UFC 262, even having lost two major fights, is still an outstanding event with plenty of important contender fights, high-profile contender matches and a title bout sitting at the top of it all. Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard certainly earned their paychecks when they put this card together.
Bouts of particular interest are Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin—a fight that pits a really good ground guy with a touchy chin against a very good striker with ground game that doesn’t hold up to his opponent’s own. It is a sneaky good contest flying well below the radar. Also of interest is the featherweight pairing of Edson Barboza and Shane Burgos. That is another brilliant bit of matchmaking in that Barboza has the more well-rounded, technical striking—not to mention the power edge—and Burgos has the pressure style to put his foe on his back foot, a place that has historically given Edson issues.
The co-main event is certified fresh and features a lightweight clash between Tony Ferguson and the always-dangerous Beneil Dariush, who has quietly racked up six-straight wins. And the crown jewel of the event, a lightweight title bout for the vacant belt between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler. It’s hard to imagine that this card won’t deliver a metric ton of action and entertainment.
We’ve selected four fighters from the event that will illustrate why they are worthy of their lofty or budget-conscious price tags in an effort to help you select your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups. Let’s get started.
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Charles Oliveira, $8,700
Charles Oliveira is a submission specialist with a pretty well-rounded skillset in general and a few hidden and/or budding talents that have been showing themselves more and more. We’ll start with the obvious advantage, height and reach, of which “Do Bronx” has a considerable edge. His long, lanky body is perfect for potshotting at range, whether it be with stinging punches or powerful kicks. Charles has also begun exhibiting knockout power, with Nik Lentz and Jared Gordon tasting that power most recently. Oliveira also has very underrated wrestling, both offensively and defensively, a useful option against Michael Chandler, who happens to have excellent wrestling, as well. Chandler is also very dangerous because of his speed and power. He’s a crafty striker with a penchant for feints. This is a pick ‘em fight, but I believe Chuckie Olives has the perfect foil to Chandler’s power.
Pricing: Should be closer
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Matt Schnell, $8,900
Matt Schnell and Rogerio Bontorin are my early pick for fight of the night. These two dynamos of the flyweight division are both exciting, well-rounded athletes who don’t know how to have a boring moment. Schnell is the superior wrestler/grappler but has a suspect chin. Bontorin has the better standup and flashes of power, but the weaker grappling game. Schnell has more upside because he’s dangerous from both top and bottom position and always finds a way to take the fight where he wants it. He’ll need to be especially cautious of Bontorin’s power, but I think he’s got more than enough tricks in his bag of magic to get the job done. This is a well-matched contest and could go either way, but I believe “Danger” to be the more potent of the two.
Pricing: Should be closer
Tony Ferguson, $7,600
I know Tony Ferguson has aged seemingly overnight, but I think there’s still something left in the tank. In the past, Tony has been one of the most durable fighters on the roster, able to take a heaping of punishment, then recover and go on to win the fight, most times by finish. While still durable, he’s not showing that come from behind magic he once did, at least at the highest level. Beneil Dariush is positively lethal on the ground and has legitimate knockout power that many are sleeping on. That said, he still has issues with his stamina and while his striking can be potent, it is still raw and unpolished, punctuated by wild exchanges that have seen him throw caution to the wind. I believe Dariush is an incredibly dangerous opponent, but I think Tony is still incredibly dangerous, too. Perhaps more so than Dariush, because there is a lot on the line Saturday night for “El Cucuy.” A third-straight loss could signal that Ferguson’s decline is further along than anyone realized, but I’m counting on him to use that kind of pressure as a motivator to score a sensational victory.
Edson Barboza, $7,800
Edson Barboza is not the sum of his record, especially since there are a couple decisions that shouldn’t have gone against him (I’m looking at you especially, Dan Ige!). Barboza’s kick-heavy style has seen him to quite a few victories, and that aggressive style has also seen him in loads of trouble, too. His opponent, Shane Burgos, is a volume machine, with an output rate that makes the Energizer Bunny take pause. Both men are defensively irresponsible, but for Burgos, that crack in his armor is quite pronounced because Edson is the better technical striker and he possesses real knockout power. Sure, Burgos has the kind of pressuring style that has historically given Barboza fits, especially in the clinch against the cage, but he’s also susceptible to the kind of offense Edson brings to the table. This is another bit of platinum matchmaking, pairing these styles together to bring fans what will probably end up being a fantastic striking bonanza. Burgos is the kind of upstart that Edson once feasted on in the days of yore. Hopefully he still has a voracious appetite.
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