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Brazil has produced just one lightweight titleholder in the 27-plus-year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship: Rafael dos Anjos.
Five years after dos Anjos surrendered the title to Eddie Alvarez, Brazilian MMA fans have another chance to see one of their countrymen wearing the championship again. After piecing together an eight-fight winning streak, Charles Oliveira will face former Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight crown in the UFC 262 main event on Saturday in Houston.
Sherdog checked in with six well-known mixed martial artists in Brazil and gathered their thoughts on the title fight:
Patricio Freire: Oliveira is in the best form of his career. In my opinion, he has the best jiu-jitsu in MMA nowadays. I see Chandler having the advantage in a standup fight, as he is more explosive and a harder puncher. Actually, I’ve never seen Chandler get dominated in any position in 10 years, but if there’s someone who can make it happen, it’s Oliveira. However, Chandler is the favorite in my opinion.
Demian Maia: Charles is coming in with an excellent rhythm. What makes him favorite in my opinion is his unpredictable style. Unlike myself, he brings jiu-jitsu with other tools to his game, like excellent muay Thai. After what he did to Tony Ferguson, I truly think that on a good day he can make it difficult for any opponent in the lightweight division.
Vinicio Antony: Chandler did very well in the second division of MMA, but when he faced an opponent at the UFC level, like “Pitbull,” he lost. His fight with Dan Hooker cannot be considered as a comparison. I see that more as a terrible performance from Hooker. I do believe Charles has the tools to win, but he cannot underestimate Chandler’s knockout power or his unbelievable cardio.
Carlos Barreto: Chandler is such a tough and explosive fighter. On the other hand, “Do Bronx” is living in such a great moment. He made Ferguson, one of the best lightweights in UFC history, look like a regular fighter. I will give a 60% advantage to Charles in this one.
Vitor Belfort: Chandler is very explosive and has knockout power. On the other hand, Charles has reach advantage and is as good as he has ever been. That’s a very hard pick. The one who controls the distance and imposes his game plan will leave the Octagon with the lightweight belt.
Rafael dos Anjos: Charles is at a great time in his career. As fighters, we know exactly how important it is to have momentum, and Oliveira is living that right now. On the other hand, Chandler is also really motivated. I don’t see Chandler taking Charles down, and I don’t think Charles will be able to do that, either. I believe this fight will be decided standing up, so anything can happen. I truly believe it’s 50/50.
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