The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for UFC 262, and most of us are going with Charles Oliveira to beat Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC lightweight title. David Castillo and Zane Simon are backing Chandler to have the rare distinction of being both a Bellator and UFC champion. As for the co-main, most are picking Beneil Dariush over Tony Ferguson, which is a statement I don’t think we would’ve made even two years ago.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler
Mookie Alexander: Chandler has power in both hands and combining that with his speed makes this the near-perfect recipe for Oliveira to get knocked out. There’s even the possibility Oliveira loses the same way he did against Paul Felder and just get bludgeoned after everything from guard didn’t work. And yet… I’m going to pick Oliveira anyway. His offensive wrestling is very underrated and his offensive striking can give Chandler fits, especially in the clinch. He’s developed his game into becoming one of the more versatile fighters on the entire roster, and while there’s the serious chance he gets wrecked early, I believe he’ll be the one to hurt Chandler and take his back. He’ll be the first one to submit Chandler and that’s my bold prediction for this event. Charles Oliveira by submission, round 3.
David Castillo: It only took eleven years for Oliveira to fully develop now that the UFC stopped sending killers to his crib. Honestly, as much as I love the matchup, this reminds me of what happens in Magic: The Gathering when you have two combo decks playing each other. There’s no respect for the gamestate. Nobody’s trying to outplay the other. Interaction is not important. They’re just figuring out how quickly they can assemble their lethal combination of cards to put away the game. That’s this matchup. Oliviera wipes the mat with Chandler if it goes to the ground as quickly as Chandler can crack Charles with a single punch. I gotta err on the side of facepunching. Especially with how straight Oliveira keeps his head up. Michael Chandler by KO, round 1.
Staff picking Oliveira: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Dayne, Connor, Lewis
Staff picking Chandler: David, Zane
Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush
Mookie Alexander: That this is a three-rounder is a huge advantage for Dariush, as I remain wholly unconfident in Beneil in five-rounders. Hell even in this fight he could be ripe for going right into the chaotic world Tony Ferguson thrives in and he’ll end up getting knocked out. There are a lot of ways for Dariush to end up completely exhausted and/or stopped… and yet I can’t help think El Cucuy is in the middle of a sharp decline. It’s less of the Gaethje beating and more of how physically poor he looked against Oliveira. He was so outmuscled and a step slow on the feet all night and I’m wondering if he has reached the point where Dariush is able to get off to a fast start and hold on for dear life in the third to win it late. Beneil Dariush by unanimous decision.
David Castillo: I’m leaning towards Dariush, but I also can’t be confident. I’m of the firm belief that some losses don’t wash. Hey, even Stipe Miocic’s GOAT status couldn’t outrun that loss to Sruve. Likewise, I mean: it was Ramsey Nijem. And it will never not be funny (no disrespect to Nijem, who I always rooted for). Dariush somehow manages to walk a tight rope with a technical game, whereas Ferguson doesn’t even pretend to balance. I appreciate that these are two fighters who enjoy ‘Way of the Samurai’ more than the textbooks of technique they are. Flip a coin. Tony Ferguson by Decision.
Staff picking Ferguson: David, Zane
Staff picking Dariush: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Dayne, Connor, Lewis
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo
Mookie Alexander: This is somewhat of a spite pick because I’m sick of watching the HUT HUT HUT style of unexciting point kickboxing have such alarmingly great success, but also I do feel like Araujo has a path to victory. I’m concerned about her cardio and her height disadvantage but she does have power in her hands and I really think she’d be wise to push for takedowns. Chookagian’s takedown defense is not particularly impressive and Araujo often will take the fight to the ground where she can maintain top control for a decent period of time. Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision.
David Castillo: Araujo has some powerful striking chops for the division. Stiff jab, and a mean overhand right. I just wouldn’t describe it as enough. She can bounce around well, but as ineffective, broadly speaking, as I think Chookagian’s attack is, it’s the kind of activity and forward movement I suspect will give Araujo fits. Katlyn Chookagian by Decision.
Staff picking Chookagian: Phil, David, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor, Lewis
Staff picking Araujo: Mookie
Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos
Mookie Alexander: There’s every bit the chance Burgos just hits Barboza hard and that’s it. He can pressure and Barboza when pressured is a completely different and uncomfortable fighter. Burgos has a clear advantage on the ground but not only is Barboza’s takedown defense usually difficult for anyone who isn’t an A+ wrestler, Burgos rarely looks to initiate wrestling and grappling. Burgos wants to scrap and that might be both a big path to success and his eventual downfall. His chin is amazing but his defense is anything but, and if Barboza can make him think twice about his stand-and-trade approach with kicks aplenty then I believe he’ll pull this off. Edson Barboza by unanimous decision.
David Castillo: It was nice of Barboza to take time away from filming whatever that milquetoast MMA film is starring one of the dudes from the horrible Boondock Saints movies. Barboza is still one of my favorites, but he’s also highly flawed. Barboza is one of those fighters who could have benefited from fighting away from his strengths since his strengths are so one-note. Burgos is kind of similar in some ways, but I think the variety of his strikes will carry him through in a close one here. Shane Burgos by Decision.
Staff picking Barboza: Mookie, Stephie, Dayne, Lewis
Staff picking Burgos: Phil, David, Zane, Connor
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Matt Schnell
Mookie Alexander: Rogerio, my man, reassess things if you can’t make the bantamweight limit when you’re a career flyweight. Matt Schnell by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Bontorin:
Staff picking Schnell: Phil, Mookie, David, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Jacare Souza vs. Andre Muniz
Mookie Alexander: It’s been a hell of a time trying to discern which fighters are so washed that they’re losing to substantially lesser opposition and which fighters are washed enough that they stop beating top competition. Jacare might be so done that he’ll start losing to guys like Andre Muniz but Muniz isn’t the sort of major threat who historically gives Jacare problems. One more submission win, please! Jacare Souza by submission, round 1.
Staff picking Jacare: Phil, Mookie, David, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Muniz:
Rest of the card
Lando Vannata vs. Mike Grundy
Staff picking Vannata: Phil, Mookie, David, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Grundy: Stephie
Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Staff picking Lee: Phil, Mookie, David, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Shevchenko:
Jordan Wright vs. Jamie Pickett
Staff picking Wright: Mookie, Stephie, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Pickett: Dayne
Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira
Staff picking Mazany: Phil, Mookie, David, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Cachoeira: Stephie
Kevin Aguilar vs. Tucker Lutz
Staff picking Aguilar: Zane, Connor
Staff picking Lutz: Phil, David, Stephie, Dayne, Mookie
Christos Giagos vs. Sean Soriano
Staff picking Giagos: Phil, Mookie, David, Stephie, Dayne, Zane, Connor
Staff picking Soriano:
This poll is closed