UFC 262: Gambler's Guide to Chandler-Oliveira and More
What: UFC 262
Where: Houston, Texas
When: May 15
How to Watch: ESPN+
What's at Stake: Call it a steppingstone to bigger things.
Oh, sure, the winner of Saturday night's main event between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira will leave the Octagon with a shiny gold belt that signifies he is the UFC's lightweight champion.
But just as important will be the options a victory opens for the new king of the 155-pounders.
It's a weight class stocked with some of the promotion's biggest names, not to mention its most celebrated recent retiree, which means either Chandler or Oliveira will have zero problem filling the dance card beyond Saturday's event. The title hopefuls arrive to Houston ranked third and fourth in the division, and they are surrounded by pairs at 1-2 and 5-6 who would make for awfully lucrative pay-per-view possibilities.
Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier are ex-interim champs in the first and second slots, while No. 5 is held down by yet another former interim claimant in Tony Ferguson, who will compete in Saturday's co-main event.
And No. 6, well, let's just say Conor McGregor would bring global swag to a world title defense.
Oliveira is a slight favorite to get first crack at that roster of potential foes according to the folks at DraftKings, who list him as a -134 proposition (bet $134 to win $100) to capture the vacant belt. Chandler, meanwhile, would return $110 for a $100 investment should he spring the (slight) upset.
A look up and down the 12-bout card prompted us to assess where the smartest money ought to be spent and the spots where prudent speculation could yield high-end accumulation. Click through to get a look at our thoughts, and feel free to let us know if the cash is flowing in the B/R Betting community section.
Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira
Lay the Juice: Oliveira/Moneyline (-134)
It's a far cry from UFC 261, where Kamaru Usman was such a heavy favorite over Jorge Masvidal that making a straight moneyline bet in his direction required far too heavy an investment for far too little a payoff.
Thanks to the perceived closeness of this Saturday's main event in Houston, though, it will require significantly less risk to reap the same reward. Thus, Charles Oliveira is a worthwhile -134 bet if your goal is buying an extra round or two on fight night rather than financing a Lamborghini.
Sprinkles: Chandler—Round 1/Winning Round Prop (+400); Fight to End in the First 60 Seconds/Round Betting Prop (+1000)
Styles make fights. Oliveira has more submission wins than anyone in UFC history, but if one comes against an opponent of Chandler's quality, the odds are that it won't come quick. So that leaves the sprinkling to Chandler, who's won 10 fights by knockout and eight of those in the opening round.
One available prop would generate a $400 profit if the fourth-ranked contender is able to get things over with inside of five minutes, while another prop yields an even $1,000 if either man is gone in 60 seconds. Chandler's done it four times in his career, and even Oliveira's done it once. Why not take a chance?
Squad Ride Pick: Oliveira—Rounds 3-4/Winning Group of Rounds Prop (+550)
It's a full-on betting commandment. Or at least it ought to be.
"Somewhere near the junction of safety and lunacy lies profit."
So while it's slightly less safe than a straight Oliveira moneyline bet and slightly more so than banking your mortgage on the chance Chandler erases him in less than a minute, we will go with stylistic chalk. The Brazilian has generated four of his aforementioned tapouts in Round 3 alone, so including that middle session and its successor in a two-round play with a chance at raking in $550 is the ride we'll take.
Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush
Hammer Lock: Dariush/Moneyline (-165)
It doesn't seem all that long ago that Tony Ferguson was the most legitimate threat to Khabib Nurmagomedov's pristine record. And when that fight was called off for a fifth time last spring, most figured he would beat up a tough but limited Justin Gaethje to add even more fuel to the fire of his eventual head-to-head with the champ.
He didn't. Instead, Gaethje beat him to a pulp for nearly five rounds, and Oliveira dominated the leftover scraps for 15 minutes a few months later to earn his spot in this show's aforementioned main event.
That leaves Ferguson in a co-main with a streaking wannabe who's favored to make it three in a row and leave the veteran answering questions about how long he will continue. So as counterintuitive as it sounds, the "I bet the favorite" play to make here on Dariush's moneyline number.
Here are the facts, folks.
Ferguson is a jiu-jitsu ace. Dariush is a jiu-jitsu ace. They have combined for 16 of 45 career wins by submission.
So while you can argue that neither has gotten a tap from a foe as imposing as the one they are matched with Saturday, it's difficult to pass up a chance at a four-figure payout in either direction.
Squad Ride Pick: Ferguson by Decision/Winning Round Prop (+375)
Funny thing about betting lines. When Ferguson was the favorite against Gaethje and Oliveira, the inclination was to find ways that the opponent winning would yield good money.
Now the shoe's on the other foot. And it seems so unusual to see him with plus signs next to his name, almost like an unfair advantage. But we'll take it.
Call it an indictment of Dariush or a lingering confidence in the older man, but Ferguson's not quite ready for the scrap heap. So the idea of him winning isn't a reach. Nor is the prospect of pocketing an easy $375 if the younger man manages to hear the final horn.
Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos
Dart Throw: Fight to End in First 60 Seconds/Round Betting (+1400)
There's a title fight later on the show. There's a fight involving a former interim champ later on the show. But look around at what folks are saying about UFC 262, and you will see this one is being talked about. Lots.
And not because it's likely to be a sublime matchup of stylists.
Instead, you have a dynamic striker against an aggressive striker who have combined for 23 finishes in 34 career victories. And no fewer than 13 of those have come in the first round, which means taking a flier on the idea that so much smoke will create a fire is worth a possible $1,400 windfall.
Squad Ride Pick: Barboza by KO, TKO, or DQ/Winning Method (+350)
Shane Burgos is the favorite here, but it's not by such a margin that a straight bet on Edson Barboza as the underdog is worth the effort.
Instead, if you are liking the older man as much as we are, it's time to get creative.
Though there are plenty of times when fights branded in advance as surefire rumbles wind up being stinkers, that's not likely the case here. We think it will be violent and exciting. And it will end with a highlight-type finish.
We say Barboza gets it and pays off the faith at better than 3-1.
Worth a Shot!
There's not a lot of meat on the upset bone when it comes to UFC 262 undercard moneylines, with none of the underdogs carrying anything better than a +176 opportunity.
But we will muddle through and find some worthwhile cash plays nevertheless.
Hey, it's what we do!
Andre Muniz by Decision (+250)
The clock is ticking—loudly—on Jacare Souza.
The 41-year-old was good enough to get an eight-fight UFC deal in 2017, but he's lost five of the first seven heading into the prelim feature with 31-year-old prospect Andre Muniz.
Muniz has lost one of 14 fights since 2016 and has far more tread left on the tires.
Antonina Shevchenko by KO, TKO or DQ (+800)
"My sister can beat up your sister."
Antonina Shevchenko, more than most in the world, can confidently say that.
But it won't be Valentina in the cage Saturday. It will be Antonina. Still, the belted sister will be offering counsel from the outside, and given that opponent Andrea Lee has lost three straight fights, we think Team Shevchenko will have enough going for them to finish things before 15 minutes are up.
Sean Soriano by KO, TKO or DQ (+600)
There's something about desperation.
Sean Soriano was in the UFC as a 24-year-old, but a combination of bad luck and iffy performances rendered him winless in three fights and led to his release from the promotion in 2015.
He's won six of nine on the smaller circuits since and arrives to this one on short notice after Christos Giagos lost his original opponent because of travel issues. It's about time for Soriano, who has 11 finishes in 14 career wins, to find himself on the fortunate side. And he will take us with him.
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