UFC 262 Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler Odds, Pick, Preview: Betting Preview for Lightweight Title Fight (May 15)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Charles Oliveira (left) and Michael Chandler.
- Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will square off on Saturday in Houston at UFC 262 for the lightweight championship.
- Chandler delivered a sensational performance in his UFC debut, while Oliveira enters the night favored on an eight-fight winning streak.
- Sean Zerillo delivers his analysis and best bet below for who will leave Houston with UFC gold around his waist.
Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler Odds
Now that Khabib Numragomedov (29-0) has officially retired and relinquished control of the lightweight division, two top contenders at 155 have a chance to capture UFC gold.
Though many fans would argue that No. 1 contender Dustin Poirier is the unofficial champion, he's going to pursue a trilogy fight (for the money) against Conor McGregor instead, leaving No. 3 contender Charles Oliveira and No. 4 contender Michael Chandler to battle for the vacant lightweight belt.
Olveira is a 27-fight UFC veteran who has finished 27 of his 30 career wins (19 submissions) and enters with an eight-fight winning streak. Chandler is an underground king, having won his UFC debut in January in electric fashion after spending more than 10 years under the Bellator banner.
It's an intriguing stylistic matchup between a powerful wrestler and a skilled submission artist. Will "Iron" Mike Chandler win a belt in just his second UFC fight, or will "Do Bronx" extend his impressive winning streak and finally silence all of his doubters?
Below, I preview the matchup and odds for Saturday's main event.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||30-8 (1 NC)||22-5|
|Avg. Fight Time||6:57||6:38|
|Weight (pounds)||155 lbs.||155 lbs.|
|Date of birth||10/17/1989||4/24/1986|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.22||4.29|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.94||3.76|
|Take Down Avg||2.64||2.37|
It isn't easy to put too much into any of Chandler's above metrics. He accumulated those stats over a 12-year span and in just more than 10 minutes of cage time between Strikeforce and the UFC.
Detractors love to point to Chandler's level of competition in Bellator, but Oliveira's winning streak doesn't necessarily blow me away either. Outside of Tony Ferguson, who is competing in the co-main event, Oliveira has mostly defeated unranked lightweights on his current run.
He was losing early minutes to Kevin Lee before Lee faded, and Ferguson might be completely washed at this point of his career. We'll find out when he fights Beneil Dariush, but if Ferguson gets worked over again, I will take some credit away from Oliveira's dominant performance.
Oliveira is typically a slow starter, and he'll look to use his length (two inches taller, three-inch reach advantage) to feel out his range.
However, Chandler holds both the power and speed advantages and will look to pressure and close distance early. I doubt that he decides to wrestle offensively and suspect that he'll look to counter-wrestle to keep this fight standing. He should win the early minutes.
Oliveira has made incredible improvements to both his boxing and Muay Thai to become a complete mixed martial artist. His calf kicks can also give opponents trouble and can help to slow their forward pressure. But "Do Bronx" remains most dangerous on the mat, and I'm not sure that he can take Chandler down (44% takedown accuracy). However, Oliveira might be willing to accept a takedown or bottom position to start throwing up submissions.
In addition to advantages in both power and speed, Chandler should have the cardio edge, too. The former Division-I wrestler has gone a full 25 minutes in MMA on four occasions; meanwhile, Oliveira has never been past the third round.
Furthermore, the Toyota Center crowd could play a factor. Oliveira's two best performances, which came against Lee and Ferguson, were behind closed doors with no fans in attendance. He has wilted under pressure in the past, and questions remain regarding his durability in an all-out war.
The crowd seemed to play a factor in the Rose Namajunas-Weili Zhang fight at UFC 261, and I think Oliveira, despite his extensive experience, is more likely than Chandler to fade under the bright lights on Saturday night.
Oliveira vs. Chandler Pick
Chandler opened as a +146 (implied 40.6%) underdog for Saturday and has moved to +110 (implied 47.6%) as of writing. He seems to have the right skillset to neutralize Oliveira's style and has the advantages in power, speed, and cardio. Furthermore, Chandler is a much better wrestler and will likely determine where the fight takes place too.
I projected Chandler as a 55% favorite in this fight, and I would bet his moneyline down to -110 (implied 52.4%) at more than a 2.5% edge. Furthermore, I projected Chandler's knockout prop at +149 and his inside the distance prop at +127, and I like those bets down to +169 and +144, respectively.
This fight likely ends inside of the distance – I have either fighter finishing at an 80% clip (implied -400), but there isn't enough value relative to listed odds (-375), and I wouldn't play the Under 2.5 (-200), though I would definitely lean that direction.
While Chandler has never been submitted previously, Oliveira is one of the world's trickiest and most creative jiu-jitsu players. However, he likely only gets those opportunities if Chandler takes the fight to the ground.
Oliveira could win with volume on the feet, but I would expect him to fade in the championship rounds, and Chandler will land the more damaging shots for however long the fight lasts.
The Pick: Michael Chandler (+110, 0.75 units) | Chandler wins Inside the Distance (+165, 0.25u)