UFC’s new lightweight champion will be crowned on Saturday night, as Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will compete for the currently-vacant belt. Their title fight is set to headline UFC 262, a pay-per-view card that will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates on the event.
Early Prelims (6:30PM EDT / 5:30PM CDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Prelims (8:00PM EDT / 7:00PM CDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 9:00PM CDT) (PPV)
Bout 12: Charles Oliveira (30-8) vs. Michael Chandler (22-5) (Vacant UFC Lightweight Championship)
Oliveira Storms Chandler With Punches To Begin Lightweight Title Reign
Charles Oliveira’s UFC career of over a decade reached a new high on Saturday, as he defeated Michael Chandler to claim the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship.
The stoppage win came in the second round, where Oliveira exploded towards Chandler with punches that scored two knockdowns.
Oliveira opened the second round with a knockdown from a left hook. Chandler returned to his feet, although he had to immediately face the ongoing pressure of strikes that Oliveira put forth. Chandler eventually got clipped by more shots, causing him to drop and making the referee end the bout.
Oliveira’s quick second-round performance came after an opening round that had ups and downs for both fighters.
Chandler opened the first round with hard punches. Oliveira scored a takedown early on, although Chandler looked for a guillotine choke as they hit the ground. Oliveira was able to escape the choke and take the back of Chandler to attempt a rear naked choke.
Chandler eventually exploded out of the position and returned to the feet. Oliviera got hurt in the fourth minute, being dropped by punches. Chandler went back to the ground in full guard following the knockdown, where his momentum slowed for the remainder of the round.
The second round lasted only 19 seconds.
“I told you I was going to knock him out. I came and knocked him out … I’m proving to everybody I’m the lion of lions,” said an ecstatic Oliveira through a translator in his post-fight interview.
Oliveira’s title shot came after putting together an eight-fight win streak from 2018 to 2020. The powerful win streak is part of a long UFC career that includes 28 fights in total.
Chandler, the former Bellator Lightweight Champion, was placed in a title fight position after winning his UFC debut earlier in the year against Dan Hooker. The win came after a long and dominant career in Bellator that dated back to 2010.
“I’m going to get that strap in the next 12 months … We’ll get this one back,” said Chandler, who was respectful but also hopeful following the loss.
The fight for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship was made after former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov vacated his belt and entered retirement in 2020.
Bout 11: Tony Ferguson (25-5) vs. Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) (Lightweight)
Dariush Sweeps Scorecards Against Ferguson, Continues Streak At Lightweight
A smothering performance on the ground earned Beneil Dariush a clean scorecard win over Tony Ferguson (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Dariush had control for a large portion of all three rounds on the ground. Ferguson would threaten Dariush with submissions while on his back, although Dariush was always able to escape them.
Dariush had Ferguson visibly hurt late in the second round due to a heel hook attempt. Ferguson was able to escape the attempt although he was screaming in pain prior to then.
The victory for Dariush added a big name to his long win streak in the lightweight division. His seven-fight win streak also includes four stoppage wins, and a recent victory from February against Diego Ferreira.
The fight gave Ferguson his third consecutive loss. His prior fights were against big names in the division Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliviera.
Bout 10: Matt Schnell (15-5) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (16-3) (Bantamweight)
Bontorin Breaks Losing Streak With Decision Nod Over Schnell
Rogerio Bontorin’s striking earned him a scorecard victory over Matt Schnell on the main card (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Bontorin was leading the slow-paced striking battle through 15 minutes. He had his best moments late, as he charged forward in the third round with a combination of shots. He then scored a takedown which kept Schnell on his back for a few minutes in the round.
Bontorin took the fight on short notice, replacing Alex Perez. Because of this, the contest was moved up from flyweight to bantamweight. He missed weight for the fight, coming in one pound over the bantamweight limit.
The fight on Saturday put Bontorin back in the win column after losing to Ray Borg and Kai Kara-France last year.
Schnell had a close win in his previous appearance, taking a split decision victory over Tyson Nam in January.
Bout 9: Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs. Viviane Araujo (10-2) (Flyweight)
Chookagian Takes Scorecard Win Over Araujo
Katlyn Chookagian kicked off her 2021 with a win, defeating Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27). The fight saw Araujo start strong, with Chookagian taking over as the bout went into deeper waters.
The first round was purely stand-up, where the flyweights connected with a close amount of strikes.
Araujo had a big second round, taking Chookagian to the floor after catching a leg kick. She looked for chokes from full mount,
Chookagian finished the fight strong, upping her output significantly in the final round.
Chookagian had a busy 2020, fighting four times to put together a record of two wins and two losses.
The loss for Araujo snapped a two-fight win streak, which included a victory earlier this year over Roxanne Modafferi.
Bout 8: Shane Burgos (13-2) vs. Edson Barboza (21-9) (Featherweight)
Barboza Continues Featherweight Campaign With Sudden Stoppage of Burgos
A back-and-forth battle on the feet came to an abrupt end in the third round, as Shane Burgos suddenly stumbled backward and collapsed, causing an end to his fight against Edson Barboza.
While the stoppage looked worrying at first, Burgos returned to his feet shortly after and had his wits about him. It was hard to tell what specifically caused him to fall, as his fall came many moments after Barboza had last scored with a strike.
The finish came after a controlling performance from Barboza. He was able to put Burgos in trouble early in the fight, doing significant damage with punches and leg kicks.
Burgos held his own in the battles, possibly snagging the second round on scorecards.
Barboza has now strung together two wins since making the move down to featherweight. His previous fight saw him defeat Makwan Amirkhani via decision.
Burgos was returning after taking a loss to Josh Emmett on scorecards last year.
Bout 7: Jacare Souza (26-9) vs. Andre Muniz (20-4) (Middleweight)
Muniz Defeats Veteran Souza Within A Round Via Armbar
Andre Muniz scored a win over a big name in Jacare Souza to finish the prelims, catching him with an armbar in the first round.
Muniz slipped in the armbar shortly after Souza shook him off his back. He let go after an audible pop came from the hold.
Souza clearly suffered a major injury from the armbar, as his arm was disfigured and caused an audible pop during the fight. While not looking like he was in serious pain after the fight, he was escorted out of the cage before the official decision was read.
Souza has now lost four-in-a-row. His previous fights came against big names like Jan Blachowicz and Jack Hermansson.
He was finished with strikes in his previous appearance by Kevin Holland.
Muniz now has a three-fight win streak in the UFC. He won his previous fight via armbar as well, submitting Bartosz Fabinski in September.
Bout 6: Mike Grundy (12-2) vs. Lando Vannata (11-5-2) (Featherweight)
Vannata Takes Scorecard Win Over Grundy In Featherweight Debut
Lando Vannata’s resistance of takedowns and solid striking did enough to earn him a split decision win over Mike Grundy (29-28 Vannata, 30-27 Grundy & 30-27 Vannata).
Vannata’s ability to keep the fight on the feet and connect with strikes was what earned him rounds on scorecards.
Grundy pursued takedowns frequently, although Vannata did a good job at stuffing the attempts. Vannata had a higher frequency of shots on the feet, also a bigger variety in the strikes, although Grundy was able to connect with strong right hands periodically.
Vannata is now back in the win column after losing to veteran Bobby Green last year.
The fight was Vannata’s official move to featherweight after consistently competing at lightweight.
“This was the easiest weight cut of my UFC career,” said Vannata afterwards, confident in his new weight class.
Grundy had a long win streak broken in his previous appearance, dropping a scorecard fight to Movsar Evloev in July.
Bout 5: Jamie Pickett (11-5) vs. Jordan Wright (11-1) (Middleweight)
Wright Bounces Back From Sole Loss With Hectic Finish
Jordan Wright connected with a flurry of strikes to take Jamie Pickett out of their fight in the first round. Wright did damage to Pickett early, and was able to close out the performance in just over a minute.
Wright’s fast series of strikes started after Picket shot for a takedown, allowing Wright to land elbows from a close distance. Separated on the feet, Wright chased Pickett down with punches and eventually dropped him. The referee finished the bout after Wright landed some punches on the ground.
The victory put Wright back into the win column after taking his first pro loss to Joaquin Buckley last year. The win on Saturday continued Wright’s career-long streak of finishes.
Pickett has yet to win a fight in his two UFC appearances. He entered the promotion late last year, losing to undefeated fighter Tafon Nchukwi.
Bout 4: Andrea Lee (11-5) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (9-2) (Flyweight)
Lee Ends Skid With Triangle Ambar
Andrea Lee earned a much-needed win on the prelims, submitting Antonina Shevchenko late in the second round with an armbar in the triangle position.
The finish from Lee came after a dominant round on her back, landing strikes while holding Shevchenko’s head in a triangle position.
Lee was entering the bout on a three-fight losing streak, having last won in mid-2019. The victory came in front of her home state of Texas.
“My last fight here was a loss, so I’m so happy to step in here and get that W,” said Lee afterward.
Shevchenko entered Saturday’s fight with the momentum of a stoppage win against Ariane Lipski last year.
Bout 3: Gina Mazany (7-4) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (9-3) (Flyweight)
Cachoeira Stops A Tired Mazany In The Second Round
Priscila Cachoeira made a comeback in the second round against Gina Mazany, capitalizing on fatigue and teeing off with strikes to her just moments before the round would have expired.
Cachoeira walked down an incredibly tired Mazany with strikes late in the second round, landing enough to make the referee end the bout.
Mazany had controlled a large portion of the fight with control on the ground before the stoppage. Cachoeira started to control the fight after the referee stood them up from the ground due to inactivity.
Cachoeira is now on a two-fight win streak, a strong rebound after losing three consecutive bouts previously.
Mazany entered the fight following a stoppage win against Rachael Ostovich in November. Her fight on Saturday was only her second time appearing as a flyweight, having previously appeared at bantamweight.
Bout 2: Kevin Aguilar (17-4) vs. Tucker Lutz (11-1) (Featherweight)
Lutz Picks Up Successful UFC Debut Win Over Aguilar
Tucker Lutz had a strong UFC debut win on Saturday, showing a well-rounded skillset against Kevin Aguilar for the decision nod (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).
Lutz’s strong striking and ability to land takedowns in the first two rounds earned him the win.
Aguilar’s best round was the last, where he came into round significantly more aggressive, throwing strikes that got through to Lutz and clearly hurt him at points.
Lutz was given a UFC contract last year after two wins on TV show “Dana White Contender Series.” Prior to then, he was a regional champion in Maryland, USA.
Aguilar had the crowd behind him in the fight, as he was representing the state of Texas. While the crowd disliked that Lutz pulled off the win, they cheered once he gave credit to Aguilar’s toughness.
“Texas, your boy is a monster, man,” said Lutz in his post-fight interview.
Aguilar is now on a four-fight losing streak that includes appearances in 2019 and 2020.
Bout 1: Sean Soriano (14-6) vs. Christos Giagos (18-8) (Lightweight)
Giagos Secures Darce Choke For Win Over Soriano
Christos Giagos used his grappling ability to secure a darce choke that stopped Sean Soriano in the second round. The choke came amid a fast-paced scramble on the ground.
Giagos put in the choke while on his knees, going back to a seated position afterward, where Soriano went unconscious.
Soriano showed sharp striking in the first round, putting together punches that did damage to Giagos. He had clearly looked to take the fight to the ground prior to the finish, scoring two takedowns in the opening frame.
The fight was Soriano’s return to the UFC after a three-fight win streak on the regional scene. His previous appearance in the UFC dated back to 2015. He took the fight on short notice, stepping in for Joel Alvarez.
Giagos is now on a two-fight win streak, including a victory over Carlton Minus last year.