May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021

UFC 262 preview: Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler

Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler betting preview and odds

Oliveira and Chandler stats

Oliveira vs. Chandler predictions: Where is the value?

Oliveira and Chandler's fighting styles analysed

UFC 262 preview: Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler

UFC will be crowning a new champion when Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler face off for the vacant Lightweight title on May 15. Will Oliveira mark a ninth successive win by taking the belt, or can Chandler become champion in only his second ever UFC bout? Read on to inform your Oliveira vs. Chandler predictions.

Event: UFC 262

Date: May 15, 2021

Venue: Toyota Center (Texas, US)

Oliveira vs. Chandler: Tale of the tape

Charles 'Do Bronx' Oliveira

Fighter

Michael 'Iron' Chandler

31

Age

35

178 cm

Height

173 cm

70 kg

Weight

70 kg

190 cm

Reach

180 cm

18-8-1

UFC record

1-0-0

30-8-1

Overall MMA record

22-5-0

52%

Striking accuracy

49%

#3

UFC ranking

#4

The UFC Lightweight Championship has been vacant since Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement immediately after his victory against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last October. Following months of speculation that Khabib would reverse his decision, UFC President Dana White only officially declared the title vacant on March 19, when he publicly conceded that Khabib would never fight again.

Michael Chandler has publicly suggested that he thinks the fight will last the distance.

Charles Oliveira has earned his championship shot after eight successive wins, which have impressively collected six Performance of the Night awards. During this run, he also broke Demian Maia’s UFC record for the most submission victories, which now stands at 14. In his last bout, he enjoyed a decision victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 and also recently earned a third degree on his jiu-jitsu black belt.

Conversely, Michael Chandler only made his UFC debut in January, with a first-round TKO win against Dan Hooker at UFC 257. Despite his UFC inexperience, his MMA record is nonetheless revered and he has held the Bellator Lightweight World Championship title on two separate occasions. Chandler enters this bout following 10 wins in his last dozen MMA fights, of which six were secured in the opening round.

Ahead of the fight, Oliveira has downplayed Chandler’s ability, stating “All he has is a heavy hand, a heavy punch. I’m complete on the feet and complete on the ground. I’m not afraid of getting hit, hit me. If he takes me down, I’ll be doing what I love the most, which is jiu-jitsu.”

Meanwhile, Chandler has offered a degree of insight into his strategy and suggested that he thinks the fight will last the distance, declaring: “I can keep a good pace for 25 minutes, and that’s the plan - hope for him to break, hope for him to tuck his tail between his legs, and hope for him to give up. He needs to be prepared for the toughest 25 minutes he’ll ever face.”

Analysing the Oliveira vs. Chandler odds

Oliveira is the narrow favourite at 1.740*, which translates to just over a 55% probability of victory. Meanwhile, Chandler is priced at 2.170*, equating to an approximate 45% chance.

Oliveira has been priced slightly shorter than the average closing odds for his last five bouts of 1.846. Of these, he was the favourite for three and underdog for two, emerging victorious on every occasion. His odds tend to shorten by a very small margin when he is the favourite, suggesting that those confident he will win on the night may access minutely better value by placing their bets sooner rather than later.

Chandler’s odds of 2.170 imply that he possesses an average likelihood of victory in comparison to Oliveira’s recent opponents, with his odds longer than Ferguson (1.57), Kevin Lee (1.68), and David Teymur (1.99), but shorter than both Jared Gordon (3.90) and Nik Lentz (4.11).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are also noticeably longer than his rolling five-bout closing odds of 1.556. Chandler was the underdog ahead of his victory against Hooker but favourite for each of his four bouts that preceded it, with his sole defeat during this run coming at the hands of Patricio Freire at Bellator 221.

His odds tend to shorten by similarly small margins more often than they lengthen, although he closed at the same price at which he opened (2.40) when he was unfavoured against Hooker. Simply due to the fact that Oliveira is arguably the more established name, Chandler’s odds could be inclined to lengthen on this occasion and you thus may benefit from timing any bets on him to win until nearer fight night.

Oliveira vs. Chandler: Fighting styles analysed

Oliveira is a self-declared jiu-jitsu expert and his stats appear to support the label. His aforementioned UFC record-breaking exploits aside, just over half (19) of his 30 MMA victories to date were achieved via submission, and he beats Chandler for both takedowns (2.64 to 2.37) and submissions (2.80 to 1.42) per 15 minutes.

The 31-year-old’s preference is to wrestle his combatant to the floor as early as possible, as evidenced by the fact that just two of his last 10 wins progressed beyond the second round. He launches 44% of his attacks at his opponents’ body and legs, often in a direct attempt to throw them off balance or weaken their ability to defend takedowns.

Chandler's 80% takedown defence rate may thwart Oliveira's usual strategy.

Despite this, he can also rely on a powerful punching ability if required and has racked up nine knockout wins in his career, including two in his last four fights. Oliveira lands just 3.22 significant strikes per minute to Chandler’s 4.29 while edging his opponent for striking accuracy (52% to 49%), indicating that he favours a quality over quantity approach on this front.

Oliveira’s current winning streak curtailed a more inconsistent stretch of form during which he endured four defeats in six bouts. Of these, two were by submission and the other pair were TKOs, indicating that using Oliveira’s tactics against him (whether by beating him in taking the fight to the ground or outpunching him) can produce a promising route to victory.

While just five of Chandler’s 22 MMA victories have come via decision, his confidence that this bout will run the full duration may be motivated by the fact that he has proved himself as a proficient all-rounder. He has recorded a similar number of wins involving knockouts (10) and submissions (seven) and was firmly regarded as one of Bellator’s most adaptable fighters.

Irrespective of his approach, his general strategy is aggressive – he targets 79% of his attacks at his opponents’ head and his knockdown ratio is almost exactly three times higher than Oliveira’s (0.95 to 0.32). As mentioned, Chandler attempts to complete proceedings quickly if granted the opportunity, although he did win five of his seven MMA fights to date that have lasted the distance.

On this occasion, perhaps the most notable stat that Chandler can boast is his takedown defence rate of 80%. This naturally implies that Oliveira will encounter difficulty in deploying his preferred tactics, and Chandler could be permitted an opening to take control of the fight if his opponent is forced to switch approach. Even more ominously, Chandler has never suffered a submission defeat in his MMA career.

However, Chandler’s primary weakness is that he is occasionally guilty of slow starts, and his last two defeats were both opening round TKO losses. Amidst Oliveira’s propensity for taking down his opponents as quickly as possible, this could easily prove a dangerous trait on the night.

Oliveira vs. Chandler: Where is the value?

Considering the versatile repertoire of strategies that both fighters have exhibited they can rely upon, this bout is genuinely difficult to call. How the fight plays out may largely depend on the extent to which Oliveira is wary of Chandler’s intimidating capability to defend takedowns, and whether he opts for a more punch-led approach in response.

It would therefore be unsurprising if the opening rounds witnessed both fighters generally attempting to strike each other in a bid to assess the situation and decide upon a more structured strategy. Given Chandler’s more broadly aggressive tendencies, this could potentially leave him well-placed to try and carve out a victory over the distance.

However, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that any moment in which Oliveira wrestles Chandler to the floor could all but guarantee him victory. He is the UFC record holder on this front for a reason, and Oliveira may feel that sticking to his strengths is the simplest method for overcoming Chandler’s unpredictability.

Looking forward to UFC 262? Get the latest UFC odds for every bout with Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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