UFC Tips: 3 value bets for UFC 262 in Houston this weekend

Our UFC tipster Simon Head brings you the best bets ahead of UFC 262 on Saturday night into Sunday morning.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The UFC’s latest pay-per-view show is looming on the horizon, with UFC 262 set to take place in front of a packed crowd in Houston, Texas on Saturday night. Ahead of fight night, we take a look at a trio of value selections to add an extra layer of excitement to proceedings.

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Sunday 5.30am: Chandler v Oliveira – Chandler to win via KO/TKO

The main event sees former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler go head to head with in-form finisher Charles Oliveira in a battle for the undisputed lightweight title recently vacated by the great Khabib Nurmagomedov. The retiring Russian is leaving some pretty big shoes to fill, but in former three-time Bellator champion Chandler the UFC may have a dynamic new champion waiting to take up the mantle.

Oliveira has the better form, on paper. He’s riding an eight-fight win streak, including 2020 victories over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. More impressive than his win streak is his finishing rate. Of those eight victories, only one opponent (Ferguson) has managed to last the distance with “Do Bronx,” with the Brazilian notching five submissions and a pair of KO/TKO finishes during his run to Saturday night’s title fight.

But Chandler is a different beast to those who Oliveira has fought in the past. He’s fast, he’s tough, he’s powerful and he has the sort of championship-level experience that should give him the mental edge heading into fight night. Sure, he’s only fought once in the UFC, but that performance, a resounding first-round TKO finish of Kiwi contender Dan Hooker, made everyone sit up and take notice as the UFC casuals discovered what MMA hardcores have known for a long time – Chandler is the real deal at 155 pounds.

Chandler’s wrestling pedigree means he should be able to keep the fight standing, and his power should give him the clear edge in the striking exchanges. Oliveira is the narrow betting favourite, but Chandler offers the better value here as the underdog, and picking Chandler to take the victory inside the distance via KO/TKO finish looks the best bet available.

Sunday 4.30pm: Ferguson v Dariush – Dariush win via submission

Does Tony Ferguson still have it at the top level? That’s really the big question we have to ask ourselves when we look at his co-main event scrap with the dangerous Beneil Dariush this weekend. After a 12-fight win streak that stretched from 2013 to 2020, Ferguson succumbed to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 last May, then was outpointed, and well beaten, by Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 last December.

It meant Ferguson suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his 30-fight career and raised question marks over whether his best performances may be behind him. Ferguson has has time to rest, recuperate and come back better this weekend. But he faces a seriously tough test against Beneil Dariush, who may not be the most fashionable name in the UFC’s lightweight division, but he is certainly one of the most dangerous.

Dariush has quietly gone about his business and put together a six-fight win streak, including two stunning knockouts and a pair of slick submission finishes. He’s heavy-handed and he’s a wizard on the mat. And it’s that last statement that we need to keep uppermost in our minds when they start throwing leather inside the cage on Saturday night.

Both men are happy to stand and trade, and both are comfortable on the mat. But the man with the clear submission edge is Dariush, a three-time no-gi jiu-jitsu world champion. This fight could get bloody, and it may go deep into the fight before we get a decisive result, but if the fight goes to the mat, the 7/1 on a Dariush submission victory is going to look absolutely massive.

Sunday 2am: Chookagian v Araujo – Chookagian to win on points

The main card in Houston also features a pivotal bout for the women’s flyweight division as longtime contender Katlyn Chookagian takes on Brazilian Viviane Araujo. Araujo has been one of the more impressive rising contenders at 125 pounds of late, having picked up notable decision victories over Montana De La Rosa and Roxanne Modafferi.

But Chookagian has been operating at the top of the women’s flyweight rankings for a couple of years now and, while she hasn’t been able to bridge the gap to the title and defeat Valentina Shevchenko for the belt, she has had the measure of most of her fellow contenders.

Backing Chookagian to win in his bout seems like the solid play here, and we can squeeze a little more value out of the pick by taking her to win the fight on the scorecards. She’s only claimed three stoppage wins in 15 career fights, and the last one was way back in 2016, before she joined the UFC. Since then it’s been decisions all the way for “Blonde Fighter,” and the even money on a Chookagian win by points looks like a good value bet here.

UFC 262 Tips

Sunday 5.30am: Chandler v Oliveira – Chandler to win via KO/TKO
Sunday 4.30pm: Ferguson v Dariush – Dariush to win via submission
Sunday 2am: Chookagian v Araujo – Chookagian to win on points

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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