UFC 262 goes down this Saturday in Houston, Texas as Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler lock horns for the vacant lightweight title, while in the co-main event, Tony Ferguson looks to return to winning ways against Beneil Dariush.
The lightweight title was previously held by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement from the sport after successfully defending his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. He vacated his title this February, after Dana White officially acknowledged his retirement, however.
The main and co-main events at UFC 262 are very important matchups for the division, particularly when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor are set to battle in a rubber match at UFC 264 on July 10th. The winner of the trilogy fight will probably be the next to fight for the title.
UFC 262 is a highly-anticipated card, with lots of exciting fights on offer. But before the athletes compete on Saturday, here’s a look at their keys to victory on the night.
Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler
Charles Oliveira’s title shot has taken a long time coming, but it has come at the right time for him, as he’s at his absolute best. The fight also couldn’t have come at a better time for Chandler, who wants to prove that he’s the best in the world. At UFC 262 however, only one of them will come out victorious.
Charles Oliveira’s Keys To Victory
Attack The Legs: Michael Chandler is probably the hardest-hitting lightweight in the world, who has the most lethal overhand right in the division. He’s also lightning-fast and is constantly moving forward. To avoid a boxing contest with him would be in the best interest of Oliveira. The Brazilian does have a great kicking game, which coupled with his high pressure, would be key on the night. It would limit Chandler’s movement and explosiveness.
Use His Length: Chandler loves pressuring his opponents, especially early on. Oliveira loves that too, but if he decides to play the same game as Chandler, one of them is eventually going to run into a knockout blow, and Chandler has a major power advantage. The wise thing for Oliveira to do is to use his reach and height advantage to hit his opponent from distance and fight longer. The longer the fight goes, the better the Brazilian’s chances of landing a submission or knockout.
Grapple: Chandler is an NCAA Division 1 All-American, but Oliveira has 19 submission wins to his name. ‘Do Bronx’ is arguably the best submission grappler in the UFC, and should he take the fight to the ground, he will have a great chance of catching Chandler. He might find it hard to land takedowns against Chandler, so he should try trips and ankle picks to force the fight to the ground and catch his opponent off guard.
Don't sleep on his striking⚡️
— UFC (@ufc) May 10, 2021
Michael Chandler’s Keys To Victory
Push The Pace: Michael Chandler is an excellent stand-up fighter who loves to push the pace and chase his opponents. Because he’s not a very tall guy, he presses forward to close the distance and land those big shots. He does a great job of mixing it up well on the feet too, with body and head strikes, keeping his opponent guessing. If he does that, he will connect sooner or later. And if Oliveira decides to fight fire with fire, the Brazilian will be doing Chandler a huge favor.
Defensive Grappling: Chandler has a great takedown defense. He won’t get taken down easily, but even if he finds himself on the mat, he should use his pressure and aggression to cut down any space that’s available to Oliveira. He should use his wrestling skills as a means to defend the takedowns, avoid scares on the mat and keep the fight standing. However, if he gets an opening on the mat at UFC 262, he shouldn’t hesitate and go for the kill.
Out-Pace Oliveira: Interestingly, Oliveira has never gone past the third round in his 39 professional MMA fights, which gives Chandler the edge as far as championship fighting experience is concerned. Oliveira might have a great gas tank, but there’s no evidence to prove that he can go all five rounds. Chandler should fight at a high pace and look to wear his opponent out, which will make him easier to put away.
Lived up to the hype 🙌
🇺🇸 Will @MikeChandlerMMA's 2nd appearance be just as memorable?
— UFC (@ufc) May 13, 2021
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush
It’s a big fight for both Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush, and both have their reasons to come out on top at UFC 262.
Tony Ferguson’s Keys To Victory
Overwhelm Dariush: Tony Ferguson is known for causing chaos inside the Octagon and that’s exactly what he needs to do against Dariush. Ferguson has cardio for days and should use it to walk Dariush down, and use his wide array of attacks to keep his opponent guessing. Although ‘El Cucuy’ has looked slower and sloppier in his past two fights, he still has a lot to offer.
Be Aggressive Off His Back: There’s a high chance that Beneil Dariush will look to grapple against Ferguson, especially after seeing him get controlled by Charles Oliveira at UFC 256. Unless Dariush completely neutralizes Ferguson’s threat on the mat, the Mexican-American has a chance of hurting, and possibly busting up, Dariush with his elbows. He should also try to be active on the mat and look to scramble for better positions.
— UFC (@ufc) May 14, 2021
Beneil Dariush’s Keys To Victory
Counterpunch: Beneil Dariush is a fine striker and he’s looking better every time he enters the Octagon. Given that Ferguson gets hurt in almost all of his fights, Dariush has a great chance of stopping him if he adopts a counterattacking approach. The key for him would be to stay calm during the exchanges and not let Ferguson overwhelm him.
Grapple: The more obvious path to victory for Dariush would be to grapple. That’s where his strength lies and that’s where we have seen Tony Ferguson struggle in his last fight, and against Kevin Lee before he won via submission. Dariush controls his opponents very well and should use his top control and pressure to control Tony on the mat.
Put him out! 😴
Will @BeneilDariush notch his 7️⃣th-straight victory this Saturday?
— UFC (@ufc) May 11, 2021
What are your predictions for the UFC 262 main event featuring Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler and the co-main event featuring Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush?