- Date & Location: Saturday, May 15, 2021, @ Toyota Center in Houston, TX
- Odds: Charles Oliveira (-137) vs. Michael Chandler (+117) via BetOnline
- Prediction: Oliveira via submission.
The UFC is in Houston, Texas on May 15 for the UFC 262 ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view card. In the main event of that card, Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler compete for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
The belt became officially vacant in March when UFC president Dana White acknowledged the division’s champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, had officially retired.
Oliveira, who has been with the UFC since 2010, is on an eight-fight winning streak. His most recent loss was a 2017 TKO setback to Paul Felder. Since then, Oliveira has seven stoppage wins and one decision victory. Oliveira, who is the No. 3 ranked fighter in the UFC’s official rankings, is coming off a decision win over former interim lightweight titleholder Tony Ferguson. Oliveira has the longest active winning streak in the UFC’s 155-pound weight class.
Chandler, who is a former Bellator lightweight kingpin, made his UFC debut in January with a “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning TKO over Dan Hooker. Chandler ended that fight in 2:30. The former Bellator champion is the No. 4 ranked fighter in the UFC lightweight division.
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OLIVEIRA vs. CHANDLER PREDICTION & PICK
I think a lot of people were disappointed to see Oliveira vs. Chandler in this fight, but only because the expectation was that it would be Dustin Poirier vs. Oliveira, but with Poirier facing Conor McGregor at UFC 264, everyone should be happy about the status of the lightweight division.
Oliveira has racked up 19 of his 30 career wins via submission. Of those submissions, 14 have come in the UFC. That amount of success on the mat has the Brazilian fighter at the top of the all-time submission list in UFC history, three subs ahead of Demian Maia. Chandler has never been submitted in his MMA career, but he has never faced a ground fighter as masterful as Oliveira, who is still in his grappling prime at 31. During his eight-fight winning streak, Oliveira won five bouts by submission, including a 2018 scrap against Jim Miller, who is ranked No. 3 on the all-time UFC submission list.
I don’t expect Oliveira to tangle with Chandler on the feet too long. Instead, I expect the UFC veteran to look to get the fight to the mat and work his magic on the ground.
Prediction: Oliveira -125 via Bovada.
BETTING VALUE WITH OLIVEIRA
This is a risky fight for Oliveira because Chandler has the power and striking advantage and Oliveira has lost by knockout four times in his career. All of those knockout losses have come during his UFC stint. So, if you think Chandler is going to win, his easiest route to victory is probably via his striking and a knockout.
Outside of power, I think Oliveira is the more well-rounded fighter. I think Oliveira can take Chandler deep into the fight and make him tired enough that he will slip up and that will give Oliveira the opening to grab a submission. I think submission is the likeliest outcome in this fight for Olveira.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
It’s shocking to think that Oliveira is only 31. With 11 years of UFC experience under his belt, Oliveira looks as if he has finally put all of his experience, training, and reps together. It might have taken him a long time, but he is still in the prime of his career and he is firing on all the right cylinders at just the right time. He doesn’t have the power and striking of Chandler, but he is no neophyte in the striking department and I think all his other tools will allow him to negate the power of his opponent. Barring Chandler catching Oliveira with a powerful strike, the Brazilian fighter should defeat the American in this contest.
FIGHT STATS: OLIVEIRA vs. CHANDLER
|Charles Oliveira||Category||Michael Chandler|
|3.22||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.29|
|2.94||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.76|
|2.64||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||2.37|
|2.8||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||1.4|
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
It’s likely that the winner of this fight will put the lightweight title on the line against the winner of the UFC 264 contest between Poirier and McGregor.
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