It’s time for another UFC PPV and this time it’s the vacant Lightweight title on the line in the main event. Here I will try to pick a few winning selections to earn you a bit of pocket money while watching a great night of fights. Unfortunately a few fights have fallen off this card since it was announced, but nonetheless we still have a really good night of fights to get stuck into.
Matt Schnell vs Rogerio Bontorin (bantamweight bout)
The bantamweights are always fun. The 135lbs division should get us off to a fast paced start to the main card. Schnell got a bounce back win by way of split decision last time out after his 4 fight win streak was snapped by Pantoja in 2019. Bontorin, on the other hand fell to his second successive loss at the hands of Kai Kara-France by TKO after a crazy first round that Bontorin was potentially up 10-8 in until that point right before the bell.
I’ll be taking Schnell here just because his wins within the promotion outweigh that of his opponent and there is no shame in losing to Pantoja, who himself is in the title picture in his weight class. Most of Schnell’s wins have come by way of submission but Bontorin holds a black belt in BJJ which should counter that threat. As well as this Bontorin has missed weight, which is always a sign of a really hard cut potentially impacting his gas tank, particularly in the later rounds.
Selection: Matt Schnell via decision
Odds – 7/4
Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza (featherweight bout)
This one screams violence. Both of these guys always leave everything they’ve got in the Octagon. Barboza was a top contender at lightweight for many years and has looked great at featherweight since his decision to cut down. He is huge for this weight and still holds his insane striking range with the ability to throw kicks to anywhere from anywhere. Burgos, on the other hand, will walk him down and never stops coming forward. If there was a betting market for both men to bleed, I would be all over it.
I’m going to go a bit different that usual in this on and side with neither guy. Instead, I’ll take advantage of what I see as a glitch in the market and bet on the fight not to get to the judges scorecards. In terms of an outright winner, this is the true definition of a coin flip, it could go either way. So with that being said, potentially back whoever is the underdog.
Selection: Fight to end in rounds 1-3 (not to go the distance)
Odds – 11/10
Katlyn Chookagian vs Viviane Araujo (women’s flyweight bout)
Here we see two highly ranked flyweights compete in what may eventually turn out to be somewhat of a title eliminator. Chookagian has already had a crack at the belt, but fell short to long term dominant champ Shevchenko. Since then she has managed to pick up 2 decent wins with a loss to Andrade in between. Her opponent, Araujo, also comes into the fight in good form. She stretched her win streak to 2 at the start of the year with a win over the well respected Roxanne Modafferi.
I’m pretty sure this fight will go the distance, with neither fighter showing an ability to finish fights in recent times. I’ll be selecting Chookagian here. I think she’s never going to be good enough to take away the belt from Shevchenko, but she’s a good top contender that will be able to consistently knock off other top contenders.
Selection: Katlyn Chookagian via decision
Odds – 1/1
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush (lightweight bout)
I really don’t need to sit here and tell you about Tony Ferguson’s career so I’ll keep this brief. A true legend of the sport, who at one time put together a 12 fight win streak on the way to capturing the interim title. Unfortunately, we never got that elusive fight with Khabib that was booked so many times. The final nail in the coffin of that fight came by way of Justin Gaethje who became the first person to beat Ferguson since 2012. Subsequently, Tony then fell victim to one half of this cards title fight Charles Oliveira, somehow not tapping out to a deep, deep armbar. Every bit of that toughness will be needed here as he runs into a streaking Beneil Dariush, who has shown his ability to viciously finish his opponents.
I don’t know if this is my head or heart speaking here, but I’m just not ready to admit that Ferguson is done in this division yet. I’m pretty sure this should go the distance with both guy’s toughness and grappling ability matching up well against each other. I’ll give Tony the edge just about due to his career and experience. As a side note, Dariush did also miss weight on his first attempt. I do believe this will factor into the fight, especially if Ferguson is able to dictate that crazy pace he has shown many times before.
Selection: Tony Ferguson via decision
Odds – 7/2
Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler (lightweight title bout)
Main event time. Submission master and UFC record holder, Charles Oliveira, runs into former Bellator world champion and relative UFC newcomer Michael Chandler. For years some have claimed Chandler to be one of the best lightweights in the world despite being outside of the sport’s premiere promotion. He proved this to be true when he scored an impressive knockout over Dan Hooker. It feels like this is a true coming of age fight for 2 guys that have been on a long journey to get to this point.
The bookies have these guys priced up very closely with a very slight edge given to Oliveira, which I agree with. He was so impressive in his win against Ferguson, if he attacks this fight the same then I’m not sure anyone has the ability to stop him doing what he wants. Chandler has fantastic wrestling though and will want to avoid going to the ground on Oliveira’s terms. As well as this, prior to his win streak, Oliveira has gained a reputation as a bit of a quitter in tough long fights. If that is still within him, Chandler will look to take advantage by using his experience in 5 round title fights which his opponent does not have. But if this one does get to the ground, Oliveira may just prove to be too good.
Selection: Charles Oliveira by submission
Odds – 7/4