UFC 262 heads to Toyota Center in Houston, Texas for a Lightweight title fight headlined by Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler. In the co-man Tony Ferguson returns as he attempts to break his two-fight losing streak against the rampaging Beneil Dariush. While also on the main card Edson Barboza takes on Shane Burgos in a fight sure to be a fight of the night contender. This weekend all three selections I have much shorter than what the bookmakers are offering and am keen to load up on the main card. My three tips are previewed below.
This should be a great fight but one I see going one way. Iron Mike Chandler was a fantastic acquisition for the UFC largely due to his forward pressure and a willingness to put himself into the fire. I sided with him against Hooker and it paid off but the fact that one win gets you a UFC title fight, I am not a big fan of as I would have rather seen Oliveira face either Poirier or Gaethje and have Chandler face the other but regardless this is the fight in front of us. To be completely honest I see Chandler’s chances of winning this as slim. Chandler will pressure forward but Oliveira can use his kicks and counters to completely dismantle the American.
If Chandler leans on his wrestling background and tries to take Oliveira down, he is in even more trouble as the Brazilian will wrap Chandler’s neck before he even knows what happened. Oliveira is a finisher and since his lost to Paul Felder back in 2017 his wrestling and striking has improved astronomically. Let’s also not forget Chandler recklessly charged Patricio Freire back in Bellator in 2019 and got floored. While Freire is a beast in his own right that showcased Chandler’s recklessness when things aren’t going right. Oliveira beats up Chandler for a couple of rounds before landing a head kick or counter right hand to end the night.
Ferguson is honestly so disrespected by the market in this fight it is not funny. Yes he has been completely dominated in his last two fights, but the first was to Justin Gaethje who has run through everyone besides Khabib in the last couple of years and the other the soon to be champion Charles Oliveira. So in this fight Dariush will be out struck and outworked on the feet and he has been wobbled by unranked opponents on multiple occasions which doesn’t bode well against a finisher like Ferguson.
If he takes it to the ground he will be in danger too, just because Tony got beat up by a high level black belt in Charles Oliveira it doesn’t mean he isn’t any good on the mat. Dariush is a top grappler but I would be shocked if he can hold Ferguson down. Therefore, I see this as a pure striking battle and one that sees Dariush getting beat up for almost 15 minutes on the feet. Tony as an underdog against a fighter knocked out in round 1 by Alexander Hernandez two years ago? Thanks for coming bookies.
This is another fight which I have the market the other way around. Let’s start with Barboza. He should be 2-0 at Featherweight if it wasn’t for wonky judging. He has the best kicking arsenal in the UFC and since moving down a weight class his punches are able to sit people down. I must admit Barboza’s struggles have come largely against pressure fighters, which Shane Burgos is. However, as showcased in the case of Dan Hooker you can’t just walk Barboza down you have to blitz in and out. Burgos often just comes forward in a straight line and doesn’t cut off the cage.
Against Barboza, that will end poorly as the Brazilian will land a hard kick and circle back to the middle and reset every time it gets a bit hairy. Burgos for mine is a poor mans Calvin Kattar who will be a nightmare for the fringe top 15 but won’t be able to challenge the quality opponents he meets in the top 10. While Barboza isn’t in the top 10, if the judging was competent, he would be right now. Barboza lands heavy body and leg kicks that will accumulate and either stop Burgos in the third or earn a comfortable decision victory.
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