UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2022

UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

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    On paper, it doesn't get much better than the UFC 274 headliner between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. 

    The fact that Do Bronx missed weight and was stripped of his title doesn't make the matchup any less intriguing. The belt will still be on the line for Gaethje, but Oliveira will vacate the belt regardless of the result. 

    Oliveira is the reigning lightweight champion. The Brazilian is on the best streak of his career after years of being a middling contender. He has established himself as the top 155er with a 10-fight win streak that includes victories over Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. 

    In the other corner is a man who is violence personified in Gaethje. The former World Series of Fighting champion once held UFC interim gold but has yet to hold the real thing. 

    It's as fun a matchup as they come, and it isn't the only reason to tune in to the card. In the co-main event, we get a rematch between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza more than seven years in the making for the strawweight championship. 

    It's a card packed full of fun fights with high stakes. Here's a look at the whole card along with all the info you need to catch the action. 

UFC 274 Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—May 7

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    Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

    • Charles Oliveira -180 (bet $180 to win $100) vs. Justin Gaethje +155 (bet $100 to win $155)—lightweight championship (Oliveira was forced to vacate his belt and can not win the championship)
    • Rose Namajunas (c) -210 vs. Carla Esparza +175—women's strawweight championship
    • Michael Chandler -365 vs. Tony Ferguson +280
    • Ovince Saint Preux -240 vs. Mauricio Rua +195
    • Donald Cerrone -190 vs. Joe Lauzon +160

    Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)

    • Khaos Williams -115 vs. Randy Brown -105
    • Norma Dumont -235 vs. Macy Chiasson +190
    • Brandon Royval -240 vs. Matt Schnell +195
    • Francisco Trinaldo -115 vs. Danny Roberts -105

    Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 5:30 p.m. ET)

    • Tracy Cortez -145 vs. Melissa Gatto +125
    • Kleydson Rodrigues -350 vs. CJ Vergara +270
    • Loopy Godinez -180 vs. Ariane Carnelossi +155
    • Journey Newson +125 vs. Fernie Garcia -145
    • Andre Fialho -410 vs. Cameron VanCamp +310
    • Blagoy Ivanov -150 vs. Marcos Rogerio De Lima +130

Gaethje's Pressure Upsets Oliveira

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    Charles Oliveira comes into the main event as the favorite. The distinction is earned. After all, he's the one on the win streak, and he's recently taken down some of the biggest names in the division. 

    However, Justin Gathje brings unique challenges to the table. 

    Fellow fighter Joe Lauzon described Gaethje as someone who "would light himself on fire just to try and burn the other person a little bit" at a UFC 274 press conference. 

    That's a perfect description of Gathje's ultra-aggressive style. While Oliveira has held his own with some good strikers like Dustin Poirier, dealing with Gaethje's high-volume striking is a different beast. 

    Oliveira has had durability issues in the past. He has been knocked out or submitted seven times in his career. The fact that he was unable to make weight only adds to the concern he could have durability issues return. 

    We haven't seen him get finished since Paul Felder scored a second-round TKO against him in December 2017. However, old faults can crop up even after a long absence. If Gaethje can draw Oliveira into a war, it's a fight he can win. 

    Prediction: Gaethje via fourth-round TKO

Namajunas Shows Transformation Against Esparza

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    When Rose Namajunas fought Carla Esparza for the title in The Ultimate Fighter 20 finale, she was a 22-year-old with a strong submission game and loads of potential. 

    She was exposed that night as an incomplete fighter. 

    Esparza utilized her wrestling and took her down five times to Namajunas' one with just over five minutes of control time, per UFC Stats. It was a true come-down-to-earth moment for a fighter who had won all three TUF fights by submission en route to the title fight finale. 

    This isn't 2014 anymore, though. Namajunas has blossomed into the fighter she always had the potential to be. With the title around her waist, she's navigated some of the toughest competition in the division. 

    Her fight against Zhang Weili is a great example. Weili took her down five times, but it only resulted in 3:37 of control time, while Namajunas claimed seven minutes. She was able to control the fight and had answers when she was taken down. 

    If that trend continues, she's going to be able to handle Esparza relatively easily. 

    Prediction: Namajunas via third-round TKO

Michael Chandler Gets Momentum Back Against Ferguson

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    Michael Chandler's UFC run got off to a hot start but has quickly fizzled. The former Bellator champion knocked out Dan Hooker in just half a round before getting a UFC title shot. 

    Then Charles Oliveira became champion with a second-round TKO, and Chandler went on to lose another battle to Justin Gaethje. 

    So while Chandler will have a loss against whoever leaves UFC 274 as the lightweight champion, it's hard to figure out where he stands in the lightweight hierarchy. This fight should resolve that for both fighters. 

    Tony Ferguson has fallen on even harder times. El Cucuy once had the best win streak in the division but has now dropped three straight. 

    On paper, it's a fun matchup. Chandler is a classic power wrestler with knockout power, while Ferguson is one of the most unorthodox movers in the sport with grappling chops of his own. 

    Expect this one to take place all over the cage. But choosing between the two, Chandler has put in the better performances of late.

    Prediction: Chandler via decision


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