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UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler - May 15 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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Saturday 15th May in Houston, Texas. Yes. A UFC card somewhere other than Fight Island or the APEX. And it’s a beauty. 


Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler - Vacant Lightweight Title

Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush

Matt Schnell vs Rogerio Bontorin

Katlyn Chookagian vs Viviane Araujo

Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza

Jacare Souza vs Andre Muniz

Mike Grundy vs Lando Vannata

Jordan Wright vs Jamie Pickett

Andrea Lee vs Antonina Shevchenko

Gina Mazany vs Priscila Cachoeira

Kevin Aguilar vs Tucker Lutz

Christos Giagos vs Sean Soriano 


Look at that for a card. Hopefully most of it stays intact. The main card especially is tremendous. Love all 5 fights there. No doubt this’ll get shuffled and battered by pullouts but I’m trying to stay optimistic. Like 261, the plan is to let a full crowd in for this. We’ll see how that plays out.



Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler headlines then. Great fight this. It’s been a weird road to this point though. If someone said to you a few years ago, back when Oliveira was just an also ran in a stacked Lightweight division and Chandler was in Bellator, that this would one day be a UFC title fight topping a PPV, you’d think they were nuts. Christ, even a year ago you wouldn’t have called it because Khabib was still the King of 155 and there was no indication that he was close to retiring. But despite all the funny twists and turns, as things currently stand, this is the fight that makes sense.


Charles Oliveira has taken a long journey to get to this stage. He came into the UFC back in 2010 as a 20 year old undefeated prospect at 13-0. I clearly remember it, he looked like the least imposing skinny sod ever but he submitted Darren Elkins in less than a minute and that was that, he was off and running. The next few years were up and down and whenever he stepped up a level he’d lose. Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar all beat him. And that kind of form continued. He picked up solid wins along the way over names like Jeremy Stephens and Nik Lentz but again, he’d come up against a Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis and Paul Felder and walk away with a L. It’s been far from straight forward. He always had a killer BJJ game and along the way, even with all the setbacks, you could see the improvements he was making in the striking. But by 2017, the feeling was he’d probably found his level. The two knocks on him were that a) he was inconsistent and b) he had a tendency to crumble if a fight got rough. But from 2018 on, something seemed to click and he turned a corner in his career. He hasn’t lost since. He’s gone 8-0 since the loss to Felder at the end of 2017. He’s finished 7 of those 8 opponents and picked up 4 POTN bonuses in the process. Submission wins over guys like Clay Guida and Jim Miller (avenging the 2010 loss, the first loss of his career) were good. But he didn’t seem to be climbing any higher for the longest time. 2020 was the breakthrough year. He submitted Kevin Lee in a Fight Night main event in Brazil in March. Then in December came the biggest opportunity of his entire career. At UFC 256, Oliveira finally got one of the top names at 155 to accept a fight with him. It was Tony Ferguson. Fresh off the brutal loss to Justin Gaethje, Ferguson just needed to get back in there and make a statement. Unfortunately for him, Oliveira was the wrong man for the job.


Oliveira dominated the fight pretty much start to finish and won comfortably on points. I thought he had a chance to win but I never saw it being this one sided at all. How Ferguson survived the armbar pictured there I don’t know. But that’s about the only positive thing I can say about Fergie that night. He got trounced. It was the kind of big name win Oliveira had been missing. And also, he finally stepped up to that next level and won. It was big for him and I think the consensus opinion was that he had to be next in line for a title fight after that performance. But in the meantime...


The Lightweight landscape changed drastically when Khabib dropped the bombshell that he was retiring following his win over Justin Gaethje in October. Nobody saw it coming at the time but in hindsight it made sense, after the loss of his old man and everything. So with Khabib out of the picture, Oliveira had made a massive claim to be involved in whatever the UFC had planned to crown a new champion. Who his dance partner would be was up in the air. But UFC 257 in January was expected to clear things up with the big Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor rematch, plus Michael Chandler’s Octagon debut against Dan Hooker going down. And speaking of going down...


I think it’s safe to say that if McGregor had won that fight we’d be gearing up for him in a title fight now. And Oliveira probably would’ve been left out in the cold. I’m guessing they’d have somehow spun McGregor vs Diaz 3 or Gaethje into existence. But Poirier scuppered it. So for me, the most logical next fight was Poirier vs Oliveira for the vacant belt. But Dana was refusing to let Khabib go and kept badgering him to stay champ and keep fighting. The fact it’s only just been officially confirmed that Khabib’s retired is ridiculous. Khabib said he was done in October yet it took Dana 5 months to accept it. Anyway, Poirier opted against the title shot in favour of a big summer trilogy decider against McGregor. Can’t blame him for that. Luckily, the UFC had another option.


Michael Chandler was basically Mr Bellator for so long it felt weird when it was announced he’d signed with the UFC. If you thought of Chandler, you immediately thought of the wars with Eddie Alvarez which were two of the best fights in Bellator history. He was the champ and had a sweet run there (although not as good as some claim, in my opinion) with wins over Benson Henderson and Patricky Pitbull being his most notable besides the Alvarez classics. But I said it a lot on here at the time, by the time he put pen to UFC paper I felt like the best days were behind him. He’s not an old man at 34 but his recent wins weren’t all that and he wasn’t far removed from getting stopped by Patricio Pitbull. I just felt like his best chance to do well in the UFC was about 5 years earlier. He came in against Hooker at UFC 257 and I was favouring Hooker to spoil the party. Didn’t go that way. Chandler caught him with a left hook early on and closed the show. 2:30 was all it took. Then he went off on one in the post-fight interview.


“I gotta get something off my chest. This is the greatest moment in my professional life. Conor McGregor...surprise, surprise! There’s a new King of the Lightweight division. Dustin Poirier - your time is coming. And Khabib - if you ever do see fit to grace us with your presence back here in the UFC Octagon, in your quest for 30-0 you gotta beat somebody. So beat me, if you can. God bless, see you at the top!” - Michael Chandler

He really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect debut. A first round knockout, then that promo, and with all eyes watching as everyone got ready for Poirier vs McGregor 2. It couldn’t have gone better for him. One name he didn’t drop was Oliveira but that’s where we are now. And it’s a hell of a fight.

Part of me still thinks Chandler’s best days have passed. I think we might look back on this Hooker win as the moment he peaked, I can’t see it getting much better for him going forward but who knows? Maybe the UFC jump and the big opportunities ahead have lit a fire under him and he’s got more in the tank than I think. At the same time, Oliveira’s clearly levelled up and better than ever right now. I love watching him and I hope he wins. But I can’t shake those memories of where he kind of folded in certain fights in the past. Chandler’s alluded to it himself recently as well.

“You look at the Paul Felder fight, he tapped out due to strikes. You look at numerous fights, if he can’t impose his will on you, there comes a point where he looks at you and decides, ‘Okay, you’ve won this one. I’m done. I’m gonna go collect half a paycheck and I’m gonna go home.” - Michael Chandler

I think he’s being a tad harsh and I wouldn’t ever call Oliveira a quitter like Chandler seems to be on the verge of there. But I think there might be something in the thinking that Oliveira is a bit of a front runner. If it starts going wrong, he seems to struggle to weather those storms. And when Chandler is on I think he has the kind of style and capability to potentially pressure Oliveira to breaking point. But that’s the beauty of this matchup happening now. They’re both on such a high right now and in such a great space in their careers that I think they’re both going to be tougher to crack than at any point previously in their careers.

I’ve waffled enough. As you can probably tell I’m a little bit excited for this fight. Fully rooting for Oliveira here. It’d be fantastic to see him with UFC gold after all these years plugging away trying to climb the ladder. I’m not much of a Chandler fan but him winning could be interesting as well. And it’s got to be almost a concrete certainty that the winner of this defends against the winner of Poirier vs McGregor 3 later in the year. So it’s a really cool little mini tournament we’ve got going on here.



Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush. Should be a corker. Chuffed for Dariush that he’s finally getting to mix with a big name in the division. Like Oliveira, he’s been really good for a long time but has struggled to break into that group of ‘names’ at 155. There’s a few like that at Lightweight. Ferguson’s back is against the wall a bit here as well. He’s coming off an absolute battering from Gaethje and then utter domination from Oliveira in back-to-back fights. It’s always been a ‘what have you done lately’ sport and with those losses and the fact that Ferguson’s 37 now and has been in a shitload of blood and guts battles...naturally it’s got people questioning what he has left. He could do with pulling out something spectacular here but Dariush isn’t going to be easy to do that against. Especially on his recent form and with him being mega motivated here and finally getting that chance to shine against a top name. Make no mistake, Dariush is going to come in firing on all cylinders here. This is a great opportunity for him. And style-wise, he could be tricky for Fergie. He’s got a really strong grappling game so Ferguson mightn’t have that to fall back on like he usually does. On paper, Dariush has the tools to replicate what Oliveira did in December. It’ll be easier said than done. Ferguson’s a mad bastard and he won’t go away easily. But you wonder if the wars are finally starting to take their toll now. And Dariush is on top form now, coming off 6 wins in a row and has knockout power on top of his stellar ground game. It’ll be exciting whatever happens but I’ve got a feeling Fergie might be heading for another loss here. What a plummet that would be. He was set to face Khabib this time last year. Now he could be looking down the barrel of a 3 fight losing skid.



Matt Schnell vs Rogerio Bontorin. Could be fun. Schnell’s been a highlight of most of the cards I’ve seen him on. Consistently entertaining to watch and he’s done alright for himself. He’s 15-5 and, aside from a loss to Pantoja, he’s won 5 out of his last 6 and has recent wins over Tyson Nam and Louis Smolka and looked really good in both. Bontorin is stepping after Alex Perez pulled out. I’m a tad less familiar with him but he’s been decent when I’ve seen him. He’s in desperate need of a win here though. He’s 16-3-0-1 and coming off back-to-back losses. Got stopped by Kai Kara-France in his last fight in March.



Katlyn Chookagian vs Viviane Araujo. Not a big fan of it and it’s the Chookagian factor. Her fights and style do little for me. She’s not a bad fighter, it’s just not usually that enjoyable to watch. Says it all that I remember sod all of her win over Cynthia Calvillo last time out, yet I clearly remember Jessica Andrade folding her with a vicious body shot in her fight before that. Araujo is alright, to be fair. Hopefully she can drag something watchable out of this but considering she’s lost to Jessica Eye, my hopes of her actually winning aren’t too high unfortunately. Chookagian probably shuts her down with a lifeless decision doing the bare minimum.



Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Absolute belter of a fight. Completely forgot it was even booked until now. Burgos doesn’t get enough love for my liking. He’s been consistently great to watch in the UFC so far. 13-2 with wins over Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani. His 2 losses are what people will likely remember more though. And they were both bangers. He got stopped by Calvin Kattar in 2018 in a fun scrap. Haven’t seen it in a while but I’m sure Burgos was really putting it on him before Kattar rallied for the late finish. The second loss came recently, in Burgos’ last fight in June. He lost on points to Josh Emmett.


And it was one of the best fights of 2020. Not on the level of Zhang vs Jedrzejczyk or Figgy vs Moreno but what a crazy and wild slobberknocker it was. If you didn’t see it, fix that immediately. You know the score with Barboza. I’m still not sure Featherweight is where he should be fighting. I don’t think cutting to 145 gets the best performances out of him but whatever. He’s always entertaining to watch. He’s one of those fighters who can lose 4 on the trot and I’ll still be chuffed to see his name on a card next time. His striking is beautiful to watch. He snapped a 3 fight losing streak in October, beating Amirkhani by decision. I like Burgos but I’m pulling for Barboza here. He was making noises about leaving the UFC not long ago but I’m glad he’s re-signed. There’s still plenty of fun matchups to make with him at 145/55, this being a prime example.



Jacare Souza vs Andre Muniz. Not sure what we’re getting here. The consensus opinion on Jacare seems to be that he’s shot now since Kevin Holland battered him in December. He’s coming off 3 losses, he’s 41 years old, he’s definitely on the way down the ladder these days. Not denying that. But people forget that in his fight before that Holland loss he went the distance in a split decision, and up in weight at 205, against current champ Jan Blachowicz. It was a crap fight but still. It doesn’t really fit with the narrative of a guy who’s finished. As a top contender, yeah, those days are over. But how far has he fallen? This is a step down so if he loses again here, well it doesn’t look good. Muniz isn’t bad either. Nearly a decade Jacare’s junior and a grappler himself. He’s 20-4 with 13 of his wins by submission. He’s on a 6 fight streak as well. I think it’s pretty clear what’s going on here. Seems like a matchup designed to get the old dog out of there. We’ll see. If it ends up a ground battle then Jacare should still have the advantage. But I can’t say I’m confident he gets the win on current form.



Mike Grundy vs Lando Vannata. Really like the clash of styles here. Not sure how this one pans out. Very different fighters. Grundy is from Wigan and fights out of Team Kaobon in Liverpool. He’s 12-2 in MMA and was a pretty successful amateur wrestler, winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. He had a cracking fight with Nad Narimani in his UFC debut where he had to weather a storm before coming through with a late TKO. But he dropped a decision against Movsar Evloev last time out. And Vannata is a wildman. In terms of wins and losses, his UFC run has been the shits. He’s gone 3-5-2 since signing in 2016, taking his overall record to a bang average 11-5-2. Not the best. But he’s been great value on the whole when it comes to bell to bell action. His UFC debut was a crazy short notice scrap against Tony Ferguson, for fuck’s sake. And he had Fergie in all kinds of bother early on. Beyond that, there was this...


One of the most picture perfect spinning kick knockouts in MMA history against John Makdessi. Right on the chin. And he had 2 FOTNs with Bobby Green, who I like but he’s not exactly known for having barnburners. Not sure how this goes though. Could easily see Grundy just shutting Lando’s wacky offence down with his wrestling. That’d be the smart move but I’m hoping we get a bit of everything.



Jordan Wright vs Jamie Pickett. Dunno. Both have only fought in the UFC once or twice and I’m not that familiar with either. Wright got battered by Joaquin Buckley in his last fight but was unbeaten before that. He’s 11-1-1 now. And Pickett got decisioned by Tafon Nchukwi in his UFC debut in December, taking his record to 11-5. Only thing that jumped out at me about this pairing was the nicknames. ‘The Beverly Hills Ninja’ vs ‘Nightwolf’. Who comes up with this shite?



Andrea Lee vs Antonina Shevchenko. Not that arsed about this but I like Shevchenko so I’ll give it a look. Never got into Lee’s fights though. She’s in a dodgy patch at the moment as well, having lost her last 3 fights. Another loss here might get her the old walking papers. Shevchenko seems cool though. Not a patch on her younger sister and her transition from Muay Thai to MMA hasn’t been as smooth as Valentina’s but she hasn’t done badly. She’s 9-2 now and had one of the best all around performances of her UFC career to date last time out, scoring a TKO over Ariane Lipski and pocketing a POTN bonus in the process. Hopefully she can build on that momentum and put in a strong showing again here. She’s in a weird spot though because no matter what she does, she’s not gonna be fighting for the title with her sister holding the gold.



Gina Mazany vs Priscila Cachoeira. Not fussed. Neither of these two are going anywhere. Mazany is 7-4 now and coming off a ‘big’ win over Rachael Ostovich in November. It was a solid performance to be fair, she ended it with a nasty body kick. But Ostovich isn’t any good really so it wasn’t like that was impressive. Aside from that she’s lost pretty much every time she’s stepped in with anyone with anything about them. She might win this one though because Cachoeira is no great shakes herself. She’s 9-3 and coming off a 40 second knockout over Shana Dobson in February. But like Ostovich, Dobson’s cack. Before that Cachoeira was losing fight after fight. Jobber central this.



Kevin Aguilar vs Tucker Lutz. I’ve mentioned it a few times on here but if you haven’t seen Aguilar’s fight with Rick Glenn from 2018 and fancy watching a hidden gem, you can do worse then getting on Fight Pass and giving it a watch. Really fun fight that I never see mentioned apart from when I’m bumming it myself. Aguilar won that won but it’s been rough for him lately. He’s coming into this fight off 3 straight losses. He’s 17–4 overall now. ‘Top Gun’ Lutz is making his first Octagon appearance here. Never seen him before but he’s 11-1 with 8 inside the distance and, you guessed it, another one of Dana’s Contenders.



Christos Giagos vs Sean Soriano. This might be alright, can’t say I’m especially arsed. Giagos is 18-8 and has been in with the likes of Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Burns and Josh Emmett. All losses of course but he’s still mixed with some mega tough competition. He’s beat Damir Hadzovic and also had a banger with Drakkar Klose in 2019 that’s well worth a watch if you get chance. Soriano is stepping in for Joel Alvarez who pulled out recently. Soriano had a stint in the UFC years ago but went a dismal 0-3 before being let go in 2015. He’s had mixed results since but he’s won his last 3 fights and stopped ex UFC and Bellator fighter Noad Lahat in 2 minutes in his last fight. 




Edited by wandshogun09
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On 4/20/2021 at 6:50 PM, wandshogun09 said:

He came into the UFC back in 2010 as a 20 year old undefeated prospect at 13-0. I clearly remember it, he looked like the least imposing skinny sod ever but he submitted Darren Elkins in less than a minute and that was that, he was off and running. 

Oliveira was actually considered to be a joke before his UFC debut. He wasn't expected to beat Efrain Escudero or last long in the UFC. 

That perception didn't last long. 


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Really? I don’t remember that at all. I do remember Escudero being expected to win but Escudero was getting some hype at the time after winning TUF and people liked him because he gave Junie Browning his comeuppance on the show. Genuinely have no recollection of people thinking Oliveira was a joke. 

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1 minute ago, wandshogun09 said:

Really? I don’t remember that at all. I do remember Escudero being expected to win but Escudero was getting some hype at the time after winning TUF and people liked him because he gave Junie Browning his comeuppance on the show. Genuinely have no recollection of people thinking Oliveira was a joke. 

Aye, I remember Jordan Breen saying not to expect much out of Oliveira. 

Breen didn't think much of Oliveira's performances in Brazil. 



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It took time for Oliveira to really earn any real credibility in the UFC. A couple of shady stoppage losses early had him pegged as a bit of a bottle job. He's long since shaken off that perception though.

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I wonder if him going back up to 155 is a factor in that. Most of the fights where he supposedly ‘broke’ were at 145, I guess it’d make sense that maybe he just absorbs the shots better at Lightweight. Looking at his record, he returned to Lightweight in 2017 with the Will Brooks fight and he’s gone 9-1 since with the only loss being the Felder one over 3 years ago. 

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Am backing Oliveira on this one. He's very much my kind of fighter - he's clawed his way into contention, improving after losses to get to a level that puts him among the elite.

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Not a big loss but another one down.

On the plus side, and unlikely as it probably is, Randy Costa and Adrian Yanez are both pushing on Twitter for their July fight to be moved forward to this card. Think the motivation is that they both want to fight in front of a crowd. That fight in front of a packed house would be tremendous. Be great if it does end up on this card. They must both be in shape and close to fight weight if they’re campaigning to fight in less than 2 weeks. I’m all for it. Can’t see it actually happening though. 

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