UFC262 preview: A new heir to the throne

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It’s been more than three years since we have seen anyone other than Khabib Nurgmagomedov wear the UFC lightweight crown. However, on Saturday night either Charles Oliveira or Michael Chandler will become the new king of the lightweight division.

UFC262 will also feature two other formidable lightweights, Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush, who will co-main the event.

Betfred’s Kevin Tsang gives us his breakdown of #UFC262

MAIN EVENT:

· Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler – for vacant UFC Lightweight Championship

· Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush, Lightweight

· Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan, Middleweight

· Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo, Women’s Flyweight

· Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza, Featherweight

Preliminary card

· Ronaldo Souza vs. Andre Muniz, Middleweight

· Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin, Bantamweight

· Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko, Women’s Flyweight

· Lando Vannata vs. Mike Grundy, Lightweight

· Jordan Wright vs. Jamie Pickett, Middleweight

· Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira, Women’s Flyweight

· Kevin Aguilar vs. Tucker Lutz Featherweight

· Sean Soriano vs. Christos Giagos, Lightweight

 

Where, when and how can I watch it?

UFC262 is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 15th and is being held at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas.

It will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1 in the UK. The early prelims start at midnight, and the main card will kick-off at around 3am BST.

We expect the main event of Oliveira and Chandler to start at around 5am BST

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (30-8-0)

Currently on an 8-fight win streak, Charles Oliveira has the chance to become the 17th Brazilian division champion in UFC history.

Oliveira’s last performance came against a dominating decision win against former No. 1 lightweight contender Tony Ferguson at UFC256. Oliveira was the early aggressor, firing shots and throw feints to get inside. He eventually got his opportunity where he picked Ferguson up from the body lock and brought him on to his back.

This was followed by a couple of inside punches and elbows. A few moments before the horn sounded in the first round, Oliveira managed to position himself into an armbar attempt and the submission was completely locked in but through sheer heart, Ferguson was able to hold out until the end.

From then on, Oliveira dominated Ferguson in all departments.

Michael Chandler (22-5-0)

Michael ‘Iron’ Chandler stormed into the UFC with a first-round knockout of Dan Hooker in January. The three-time Bellator lightweight champion now has a chance to win UFC gold in just his second fight with the promotion.

Less than three minutes into his octagon debut, the fight was resolved as quick as you like. After feeling his opponent out, Chandler moved onto the offense and backed his opponent up. Chandler launched a devastating left hand which caught his opponent right on the button, followed by a barrage of punches to end the fight in 2mins 30 seconds.

Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler Prediction

Arguably one of the best grapplers in the world, Oliveira holds the UFC record for submission wins with 14. His striking has also improved, with two of his last four wins coming by way of KO/TKO.

This will be a close fight, but I think Michael Chandler gets the job done. With his experience, I think Chandler will be able to get into the pocket and unleash his explosive power.

Even if Oliveira is able to turn this into a grappling affair, I’m confident Chandler will be hold his own as he was an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler with a good defensive wrestling ability and an underrated ground game.

However, I don’t think this fight will go to the ground and therefore I predict a second round TKO victory for Michael ‘Iron’ Chandler.

Tony Ferguson (26-5-0)

For the first time in his MMA career Ferguson has lost two fights in a row and will be looking to rebuild towards another crack at the lightweight title.

A win over his next opponent might just put him back in the title frame – however, if he was to lose, Ferguson might miss his chance and be known the greatest lightweight never to win the belt.

Ferguson’s last performance came against Charles Oliveira where his opponent dominated him on the ground. He showed a lot of heart to withstand Oliveira’s armbar attempt, took a lot of damage on the ground, and that was pretty much that!

Ferguson never got the opportunity to gain momentum and show his famous illusive style that we are used to seeing. Instead, his energy was sucked up by a very talented grappler.

Beneil Dariush (20-4-1)

A veteran is own right with over 18 fights in the UFC, No.9 ranked lightweight Dariush is coming off a split decision victory over Carlos Ferreira.

It wasn’t his greatest performance in my opinion, as it could have gone either way. Nevertheless, this was his sixth straight victory and his longest win streak in the octagon. It’s fair to say he’s arriving in fine form!

Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush Prediction

It’s safe to say this is a MUST-WIN for Ferguson if he has any chance to ever become lightweight champion of the world. In my opinion, Ferguson is one of the most entertaining fighters around, and his illusive style, combined with unpredictable striking, makes him incredible to watch.

However, one of his biggest drawbacks is that he’s a very slow starter. He’s well known for breaking down his opponents and wearing them out, but this means he takes a lot of heat at the start of his fights.

Therefore, the big question for Ferguson at 37 years old is – can he maintain this style of fighting? If he has any chance of winning this fight, he’ll need to tighten up his defence and be explosive from the start.

For Dariush, he is a well-rounded fighter who has vastly improved his Muay Thai and striking. He’s also an excellent grappler and loves to throw those overhand punches. My only worry is that he’s very wild in his exchanges, which opens him up to some dangerous combinations.

Overall, he’s a very tough competitor and loves to take one to give one! I think this could go down to a decision for either men, but I’ll give it Ferguson just solely based on experience.

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