One of the more interesting UFC PPV events of the year is upon us. UFC 262 is ready to kick off from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Saturday night with a vacant lightweight title fight in the main event. Former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler will challenge Charles Oliveira for the vacant strap atop a five-fight main card expected to be action packed. Just how good is it? No favorite on the entire card is higher than -210.
Chandler, a three-time champion in Bellator MMA where he's spent the majority of his career, is finally getting the chance on the biggest stage in UFC. He enters this title bout 10-2 since 2015 and after making a thunderous debut in January when he stopped Dan Hooker in the first round. He gets a tough opponent in Oliveira, though, as the Brazilian is among the best submission specialists in the sport. Oliveira recently broke the record for most submissions in UFC history as he enters on an eight-fight win streak.
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 to open up the PPV.
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With so much happening on Saturday night, let's take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.
UFC 262 fight card, odds
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
- Charles Oliveira -135 vs. Michael Chandler +115, lightweight championship
- Beneil Dariush -160 vs. Tony Ferguson +135, lightweight
- Matt Schnell -165 vs. Rogerio Bontorin +140, flyweight
- Katlyn Chookagian -135 vs. Viviane Araujo +115, women's flyweight
- Shane Burgos -150 vs. Edson Barboza +125, featherweight
- Ronaldo Souza -125 vs. Andre Muniz +105, middleweight
- Antonina Shevchenko -120 vs. Andrea Lee +100, women's flyweight
- Mike Grundy -120 vs. Lando Vannata +100, lightweight
- Jordan Wright -110 vs. Jamie Pickett -110, middleweight
- Gina Mazany -210 vs. Priscila Cachoeira +175, women's flyweight
- Tucker Lutz -120 vs. Kevin Aguilar +100, featherweight
- Christos Giagos -220 vs. Sean Soriano +180, lightweight
With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer, co-host of "Morning Kombat"), Matthew Coca (producer), Jack Crosby (editor), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (senior editor).
UFC 262 picks, predictions
|Chandler vs. Oliveira||Chandler||Chandler||Oliveira||Chandler||Oliveira||Oliveira|
|Dariush vs. Ferguson||Dariush||Ferguson||Dariush||Ferguson||Dariush||Dariush|
|Chookagian vs. Araujo||Chookagian||Chookagian||Chookagian||Chookagian||Chookagian||Araujo|
|Burgos vs. Barboza||Barboza||Burgos||Barboza||Barboza||Barboza||Barboza|
|Schnell vs. Bontorin||Bontorin||Schnell||Schnell||Schnell||Bontorin||Schnell|
|Records to date (2021)||16-8||16-8||16-8||17-7||13-11||10-14|
Campbell on why Chandler will win: Oliveira has rebuilt himself into a force of nature during an impressive eight-fight win streak in the sport's deepest division. His ability to finish fights in dramatic ways, particularly on the ground, makes him a small yet very understandable betting favorite. But did I mention the house money that Chandler appears to be playing with after blasting Dan Hooker with one punch in his UFC debut before skipping the line toward a title shot? Chandler is operating at a supreme level of confidence and has the necessary advantage in power punching to lure Oliveira into a firefight and actually finish it.
Brookhouse on why Chandler will win: Chandler's wrestling feels like it could be the deciding factor in this fight. Oliveira isn't likely to be able to outwrestle Chandler like he did Ferguson. And why would Chandler look to put the fight on the floor? That means this is a stand-up fight and that's where Chandler should be able to draw Oliveira into some high-risk exchanges where he has the power to finish the fight. Of course, Chandler isn't impervious to being stopped and Oliveira has the skills to score the finish, but the more that Chandler can force the action, the more likely it is he walks out with the championship.
Wise on why Oliveira will win: This feels like a true pick'em fight. Chandler has been on the biggest stages before after holding the Bellator MMA title three times and fighting in front of massive crowds. Oliveira may be more susceptible to big-fight jitters since he has not fought for a promotional title since his career debut in 2008. However, if there's one thing we've learned from UFC, it's that there's levels to this game. While Chandler's first-round knockout of Dan Hooker was fantastic, the issues Hooker was facing coming in cannot be overstated. What also can't be overstated is Chandler's chin issues when it comes to these big moments. Look no further than getting stopped quickly by Patricio Pitbull to end his final run with the Bellator lightweight title. Expect Chandler to make a mistake and for Oliveira to capitalize on it and lay claim to the title.
Campbell on why Dariush will win: Have the wars and injuries caught up with Ferguson at age 37? Dariush is the perfect opponent to find out just that, which makes this a great piece of matchmaking. Ferguson has lost two straight in particularly one-sided fights. The aggressive Dariush, meanwhile, has won six in a row and wants to finally be considered among the lightweight elite. While Dariush isn't a technical dynamo, he's aggressive and hits hard, which could be enough to send Ferguson completely into the twilight of his career.
Brookhouse on why Ferguson will win: Dariush is a talented fighter who is a fixture on the second tier of the lightweight division because of his aggression and having just enough technique to thrive against everyone but the guys at the top. Unless Ferguson is completely shot, he's a step above the guys Dariush excels against. Likewise, Dariush is a step below guys operating at the elite level like Oliveira and Justin Gaethje -- and exactly the kind of guy Ferguson has always handled well. While time is catching up with Ferguson, it feels like too much is being read into his having simply come up against two guys fully clicking in career-best performances. If Ferguson still has gas in the tank, this is the kind of fight he wins.
Wise on why Araujo will win: This is an important fight in the flyweight division given the lack of contenders for champion Valentina Shevchenko. Chookagian has served as a somewhat gatekeeper since losing her own opportunity against Shevchenko and gets a tough test in Araujo. This is a pretty simple one for me. All six of Chookagian's wins since returning to 125 pounds have come by decision. Araujo is 4-1 in UFC with just one stoppage among them. There's a reason that the Fight to go the distance prop is -350 for yes. Araujo has shown good durability in her last two fights that I think will translate here.
Campbell on why Barboza will win: Burgos has been off for nearly a full year following a heartbreaking loss to Josh Emmett in which he fought courageously yet came up just short while taking on a large amount of damage in their fight-of-the-year contender. Can he summon the same level of resolve against an even more dangerous striker in Barboza? There's at least enough reason to question it, with Barboza being the wrong kind of opponent to be anything less than your best while facing. Barboza proved in his last two fights that the move down to 145 pounds suits him well at 35. A win here could make him a darkhorse in the title picture.
Wise on why Barboza will win: This has all the potential for fireworks. Both guys love to get in fire fights and both possess finishing power. The problem is both have insane chins -- and especially Barboza since dropping down to 145 pounds. Burgos has a lot to prove in coming back from a difficult loss to Josh Emmett last summer. Barboza finally returned to the win column following a three-fight skid and losses in five of his last six. Barboza's veteran savvy gets the nod for me over the unanswered questions of returning from such a brutal beating for Burgos in what should be a real fun 15 minutes.
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.