UFC 262 DraftKings Picks
Brazil’s Charles Oliveira faces American Michael Chandler in the octagon this Saturday to fight for the vacant UFC Lightweight Title previously held by UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. A clash of styles, this matchup features the most accomplished submission artist in UFC history in Oliveira against Chandler, one of the top wrestlers in the sport. Both fighters utilize their respective skillsets to optimize striking success, and it will be interesting when the fight goes to the ground if Chandler can effectively control top position without getting caught by a submission attack.
In the co-main event, Tony Ferguson makes his first appearance since December of 2020 against Assyrian Beneil Dariush. Both fighters are moving in completely opposite directions momentum-wise, with Dariush on an impressive six-fight win streak while Ferguson dropped his last two. Although Dariush has taken care of recent opponents, Ferguson is arguably the toughest matchup he will have faced so far in his career. Unfortunately, the scheduled bout between Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan was moved to next weekend’s card on May 22nd.
UFC 262 DraftKings Picks:
Katlyn Chookagian – $8,800
The “Blonde Fighter” returned to the win column last November with a dominating performance against formidable flyweight Cynthia Calvillo. A win this weekend against Brazilian Viviane Araujo could put her in the position to rematch Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title. She possesses a balanced arsenal with strong wrestling ability she applies to open up striking opportunities. In past fights, we have seen Chookagian struggle against the top strikers in the division. That should not be an issue with Araujo, who relies heavily on her wrestling skills to dominate and control fights. I predict Chookagian will utilize takedown defense to successfully keep this fight standing and pick apart Araujo in the striking realm.
Beneil Dariush – $8,600
As mentioned in the introduction, Dariush is on a strong fight win-streak with plenty of momentum heading into the biggest fight of his career. I initially struggled with this pick because I am a big fan of Tony Ferguson and am not in the camp that believes he is digressing in form. Stylistically, however, this matchup could not be worse for El Cucuy. Ferguson prefers to keep the fight on the feet, and I believe Dariush will shoot for takedowns seconds after the first round begins. Dariush is one of the most well-balanced fighters in the UFC, with tremendous striking and terrific wrestling. He should be able to rack up plenty of control time to keep Ferguson uncomfortable on the ground for the majority of the fight.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza – $8,500
DraftKings pricing and Vegas betting lines tend to heavily incorporate recency bias when predicting a fighter’s next result. We saw this last weekend, as Neil Magny entered his fight against Geoff Neal as a much bigger underdog than I expected after being outclassed by Michael Chiesa. Jacare Souza is as tough of a wrestler as they come in the division. Despite 24 professional fights, this will only be Andre Muniz’s third appearance in the UFC. I expect Souza’s experience to lead him to a bounce-back victory. Confidently take Jacare at a more than fair price to potentially get a finish against Muniz.
Shane Burgos – $8,400
Edson Barboza seems rejuvenated in his new weight class at featherweight, with a recent victory over Makwan Amirkhani, his first since December 2018. Meanwhile, Burgos arguably faced the hardest-hitting striker in the division against Josh Emmett in his most recent loss. Despite all of that, I love this spot for Burgos to showcase why he is still one of the top featherweights in the UFC. Take the “Hurricane” with confidence to get a knockout victory against Barboza.
Mike Grundy – $8,200
Lando “Groovy” Vannata has much more UFC experience under his belt entering this fight against England’s Mike Grundy. However, looking at fight styles, this one heavily favors Grundy in my opinion. We saw Vannata struggle to defend wrestling attacks against Bobby Green in his last fight. I believe this fight will be no different, as Grundy is a fantastic wrestler with tremendous abilities to compound wrestling success into submissions. I predict Grundy is able to control the fight from start to finish utilizing his wrestling strength to notch his second victory in the UFC.
Michael Chandler – $7,500
Some DraftKings experts will recommend avoiding fights against top talents such as Oliveira. However, this price incorporates too much weight on Chandler’s lack of UFC experience and Oliveira’s recent success. Additionally, we did not even get to see Chandler apply his greatest fighting strength of wrestling against Dan Hooker. I expect the American’s wrestling to play a huge factor in this fight. Especially at such a low price, this pick is a no-brainer in my book. Although he may not get a finish, I predict a calculated performance from Chandler to beat Oliveira and capture the elusive lightweight title that Nurmagomedov held for multiple years.