Dana White Privilege, UFC 262 Predictions
Source: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
It's been a long time since the undisputed Lightweight championship was on the line, and the headline didn't involve Khabib or McGregor. It's almost sad to say. As good of a matchup Oliveira and Chandler is, it doesn't quite have the same gravitas the 155 belt usually delivers. This card doesn't really feel like a PPV. It feels more like a really good fight night. It'll be interesting to see the numbers this one pulls.
Don't get me wrong, this card boasts some good fights, but when we look back on UFC 261 and 260, there is a clear gap in name recognition. The UFC does an excellent job at making stars, and maybe they are hedging their bets with Chandler, but I wouldn't be surprised if the buy rate for this card lacks compared to what we are used to seeing from MMA's biggest promotion.
But I'm no businessman! ON WITH THE PICKS!
Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler
If you didn't know who Michael Chandler was before the Hooker fight, boy, did you get treated to an awesome first impression. The long-time Bellator Stallworth has shoved aside any notion that he doesn't belong in the "big show" with his first-round KO debut, and now he's rewarded with a shot at the belt. It feels odd that this is the matchup the UFC settled on. Without Poirier or Gaethje in the mix, this isn't a true indication of who the best 155er is.
At any rate, this is what we are stuck with. On one side, you have the white-hot Charles Oliveira, and on the other, it's Dana's new toy, Michael Chandler. Oliveira brings the noise, and as of, late has done an incredible job at controlling and dictating the pace. He walloped Lee and completely controlled Ferguson, and now he's finally getting the credit he deserves. But will he be able to deal with the pressure that Chandler will bring forth? That's the question.
Chandler has been to hell and back throughout his career. A surefire Hall-of-Famer (not a UFC Hofer, but a real MMA Hofer), Chandler has been involved in as many wars inside the cage as anyone who's ever fought, and that should set us up for an epic finale to the card. To me, though, Chandler's power and his oft-overlooked grappling will be the keys to his success tonight. I think he'll bring the pain, and it'll be too much for Oliveira to withstand.
Prediction: Michael Chandler, 3RD RD TKO
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush
Hats off to Tony, the guy could easily coast through the remaining fights on his contract, but here he is, taking on another top-tier 155er. His previous two fights were, well, beatings. So it'll be interesting to see how he responds in this one. Dariush, on the other hand, is at the peak of his MMA career. If he can rise to the occasion, then maybe he'll be able to outgrow the title of "Joe Rogan's favourite fighter".
Neither guy fits the mould of conventional, so this should be an interesting tilt. If Tony can channel the days of old, he can certainly pick up the W, but I think his days at the top of the sport have passed him. It's time for a new generation to take over.
Prediction: Beneil Dariush, Decision
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo
I don't see many ways for Araujo to get by KC. Said what you want about Chookagian's style. She's effective. Those long limbs will more than likely keep the Brazilian at bay and will probably work to her advantage on the ground as well. With the Andrade loss behind her, KC will march towards the top once again. She's too talented not to.
Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian, Decision
Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos
Now, this is a goddamn scrap! This is by far my favourite fight on the card. We all know what Barbosa is going to bring. Hard leg kicks, a fast-paced style, and an unwillingness to back down. Burgos is like that, but bigger. If you don't believe me watch his fight with Emmett, the man is an exciting watch. The combination of Burgos' lack of desire to take his opponent down, and Barbosa's td defence against average wrestlers, gets me giddy for a standup war.
My thinking is whoever controls the centre will win, and since Burgos is a pressure fighter and Barbosa has been more and more passive in his recent fights, it leads me to lean Burgos.
Prediction: Shane Burgos, 2ND RD TKO
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Matt Schnell
Tough look for Rogerio missing weight. Even so, I never favoured him to win this matchup. Schnell may give up some size, but me tinks he is the better all-around talent, and I like that.
Prediction: Matt Schnell, Decision
Rest of the Card
Souza def Muniz
Vannata def Grundy
Pickett def Wright
Lee def Shevchenko
Mazany def Cachoeira
Lutz def Aguilar
Soriano def Giagos
2021 Predictions Record: 70-44-2