UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler is just days away, and the lightweight division will have a new undisputed champion when it’s all said and done.
Charles Oliveira enters having won his last eight bouts, seven of which were stoppages. His counterpart at UFC 262 and former Bellator lightweight champ, Michael Chandler enters the contest with a ton of hype as he attempts to secure UFC gold in just his second appearance.
Oliveira vs Chandler presents a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt taking on an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler. Not to mention, both athletes have proven more than capable of winning fights with their hands. Only one man will leave UFC 262 as lightweight champion however.
Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1NC, 18-8 UFC)
“Do Bronx” signed to the UFC all the way back in 2010 as an unbeaten prospect. The Brazilian submission artist began his UFC tenure up and down, winning 10 of his first 19 bouts. Astonishingly, from the summer of 2018 to March of last year, Oliveira finished seven consecutive opponents. Then, at UFC 256 he capped off his title run with a dominant decision victory over Tony Ferguson. The 31-year-old currently stands at the top of the mountain in terms of submissions with 14.
Michael Chandler (22-5, 1-0 UFC)
“Iron” Michael Chandler has had an entirely different run to a UFC lightweight title fight. The 35-year-old at Bellator for a decade, picking up wins over the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson (x2). Knocking out Dan Hooker in his UFC debut was an enormous statement and it ultimately earned him this opportunity. Chandler has certified knockout power to go along with his All-American wrestling credentials.
Every round of every fight begins on the feet so it’s only right to discuss striking first. “Do Bronx” stands 5’10” with a 74.0″ reach and he fights orthodox with very few stance switches. Meanwhile, Chandler is 5’8″ and has a 71″ reach, and packs dynamite into every punch. Chandler won his UFC debut with a step-in left hand, where he went to the body with the right then stepped in and caught Hooker circling out. Oliveira doesn’t possess the same type of knockout power, but he is adept at utilizing a variety of kicks, knees, and elbows to soften up his opposition.
Oliveira vs Chandler is going to involve grappling at some point, and the work on the mat might decide the outcome of the fight. Either guy may look to shoot for a takedown if he sees the opportunity present itself. Chandler is the better wrestler though, especially offensively. He often uses explosive slams to get his opponents to the ground, and Oliveira has actually shown susceptibility to being picked up and slammed. The caveat to that is the BJJ 3rd degree black belt feels at home with someone in his guard. In actuality, Chandler probably wants to avoid this bout going to the mat at all costs due to the very real danger of being submitted.
Still, expect it to get there at one point or another and if it stays there, that spells trouble for Chandler. If Oliveira vs Chandler enters clinch scenarios it favors the Brazilian due to his height and adeptness to land devastating elbows. The issue with even entering the clinch with “Do Bronx” is that he can attack submissions while on the feet. Chandler wants to keep this fight at distance and utilize his explosive movements.
Oliveira vs Chandler Prediction
“Iron” Michael Chandler is definitely the hardest-hitter that Oliveira has faced in years. It will be fascinating to see how he eats some of Chandler’s best shots (assuming he does). Early in the fight, expect Oliveira to throw a few leg kicks with bad intentions to slow down Chandler’s big movements. If “Do Bronx” can withstand and/or avoid the heaviest strikes, he’ll be in good shape because he possesses more ways to win.
The biggest factor in Oliveira vs Chandler is the fact that the Brazilian owns the advantage in two of the three biggest aspects. Give him the edge in both the clinch and on the ground. Yes, the American is an incredible wrestler, but going to the mat just isn’t a smart notion when fighting Oliveira. Chandler has the power to secure a knockout at UFC 262, but that’s his only chance. It’s a very close fight, but going with the UFC veteran.
Who wins in Oliveira vs Chandler? Drop your UFC 262 main event prediction in the comment section!
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