Vacant UFC Lightweight Championship: Charles Oliveira (30-8) vs. Michael Chandler (22-5)
Luke Irwin: Oh, my. These two bring it every single fight. Styles make fights, and these two are different fighters, but they can have an entertaining scrap with anybody. Chandler’s pressure may come back to bite him against such an adept submission artist. It’s true that Chandler has never been subbed as a pro, but he’s also never faced a submission fighter like Do Bronx, who can slap one on wherever. Combined with his super-improved striking game to keep Chandler honest, I think over twenty-five minutes, Oliveira is going to find an opening or catch Chandler with a counter, and that’ll be all she wrote. Oliveira via R5 Submission.
Lightweight Bout: Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) vs. Tony Ferguson (25-5)
Luke: Whatever fire Ferguson caught looks to be extinguished. He was stopped by Justin Gaethje and looked utterly listless against Oliveira. Dariush via UD.
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs. Viviane Araújo (10-2)
Luke: In Chookagian, you have an enormous fighter who is absolutely horrendous at using her length to keep fighters outside. I don’t see any way that she’s going to be able to keep Araujo from getting to her and racking up points. Araujo via UD.
Featherweight Bout: Edson Barboza (21-9) vs. Shane Burgos (13-2)
Luke: Don’t let Barboza’s recent record cloud your judgement. He’s coming off of two split-decision losses to Paul Felder and Dan Ige respectively, and the vast majority of journalists thought Barboza won both. He may not be the killer striker that can shot off your lights or liver in a flash anymore, but he’s got plenty of go left in the tank. In Burgos, the Tiger Schulmann product, you get a very, very well-rounded and solid fighter who won’t wade into too much trouble, so we’re probably headed for the judges, and for some reason, judges don’t seem to see Barboza’s effectiveness. Burgos via SD.
137lb Catchweight Bout: Matt Schnell (15-5) vs. Rogério Bontorin (16-3)
Luke: Bontorin couldn’t make weight moving a class up? Well, as is usually the case with two submission-based fighters who almost never get submitted themselves, it’s going to come down to whose striking is better, and while neither are brilliant technically, Schnell’s chin can be touched and it isn’t granite. If Bontorin can find an opening and land a good one, Schnell will go down. But can he land one? Ehhh… Bontorin via UD.
2021 Picks Record: 62-34 (64.6%)