UFC 262 is taking place on Saturday night, and the event is headlined by a lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler. The fight is for the vacant UFC lightweight title, which was vacated after former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired.
Notable DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds
- Favorite Charles Oliveira (-134)
- Underdog Michael Chandler (+110)
- Charles Oliveira By Submission (+195)
- Michael Chandler By KO, TKO or DQ (+210)
- Charles Oliveira By KO, TKO or DQ (+450)
- Michael Chandler By Decision (+500)
- Charles Oliveira By Decision (+550)
- Michael Chandler By Submission (+1400)
- Charles Oliveira: Yes (+115), No (-159)
- Michael Chandler: Yes (+188), No (-275)
Oliveira is a finishing machine. Oliveira is tied for the most finishes in UFC history with 16 and has finished roughly 90% of his UFC wins. Oliveira has gone to decision just three times in 27 total UFC fights and has finished seven of his last eight UFC fights. Most of Oliveira’s finishes are submissions, and he is the UFC submission king, holding the record for most wins via submission in UFC history with 14. Oliveira has been a BJJ black belt for over a decade and uses his jiu jitsu for potent offense, actively hunting submissions during his fights, even when he has his opponent hurt from strikes.
Oliveira’s most recent fight against Tony Ferguson was a rare non-finish, but Oliveira thoroughly dominated Ferguson and had him in positions that would have finished most other opponents, including a fully-extended armbar that Ferguson amazingly refused to tap to. Ferguson ended up getting bailed out by the round ending, and more time on the clock could have resulted in a finish given how deep the hold was locked in.
Oliveira is also a good striker and has pop. Oliveira has showcased this pop recently, finishing two of his last four fights by TKO/KO.
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC 262 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $800K in total prizes, including $200,000 to first place. The fantasy MMA contest locks at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $800K 262 Special [$200K to 1st].
Despite this only being his second UFC fight, Michael Chandler is one of the most experienced lightweights in the sport. Chandler is one of the greatest fighters in the history of the Bellator promotion and was the promotion’s lightweight champion for large portions of the last decade. Chandler is an excellent wrestler who is fast, athletic and has big power in his hands. Chandler’s wrestling credentials include being an All-American in college, and he has one-punch knockout power, which he has showcased in his three most recent fights, which have all been first-round knockouts. One of those knockouts was over former UFC champion Ben Henderson in his final Bellator fight:
Chandler was used as the backup plan for the lightweight title fight at UFC 254 between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje—the UFC had Chandler waiting in reserve as an emergency replacement in the event that either Nurmagomedov or Gaethje had to withdraw from the fight. Then, in his UFC debut in January at UFC 257, Chandler was booked as the fight directly in front of Conor McGregor in one of the most highly visible spots possible given McGregor’s huge drawing power. The booking was set up to catapult Chandler into the lightweight title picture, and Chandler seized the opportunity with an explosive first-round knockout over a tough opponent in Dan Hooker.
Chandler has more experience in longer fights, which is noteworthy. Oliveira has never fought past three rounds before, either due to booking or quick finishes, while Chandler frequently fought in five-round fights during his reign as the Bellator lightweight champion.
Chandler is the superior wrestler, so he can dictate where this fight takes place. Since Oliveira is so dangerous on the ground, Chandler will likely try to keep this fight standing, where he will hunt a KO/TKO. Chandler has basically said this in his pre-fight interviews, telling MMA Fighting that he is going to apply pressure and knock Oliveira out in the first round. Chandler pressing forward on the feet could make for an exciting matchup stylistically, as Oliveira also pressures forward on the feet because he doesn’t mind being taken down, so we could see a striking clash early in the fight with both fighters pressing forward.
Because it appears that this fight could primarily take place on the feet, taking a look at some KO/TKO prop odds on DraftKings Sportsbook could be fruitful. Something that jumps out in this matchup is that Oliveira stands straight up and comes forward in his striking, which could play right into Chandler’s head-hunting strategy. Chandler has huge power in his hands and Oliveira has been finished with strikes before, so the fit for a Chandler knockout is there. Chandler by KO, TKO or DQ (+210) gives a good payout and is a very realistic outcome.
On the flip side, Chandler has never been submitted before, but we’ve seen him get stopped via strikes multiple times in Bellator, including two years ago by Patrício “Pitbull”, who is a much smaller featherweight. Oliveira has pop in his hands and has showcased this pop recently, finishing two of his last four fights by TKO/KO. Oliveira by KO, TKO or DQ (+450) is higher paying option given Chandler has been susceptible to being stopped by strikes, and Oliveira has the skills to record a stoppage with strikes.
Since I think there’s a good chance both fighters press forward with striking early in the fight, looking at total rounds bets could also be fruitful. Chandler has finished each of his last three fights in the first round and says he is going to hit the gas for a first-round finish, which makes Chandler to win in Round 1 (+400) an option, along with the fight to be finished in under 1.5 rounds (+140).
Picking the fight to be finished inside the distance (-345) is a highly appealing outcome but is extremely expensive. Both of these fighters are finishers who have been finished before. A five-round fight is also helpful for a finish, as it puts 10 more minutes on the clock to allow more time for either fighter to land a fight-changing blow or attack a submission.
Ultimately, I don’t like this matchup for Oliveira stylistically. Chandler is such a good wrestler that he can keep the fight standing and turn this into a striking match, where I think Chandler has the advantage. I also really don’t like how Oliveira stands straight up and walks forward, which could play right into Chandler’s explosive punching.
The Michael Chandler moneyline (+110) casts the widest net and pays out plus money. Chandler to win by finish (+188) and Chandler by KO, TKO or DQ (+210) have better payouts, and if Chandler is going to win, I think it’s most likely going to be by a KO/TKO finish, although his experience in five-round fights also gives him the edge if the fight does end up going into the deeper rounds.
Pick: Michael Chandler by KO/TKO
DraftKings Sportsbook bets to consider
Michael Chandler moneyline (+110)
Chandler to win by finish (+188)
Chandler by KO, TKO or DQ (+210)
Under 1.5 rounds (+140)
Chandler to win in Round 1 (+400)
To go the distance: No (-345)
DraftKings Fantasy MMA
Chandler costs only $7,500 for this week’s DraftKings fantasy MMA tournament, which makes him one of the most affordable plays on the slate. Because I think Chandler is in good position to win, Chandler is a highly appealing play for me at this price. Chandler finished with 107 DKFP in his UFC debut when he knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round, and we could see a similar fantasy score this week with Oliveira ($8,700) pressing forward and Chandler gunning for a KO.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.