Saturday night’s UFC 262 pay-per-view event will mark history in the promotion’s most prominent weight division. Following the retirement of former lightweight champion and consensus divisional GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov, comes the next chapter. With the trilogy between Dustin Poirier and Conor Mcgregor set for July 10th, the other side of what seems like a semi-final bracket comes Michael Chandler vs Charles Oliveira to determine who the next lightweight champion will be.
Slotted in the co-main event is another important lightweight matchup between two guys who are trying to solidify their place with the elite of the division. Former interim champion Tony Ferguson is riding his first ever 2-fight losing streak after getting dominated on the feet verse Justin Gaethje, and on the mat in his last outing against a surging Charles Oliveira. His opponent, Beneil Dariush has put together his longest winning streak in the organization with 6 over the likes of Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, and most recently Carlos Diego Ferreira back in February.
Flyweights Matt Schnell and Rogerio Bontorin square up as both men are looking to break into the top 5 although the bout is set to take place at 135. Opening up the card will be my pick for the fight of the night as UFC veteran Edson Barboza makes his third consecutive appearance at featherweight against the always exciting Shane Burgos.
Chookagian vs Araujo: Meet the Fighters
Katlyn “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian (15-4, 8-4 UFC)
For the former women’s flyweight title contender Katlyn Chookagian, 2020 was a year full of ups and downs, but her strength of schedule was impressive nonetheless. At UFC 262 on Saturday, her 2021 campaign begins as the #10 ranked women’s pound-for-pound fighter will try to state her claim at a second shot at the title in just over a year’s time. Chookagian enters this bout with over double the UFC experience as her opponent, testing herself against the division’s best from the very beginning.
The Pennsylvania native made her debut back in 2016 against current #3 ranked flyweight Lauren Murphy, winning the bout via unanimous decision and boosting her then-undefeated record to 8-0. The Blonde Fighter is coming into the bout with a record of 15-4 and has made a habit of outpointing her opponents with 12 of those victories going the full 15 minutes. Valentina Schevchenko and Jessica Andrade are the only two that have bested Chookagian since her move to flyweight in 2018.
The Former Bantamweight has found success in the octagon going 8-4 with 6 of those wins coming over current top 15 opponents including the before mentioned Lauren Murphy, Joanne Calderwood, Jennifer Maia, and most recently Cynthia Calvillo in November of last year. A win over Brazillian Contender Vivane Araujo would only further the notion that Chookagian is entirely deserved of her position at the top of a division that only seems to get deeper full of talent-rich prospects.
Viviane “Vivi” Araujo (9-2, 4-1 UFC)
Since joining MMA’s premier promotion in 2019, the 34-year old Brazilian Vivane Araujo has gone 4-1 inside the octagon. The former Pancrase strawweight champion entered the octagon with a 6-1 record earning 5 stoppages in the process. Her debut came on the prelims of UFC 237 where she stopped Talita Bernardo with an overhand right 43 seconds into the third round. Araujo was offered a spot on another high-profile pay-per-view card only 2 months later, but this time in the featured prelim spot. Vivi took full advantage and defeated Alex Davis at UFC 240 with her first decision victory since 2015.
For a third consecutive time, Vivi would be featured on pay-per-view. At UFC 245, Vivane Araujo squared off with Jessica Eye, who was coming off a devastating knockout defeat to the champion Valentina. Early in the bout, Araujo showed that she had some offensive wrestling and used it to good effect in the first round. That is something she will have to do continuously on Saturday if she wants any chance at getting her hand raised. The next two rounds would consist of Eye landing more frequently, which lead to getting the nod on all 3 of the judge’s scorecards.
Since that loss, Araujo proved she had learned from it and has since but together back to back decision wins over Montana De La Rosa and Roxanne Modafferi respectively. UFC 262 will give Vivi her chance at getting one step closer to her ultimate goal.
UFC 262: Chookagian vs Araujo: Fight Breakdown
For a lot of reasons, I am confident Chookagian will be able to grind out another unanimous decision victory at UFC 262. The main one is experience. Win or lose, Chookagian has been fighting tough competition from the jump. Within her 12 career UFC fights, she has seen all styles at the highest of levels and that for me will be a massive factor. We have seen Chookagian’s boxing on the outside, most recently vs Calvillo, and to me, a similar game plan should guide her to victory. Mixing in her footwork with her shot selection ability should give her opponent all she can handle.
Vivane Araujo gives up some size in this division as she tries to make up for it in strength. But, as we saw when she fought Jessica Eye, she struggles with someone who can fight with her at range. I think Vivi has steadily improved since her debut, and these are the types of fights Araujo can learn and get experience from. Her path to victory will be determined by whether or not she can mix in takedowns or clinch positions along the fence tiring Chookagian in the process.
Chookagian vs Araujo Official Predicion: Chookagian via decision
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