UFC 262 best bets: Go over in Ferguson-Dariush
Saturday's UFC 262 features a vacant lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler.
Oliveira is a slight favorite for his first UFC title fight on theScore Bet - and deservedly so. But Chandler's wrestling defense and knockout power make this a very intriguing matchup, so a wager isn't recommended on either side.
Before the action gets underway at Toyota Center in Houston, here's a look at the two best bets for the pay-per-view card.
Ferguson-Dariush over 2.5 rounds (-185) / Chookagian-Araujo over 2.5 rounds (-475)
$100 parlay to net $86.49
This event has a ton of evenly matched fights - the biggest favorite is -220 - which means we'll probably see a number of decisions. Instead of trying to determine who has the edge in these tight-knit contests, let's take the over 2.5 rounds prop in two clashes: a lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush and a women's flyweight bout between Katlyn Chookagian and Viviane Araujo.
Starting with the highly anticipated co-main event, Ferguson and Dariush have all the right skills and attributes to balance each other out and not get finished.
Dariush has become a proven finisher against lesser competition in recent years, but his stoppage streak ended when he met Diego Ferreira in February. Now, he gets an even bigger step up in competition versus Ferguson.
A finish is least likely if this fight hits the ground. Dariush and Ferguson are both great grapplers, and while it's possible one will be able to control the other on the mat (see Oliveira's win over Ferguson last December), it's unlikely that either fighter would sink in a submission.
The fight gets a little dicier in the striking department, as Ferguson took a lot of damage against Justin Gaethje last year and Dariush hits hard. But it still took Gaethje - who is a better striker than Dariush - almost five rounds to finish Ferguson. And historically, Ferguson has a tremendous chin, so I have to go off what we know. Even if Dariush connects with good shots, it's hard to see him putting "El Cucuy" away.
On the other side, Dariush is tough as nails. The man can take a punch, and he keeps coming. It would be a huge surprise if Ferguson dominated him on the ground en route to a choke, and it would be an even bigger surprise if Ferguson knocked Dariush out. This lightweight tilt is going to be gritty, and it's one that will make it past the 2.5-round mark.
Chookagian-Araujo is bound to go the distance.
Ten of Chookagian's 12 UFC appearances have been decisions. The only two that ended inside the distance were losses to women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and former strawweight champ Jessica Andrade. When Chookagian wins (or fights non-champions, apparently), her bouts always going the full 15 minutes.
Araujo is in a similar boat. Her last four fights in the Octagon went the distance, and only her UFC debut resulted in a stoppage victory.
This is a tough fight to call on paper, which inspires more confidence that Chookagian and Araujo won't go off the script by scoring a rare finish. Expect a close fight that makes it to the scorecards.
Matt Schnell (-165) vs. Rogerio Bontorin
Schnell has the momentum heading into this matchup, and I like him to keep it going against Bontorin.
Schnell was known for his grappling skills early in his UFC career but has sharpened up his stand-up game in recent years, as we saw in his last fight against Tyson Nam in January. The 31-year-old is 5-1 in his past six contests and seems to be really coming into his own as a flyweight contender.
Bontorin, meanwhile, is riding a two-fight skid, which includes a first-round knockout loss to Kai Kara-France in March. Schnell isn't exactly a step down in competition, which is probably what Bontorin needs right now.
Schnell lands an average of 4.20 strikes per minute, while Bontorin averages only 2.19. The output from Schnell will pay dividends should the fight go to the judges.
Regardless of whether the fight takes place on the feet or the mat, expect Schnell to be one step ahead of Bontorin en route to a late stoppage or decision victory.
Here are the full odds from theScore Bet for UFC 262 on May 15:
- Charles Oliveira (-135) vs. Michael Chandler (+105)
- Beneil Dariush (-160) vs. Tony Ferguson (+130)
- Katlyn Chookagian (-140) vs. Viviane Araujo (+110)
- Shane Burgos (-120) vs. Edson Barboza (-110)
- Matt Schnell (-165) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (+135)
- Ronaldo Souza (-120) vs. Andre Muniz (-110)
- Mike Grundy (-125) vs. Lando Vannata (-105)
- Antonina Shevchenko (-130) vs. Andrea Lee (+100)
- Jamie Pickett (-115) vs. Jordan Wright (-115)
Early preliminary card
- Gina Mazany (-210) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+170)
- Tucker Lutz (-135) vs. Kevin Aguilar (+105)
- Christos Giagos (-220) vs. Sean Soriano (+175)