For the first time in over three calendar years, the UFC will crown a new Lightweight Champion this weekend.
Saturday night will see the relative newcomer to the UFC Michael Chandler take on the octagon veteran Charles Oliveira for the vacant strap.
Both men enter this fight on winning streaks and both will look to become the first UFC Lightweight Champion since Khabib Nurmagomedov first captured the title in April of 2018.
Khabib announced his retirement in October of last year, and despite the best persuasions of UFC President Dana White, the Eagle is adamant that he will stay retired.
Because of this, the UFC will be crowning a new Lightweight Champion this weekend at UFC 262.
This will only be Chandler’s second fight in the UFC. After his impressive performance against Dan Hooker at UFC 257, fans knew that Chandler belonged in the spotlight and would be pushed to the top of the Lightweight division. What was a bit surprising was the decision to place Chandler in the fight to crown a new 155-pound champion.
Surely Chandler would have to win at least one more bout before earning a title shot, right?
Well, the UFC ultimately decided that Chandler had proven himself enough both inside and outside the UFC to garner a title shot.
Chandler is a former Bellator Lightweight Champion and enters this fight on a three-fight win streak, all by way of first-round knockout. Chandler’s strategy will certainly keep the fight standing and throw the heavy overhand lefts and rights to damage Oliveira.
Even if Chandler can knock Charles down, he will need to stay patient not to engage him on the ground. Chandler’s best chance at winning will be to keep the fight standing and trade shots in the distance. Both men have incredible cardio, but Chandler will try his best to end it early and preserve his gas tank.
Charles Oliveira enters this fight on an eight-fight winning streak, and what is even more frightening for Michael Chandler is that these wins have come in very diverse ways. Oliveira has won one by decision in that eight-fight winning streak, two by knockout, and five by submission. The submissions will be the key for Oliveira.
If Charles can take the fight to the ground, this will be an extremely tough fight for Chandler. Charles Oliveira has one of the slickest ground games of any fighter in the UFC or Mixed Martial Arts in general.
If Charles can close the distance on the feet and work in the clinch, secure takedowns and keep the fight on the ground to work towards a submission, Brazil may have itself a new UFC Champion.
This interesting mix of styles should result in an incredible main event fight to crown a new UFC Lightweight Champion.
Featured Image: UFC