In the 38 fights that Charles Oliveira has competed in as a professional mixed martial artist, 34 of them have ended under the distance. Oliveira is 30-8 and has 27 finishes to his credit and has been finished seven times.
On Saturday in the main event of UFC 262 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Oliveira will face Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight title. In Chandler’s 27 professional MMA fights, 20 have been finishes.
That means that 83 percent of the time they fight, the fight ends in a finish.
Given how evenly they are matched, it seems simpler to bet that the fight won’t go the distance rather than picking a winner. Oliveira, who is on an eight-fight winning streak, is a -130 favorite at BetMGM, while Chandler is +110.
You could make a strong argument for either fighter, but I have a small lean toward Oliveira given the attractive price and his recent performance.
On the surface, it would seem this is an almost guaranteed won’t go the distance play, given that both men are finishers as well as the fact they tend to be finished at a higher rate than other ranked contenders.
Oliveira has been finished in 18.4 percent of his fights, while Chandler has been finished in 11.1 percent of his.
Oliveira is ranked third at lightweight and Chandler fourth. Chandler’s rate of being finished is comparable to No. 1 Dustin Poirier’s (11.7 percent) and No. 2 Justin Gaethje (12 percent). But Oliveira’s rate of being finished is substantially higher than Gaethje.
That suggests a fight inside the distance. And so does their propensity for their fights ending quickly. Chandler’s last four fights have ended in the first round and 15 of the 27 in his career have ended in the first. A full half of Oliveira’s fights, 19 of 38, have ended in the first.
Both men are different fighters now. Oliveira was a pedestrian 8-8 from Dec. 11, 2010 through a loss to Paul Felder on Dec. 2, 2017. Since then, he’s 8-0 with seven finishes.
Chandler has won his last three and five of his last six.
The significance of this fight won’t be lost on either, and they’ll be aware defensively because of the threat the other poses. As a result, I see the fight going the distance.
BetMGM does not have its prop bets up, but I would look at betting the fight will go the full 25 minutes.
If you have to pick a side, I have a slight lean toward Oliveira at -130. If the line moves in Oliveira’s favor, I like Chandler at anything +130 and above because there is good value there.
Other UFC 262 bets
I will bet the Tony Ferguson-Beneil Dariush fight to not go three full rounds.
I like Edson Barboza at +115 to win over Shane Burgos.
I will lay the -130 and take Antonina Shevchenko over Andrea Lee.
I like Andre Muniz at -110 to defeat Jacare Souza.
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