The UFC lightweight division is about to be turned on its head as a new era for the 155-pounders is set to commence. UFC president Dana White finally recognized Khabib Nurmagomedov's intent to retire as champion in October, so now the promotion will crown its new champion on Saturday night when Michael Chandler faces off with Charles Oliveira. While they may not have been the expected top contenders for the title, one of them will walk out of the Toyota Center in Houston as the new face of 155 pounds at UFC 262.
There's plenty of other fights to get excited about on this card. Rising lightweight contender Beneil Dariush is back when he takes on former interim champion and perennial contender Tony Ferguson in the co-main event. Ferguson will enter on the first two-fight losing streak of his career. Plus, action fighters Shane Burgos and Edson Barboza meet in a featured contest at featherweight. And Matt Schnell takes on Rogerio Bontorin in a flyweight bout to open up the PPV festivities.
Even beyond the main event, there's plenty of action for fans to get excited about inside the Toyota Center in Houston. In fact, all five fights on the main card featured betting odds with favorites under -200. And those 10 fighters have produced an astonishing 46 performance bonuses in their UFC careers. Suffice to say, there's serious potential for violence.
We know it's easy to get lost in the minutiae of a big event. So we're here to help give you a concise outlook of what to expect and what to know for every main card fight. Let's take a closer look at what to expect on Saturday.
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Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin, Bantamweight
- Odds: Schnell -160, Bontorin +135 | Last three results: Schnell - W,L,W | Bontorin - L,L,W
- Schnell: Winner of five of his past six fights looking to start a new winning streak
- Bontorin: A grappling-focused fighter with 11 submissions in his 16 career victories
After entering the UFC as part of The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions, Schnell (15-5) lost his first two official UFC bouts by knockout. With his UFC future in question, Schnell pulled off a major turnaround, winning four straight fights. Two fights into his winning streak, Schnell jumped from flyweight to the bantamweight division and pulled off back-to-back triangle choke victories. A knockout loss to Alexandre Pantoja set Schnell back, but he rebounded in his most recent outing, taking a split decision against Tyson Nam. Bontorin (16-3) is coming off consecutive losses after losing only one fight in the first 17 of his career. While he has 11 submission victories in his career, none have come in an official UFC bout, but he did score one of his three career knockouts in the Octagon.
Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza, Featherweight
- Odds: Burgos -130, Barboza +110 | Last three results: Burgos - L,W,W | Barboza - W,L,L
- Burgos: A three-time Fight of the Night winner, looking to rebound from a recent loss
- Barboza: A decade-plus veteran of the UFC with 12 knockouts in 21 victories
Burgos (13-2) had a three-fight winning streak snapped in his most recent outing, a unanimous decision loss to Josh Emmett in a Fight of the Night performance. Burgos' only other career loss also came in a Fight of the Night. He has a balanced finishing game, with five wins by knockout and five by submission. Barboza made his UFC debut in November 2010. The fight with Burgos will be his 25th in the Octagon, though his career has hit a rough stretch in recent years, with the Brazilian going 2-5 since December 2017. In his career, Barboza has wins over notable names including Paul Felder, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Beneil Dariush and Dan Hooker.
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo, Women's flyweight
- Odds: Chookagian -135, Araujo +115 | Last three results: Chookagian - W,L,W | Araujo - W,W,L
- Chookagian: A former title challenger who is looking to fight her way back to another title shot
- Araujo: 3-1 in the UFC since moving to the flyweight division
Chookagian (15-4) has become a fixture in the UFC, beginning in the bantamweight division before moving to flyweight where she has compiled a record of 6-3. In February 2020, Chookagian battled Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight championship, losing by third-round TKO in a one-sided fight. She has gone 2-1 in her three fights since the title loss, including a win over Cynthia Calvillo in her most recent outing. Chookagian is currently the No. 2 ranked flyweight in the UFC's official rankings. Araujo (10-2) has only lost once inside the UFC Octagon, a December 2019 defeat to Jessica Eye. Araujo is now riding a two-fight winning streak, having picked up unanimous decision wins over Montana De La Rosa and Roxanne Modafferi to move up to the No. 7 spot in the official UFC rankings.
Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Ferguson, Lightweight
- Odds: Dariush -165, Ferguson +140 | Last three results: Dariush - W,W,W | Ferguson - L,L,W
- Dariush: Riding a six-fight winning streak, Dariush has emerged as a fringe contender
- Ferguson: A longtime contender on his first ever losing skid
Long a fixture in the lightweight division, Dariush (20-4-1) has recently found the success many predicted for him when his UFC career began in 2014. Dariush has won six straight fights, two by submission, two by knockout and two by decision. Dariush has also collected three Performance of the Night and one Fight of the Night bonuses in his six-fight run. A win over Ferguson would be the biggest victory of his career. Ferguson (25-5) is a former interim lightweight champion who was tied to a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov for years, only to see the fight fall through five times. The fifth cancellation led to Ferguson settling for a fight with Justin Gaethje for the interim title, a fight where Ferguson suffered a TKO loss that snapped a 12-fight winning streak. In his next fight, Ferguson was dominated by Charles Oliveira for the first two-fight losing skid of his career. If Ferguson hopes to get back in the title picture, a win over Dariush is almost a necessity.
Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler, Lightweight championship
- Odds: Oliveira -130, Chandler +110 | Last three results: Oliveira - W,W,W | Chandler - W,W,W
- Oliveira: The UFC's all-time submission leader, riding an eight-fight winning streak
- Chandler: Fighting for a UFC championship in only his second trip to the Octagon
Oliveira (30-8) made his UFC debut in August 2010 and has since set the record for submission victories in the promotion with 14. After runs of mixed success and a stint at featherweight, Oliveira has gone 9-1 since returning to 155-pounds. Unsurprisingly, six of those victories have come via submission with another two coming via knockout. The lone decision win came in his most recent win, a dominant performance against Ferguson that cemented Oliveira as a player in the title scene.
Chandler (22-5) is a former three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion. After winning his final two Bellator fights, Chandler made a long-awaited move to the UFC. Chandler was an underdog against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 in January but scored a first-round knockout and was fast-tracked to a title shot when Dustin Poirier pursued his rivalry with Conor McGregor. Chandler has only won five of his 22 fights by decision and has never been submitted in his professional career.
Who wins Chandler vs. Oliveira? And which underdog is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed UFC 262 picks, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.