Letz. Aguilar’s most recent defeat came in a split decision to Charles Rosa at UFC Vegas 2, while Letz has won 11 in a row since losing his first professional fight including two different appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Aguilar has got great power in his hands as a traditional striker, but his defeat to Rosa wasn’t great considering he got well beaten at his own game. Lutz is one of those fighters who keeps everything technical and tidy, but he doesn’t really shine in any one area of MMA. He lacks a bit of head movement that Aguilar could take advantage of, but his recent performances are quite worrying.

Lutz has good wrestling to mix in to his attacks and if he can take the power of Aguilar, he has sufficient power of his own to do some damage and get a big debut win.
PICK – Tucker Lutz via Decision

Gina Mazany (7-4) vs Priscilla Cachoeira (9-3) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interesting women’s flyweight fight as two women look to make it consecutive wins in the UFC for the first time. Mazany has alternated losses and wins in her last four, losing to Julia Avila at UFC Vegas 2 before beating Rachel Ostovich via knockout at UFC Vegas 15. Cachoeira started her UFC career with three defeats in a row but finally got back in the win column with a 40 second KO win over Shana Dobson back in February 2020.

Mazany is a brilliant wrestler, who uses a grinding style and works hard to land big shots from top position rather than just lay and prey. Her fortunes changed when she moved down to flyweight, with her defeats coming at bantamweight and she looked much better last time out. Cachoeira is a powerful striker who looks to apply lots of pressure on the feet, but if Mazany looks to take this to the ground it will be pretty one-sided.

‘Danger’ will look for the takedowns, because that’s what she does, and should move to 2-0 in her more natural weight class at the expense of a not-so impressive Cachoeira.
PICK – Gina Mazany via Decision

Lightweight title picture far from settled when champion is crowned at UFC 262

It’s been seven months since we saw the lightweight title last get defended in the UFC, when Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Justin Gaethje in a stunning performance at UFC 254 in October 2020.

It was arguably the greatest performance of his stunning 29-0 career, which came to an end in the middle of the octagon immediately after the bout as he retired at the top of the game.

After months of back and forth, UFC 262 will see the crowning of a new champion at 155lbs when Charles ‘Du Bronx’ Oliveira takes on ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler in Houston, Texas.

But while a new champion will be crowned, the lightweight division picture will still be far from settled.

Oliveira comes into the fight on an eight-fight win streak, with notable wins over Kevin Lee and then a dominant performance over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 while Chandler will be entering the octagon for only the second time ever after knocking out Dan Hooker in his debut at UFC 257 in January.

While both men are deemed as the number two and three ranked in the world, it’s a fight that many deem as crowning a filler champion. Dustin Poirier is the undisputed number one lightweight in the world right now, but he turned down the chance to fight for the title to instead fight Conor McGregor for a third time at UFC 264 in July.

While it was definitely the right decision for him and his career, it means that whoever wins Saturday’s main event will still have to beat the top man to ensure their reign is deemed legitimate when all is said and done.

Oliveira has earned his opportunity, with a crazy win streak and accumulating the most submission wins in the history of the organisation during his run. Chandler though seems to have been gifted this chance based on attitude rather than in-cage activity.

Yes his win over Hooker was mightily impressive, but before that he was immediately included as an alternate at UFC 254 for the title fight before ever stepping in the cage for the UFC. Even when that didn’t come to fruition, he was gifted an opponent just outside the top five in Hooker rather than having to work his way up the rankings like everyone else has to.

It’s crazy to think that when Tony Ferguson went on a 12-fight win streak in the company and is yet to receive an undisputed title shot (although obviously injury was a factor). Justin Gaethje had to fight savages before getting his shot despite being a world champion elsewhere too, so there’s nothing wrong with thinking Chandler should’ve been made to do more to earn his shot.

The winner will undoubtedly cement themselves as one of the best in the world, but that’s it. Just one of, not the. The likelihood is that the next challenger for the belt will be the winner of the Poirier and McGregor trilogy, while Gaethje waits in the wings for an opponent to get back in the swing of things too.

It’s a start to finally getting the division back on track, but it’s simply the start. The division won’t be settled by a long stretch and while someone that isn’t Khabib will be in possession of the belt, they won’t be regarded as the best in the world just yet.

Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush both facing crossroads at UFC 262

It’s rare that when you have two big names going head to head in the UFC that there is a crossroads at stake for both guys, but that will be the case in the UFC 262 co-main event this weekend.

Tony Ferguson spend several years as the man in the lightweight division that nobody wanted to face, but after back-to-back dominant defeats in his most recent fights he has got people questioning whether or not he still has it.

On the other side of the cage from him this Saturday night will be the highly impressive Beneil Dariush, who has made a name for himself as the 155lbs dark horse with a string of excellent performances and a six-fight win streak.

Ferguson is in desperate need of a win in this fight. After a record 12 fight win streak at 155lbs, ‘El Cucuy’ was essentially an uncrowned champion in many people’s eyes. He’d beaten everyone in his path and a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov fell through an insane five times meaning he never got a shot at the undisputed title during his career to date.

But he did get a second shot at an interim title against Justin Gaethje last year in the first event to take place during the pandemic for the UFC.

It was a bad night for him as he was knocked out in the fifth round after being brutalised for the entire fight beforehand. Gaethje however was considered one of the absolute best in the world, who enjoys chaos just as much as Ferguson does.

The loss wasn’t looked at so badly, but the performance against Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 was a shadow of the Ferguson we’d all grown to know and love.

Part of the mystery around the fight that never happened with Khabib was Ferguson’s brilliant ground game that went along with his craziness on the feet. But Oliveira came in, went toe-to-toe in the striking exchanges and completely dominated him on the ground.

In his last 40-odd minutes of cage time, Ferguson has lost the aura of invincibility that he once had.

UFC Fight Night: Ferreira v Dariush : News Photo

In steps Dariush now, who has found an aura of his own recently. A six-fight win streak including four finishes, the Iranian has been seen as a man who can make a push up the rankings and potentially challenge for the title.

But this fight is without a doubt the biggest of his career and there is more pressure on him now than ever before. His previous biggest win in his career was arguably his submission win over Drew Dober back in 2019, but Dober isn’t even ranked.

A win over Ferguson will show that he is finally ready to make the step up to the elite, because there are no easy fights after that. A defeat though would set him back and surely have fans question whether he can actually do it at the highest level.

He’s previously been beaten by Michael Chiesa and Edson Barboza, two who have failed to make it at the highest level themselves thus far in their careers, so it’s a barrier he must pass.

For Ferguson, a loss essentially ends his hopes at ever becoming the world champion. Three in a row against fighters of arguably diminishing quality and reputation each time would likely end his career at the top. Dariush needs the win to prove he’s worthy of the reputation he has received and can step up to fill Ferguson’s position in the division.

It’s a crossroads for both guys and a win has never been more important for either guy and all roads lead to chaos at UFC 262.

Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz moved to UFC 263

History will have to wait an extra month to be made in the UFC as the welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz has been postponed.

The first ever five-round, non-title, co-main event was scheduled for UFC 262 later this month to serve under the vacant lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler.

However it has now been moved to June 12th at UFC 263, meaning we’ll have to wait for this banger of a fight.

According to ESPN‘s information, Diaz suffered a minor injury in training and rather than scrap the bout it has simply been moved to the following month’s pay-per-view event.

The injury is undisclosed but is said to be minor enough for the bout to not be in doubt at all and both fighters were happy to move it along.

Diaz will be fighting for the first time since his BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal in 2019, where he was beaten when the doctor stopped the fight after the third round due to a cut above his eye. Prior to that he had returned to the octagon following a three-year absence after a defeat to Conor McGregor by beating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 via unanimous decision.

Edwards on the other hand is on an nine-fight unbeaten run, having not lost since a defeat to the current champion Kamaru Usman way back in 2015.

‘Rocky’ had beaten Vicente Luque, Bryan Barbarena, Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and Rafael Dos Anjos before he saw three bouts with Khamzat Chimaev scrapped due to complications with COVID-19 on both sides.

He then took a short-notice fight with Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 in March to end a near two-year absence from the cage, only to see the fight end in the second round due to an accidental eye poke and declared a no contest.

It’s believed that Diaz specifically asked for a fight with Edwards, with both men believing a win over the other should shoot them into title contention against Usman in the near future.

The fight will still be a five-round, non-title co-main event but will now serve behind two title fights at UFC 263 from Glendale, Arizona on June 12th.

Israel Adesanya will defend his middleweight championship in a rematch against Marvin Vettori in the same building where their first fight took place back in 2018, while Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet in a rematch of their own for the flyweight title too.

Figueiredo and Moreno completed a remarkable three-week turnaround at the back end of 2020 to compete for the title at UFC 256, with the bout declared a draw after ‘Deus de Guerra’ was deducted a point for a low blow.

UFC 262 will continue with the one title fight, while Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush will now serve as the co-main event.

Leon Edwards to meet Nate Diaz at UFC 262 in historic bout

History will be made at UFC 262 as Leon Edwards will meet Nate Diaz in the first-ever five round, non-title co-main event in the companies history.

It is the first time that two fighters will meet in a co-main event in a five round bout with no title on the line, proving even more the pulling power that Diaz has earned himself in the UFC over the years.

It will be a welterweight bout between arguably the biggest star in the division against one of the most underrated in Edwards.

Leon Edwards will be making a quick turnaround to return to the octagon, following his controversial no contest against Belal Muhammad back in March.

Edwards was on an eight-fight win streak and took the fight on short-notice following Khamzat Chimaev’s second withdrawal, forcing the fight to fall apart for a third time. After nearly two years out of the octagon, ‘Rocky’ opted to take whatever fight he could get but the fight was sadly ended early in the second round after an accidental eye poke meant Muhammad was unable to continue.

Since then the British fighter had called for a title shot, but with Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal scheduled to fight on April 24th at UFC 261, Edwards did not want to wait. He was targeting a bout with Colby Covington, but a previous war of words with Diaz along with the eyes the fight will bring has caught his attention instead.

This will be first time Diaz has fought since his massive fight with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 in November 2019 and only the fourth time since his infamous rematch with Conor McGregor back in 2016 at UFC 202.

Diaz spent three years out of the octagon after that fight, citing a need for money or title fights and only wanting to fight ‘real fighters’. He returned to defeat Anthony Pettis in impressive fashion before losing to Masvidal.

Rankings wise it’s a fight that is all in Diaz’s favour, with the Stockton-raised fan favourite not even in the top 15. However his huge popularity will make this arguably the biggest fight of Edwards’ career with more eyes on him now than ever before.

Diaz’s popularity is such that on a card that will be headlined by Charles Oliveira fighting Michael Chandler to crown the vacant lightweight champion as well as Tony Ferguson fighting Beneil Dariush, this will be a five round bout and has been inserted as the co-main event.

In the betting for the fight, Edwards has opened up as the favourite but with Diaz’s experience, durability and skills it should make for a highly entertaining bout for fans to enjoy on what will be a stellar card on May 15th.

Fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler weakens Lightweight title

It’s officially official, Khabib Nurmagomedov has retired from mixed martial arts. There is a new chapter set to begin in the UFC lightweight division, starting at UFC 262.

In the main event, Charles Oliveira will fight Michael Chandler for the soon-to-be vacant 155lbs title as we crown the successor to ‘The Eagle’s throne. The bout will take place in Houston, Texas in front of a capacity crowd on May 15th 2021 as the UFC looks to get back to normal following the global COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s a fight that in reality, doesn’t make a lot of sense to be for the role of king of the lightweights.

Oliveira is currently on an eight-fight win streak in the division, with notable wins against Kevin Lee via submission and then a dominant showing against Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 back in December. That has seemingly been enough to secure him a title shot, despite Ferguson coming off a defeat in their fight and the Lee bout coming when he was unranked.

Chandler on the other hand has had just one win in the UFC, a stunning knockout over Dan Hooker in January at UFC 257 in his company debut. He jumped the queue immediately after signing from Bellator and was installed as the alternate for Nurmagomedov’s final bout against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 before even making his debut and then finally fought against Hooker, who was also coming off a loss.

While both were impressive in their most recent fights, a single win for each over someone ranked in the top ten at the time of the win doesn’t warrant a title fight in my eyes.

Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje have both done more than that and while they’ve both had a title shot and lost to Khabib in the past, they’re still both ranked above the two men who will fight for the belt.

Poirier looks destined to fight against Conor McGregor at some point this summer in their trilogy bout after his knockout win over the Notorious one back in January, so that has seemingly ruled him out of the fight but the UFC have opted to rush into a title fight rather than hang back.

The title isn’t being vacated until the title fight takes place and the division is still moving forward, so what’s the rush?

Having Oliveira fight against Chandler makes sense in the title picture, but it should be a title eliminator bout. Allow Poirier to have his big money trilogy bout against McGregor and then install him as the number one contender should he win that bout and then the winner of the Oliveria vs Chandler bout can fight for the title at the end of the year should everything go well.

It would mean the legitimate number one contender in the division fighting for the title, while Oliveira or Chandler would at least have earned a title fight after beating another genuine contender.

Gaethje deserves to be in the conversation too and a fight against Rafael Dos Anjos could quite easily be in the running for a main event slot too but with the division still moving even without an active champion, the UFC have jumped the gun by throwing this title fight together.

It’s hard to make an argument that McGregor should be in the title picture but with the trilogy bout against Poirier destined to happen, a win for him in that fight means he will have beaten the number one contender and he’s the biggest draw by far so it makes business sense.

Oliveira vs Chandler in May, Poirier vs McGregor 3 in July and the winners fight each other for the title at the end of the year. It was all so simple until Dana White got his hands on it.