Charles Oliveira Rallies to KO Michael Chandler, Claims Vacant Lightweight Title at UFC 262

By Tristen Critchfield May 15, 2021

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After 28 Octagon appearances, Charles Oliveira can finally call himself an Ultimate Fighting Championship title holder.

“Do Bronx” survived some early adversity, then rallied to knock out former Bellator MMA king Michael Chandler 19 seconds into Round 2 of their UFC 262 headlining encounter at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday night. With the win, Oliveira becomes the promotion’s 11th lightweight champion and claims the title vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov earlier this year.

“Michael, you’re a great champion, but today is my day,” a jubilant Oliveira said following his ninth consecutive UFC victory.

It looked as though Oliveira (31-8, 19-8, 1 NC UFC) wouldn’t last long against his heavy-handed foe. Chandler (22-6, 1-1 UFC) landed a solid left early, forcing the Brazilian to shoot for a takedown. Chandler responded with a tight guillotine, but the UFC’s all-time submission leader escaped and then took Chandler’s back. Perhaps just as impressively, the former University of Missouri wrestler was able to explode out of the predicament and then hurt Oliveira in an exchange near the fence when the action returned to the feet. Oliveira was reeling, but he managed to ride out the round as Chandler landed punches and elbows from above.

Oliveira didn’t take long to alter the course of history. A clean left hook sat Chandler down at the outset of Round 2, and the Chute Boxe product pursued his dazed foe along the fence with more heavy punches. Oliveira dropped Chandler with another left hook, then finished off his victory with a few more strikes on the canvas.

“At Chute Box, Macaco Gold Team, we have a saying, 'It can rain stones, but the stones are gonna come back,’” Oliveira said.

Dariush Sends Ferguson to Third Straight Loss

Beneil Dariush may have jettisoned Tony Ferguson from the lightweight division’s upper echelon for good.

The Kings MMA product outgrappled Ferguson for three largely dominant rounds to earn a three-round verdict over the former interim champion in the evening’s 155-pound co-main event. Dariush swept the scorecards by a trio of 30-27 counts for his seventh consecutive victory in UFC competition. Ferguson, who once won 12 straight fights from 2013 to 2019, has been convincingly defeated in three consecutive Octagon appearances.

“That was my 20th fight in the UFC. I’m finally in the conversation,” Dariush said. “I’d like to see myself in a title eliminator.”

Dariush (21-4-1, 15-4-1 UFC) landed takedowns in each round, worked to advance position and stayed busy with ground-and-pound from above. He appeared to be on the verge of a finish when he locked in a heel hook during a scramble in Round 2, a maneuver that left Ferguson grimacing on the canvas. While “El Cucuy” escaped the hold, his left leg appeared compromised from that point on, and Dariush had no issue securing another takedown less than a minute into Round 3 and riding out the victory from top position.

Ferguson did his best to remain active from his back throughout the fight and even briefly secured in a brabo choke in the second frame. However, “The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner was unable to find the proper positioning to truly threaten with the submission.

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Bontorin Upends Schnell on Short Notice

Rogerio Bontorin snapped a two-bout skid with a unanimous decision victory over Matt Schnell at bantamweight. Judges submitted scorecards of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 — all for the Brazilian, who missed weight by one pound and was stepping in as a replacement for Alex Perez on approximately three week’s notice.

Left hooks, straight right hands and powerful low kicks were the foundation of Bontorin’s success through 10 minutes — including one blow that briefly staggered Schnell in the second frame. Bontorin put a final stamp on the victory in Round 3, when he pressured Schnell with power punches against the fence, dislodged his foe’s mouthpiece with a flying knee and then landed a takedown. From there, Bontorin continued to drop ground-and-pound on his mouthguard-less foe.

Though he landed periodic combinations, Schnell (15-6, 5-4 UFC) often appeared hesitant to engage, and that cost him on the scorecards in a matchup of combatants who normally compete at 125 pounds.

Conditioning, Output Carries Chookagian Past Araujo

Katlyn Chookagian continued her climb back toward title contention, taking a unanimous decision triumph over Viviane Araujo in a featured flyweight encounter. Two judges scored the contest 29-28, while a third saw it 30-27 — all in favor of “Blonde Fighter,” who has won three of her last four appearances within the Las Vegas-based promotion.

Conditioning was the difference for Chookagian (16-4, 9-4 UFC), who rallied from some precarious moments in Round 2 to finish the fight with a flourish. After a competitive opening stanza, Araujo caught a Chookagian kick and dumped her to the canvas, where the Brazilian moved to mount and threatened with multiple chokes and attacked with ground-and-pound. Chookagian was able to eventually scramble back to her feet and when she did, Araujo didn’t have much left in the tank.

In the final stanza, Chookagian’s pace and volume controlled the action, as she attacked with straight punches and the occasional kick while a plodding Araujo increasingly came up short on her offerings. Araujo (10-3, 4-2) had a modest two-bout winning streak snapped in defeat.

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Barboza Scores Delayed-Reaction KO Against Burgos

Edson Barboza just kept racking up damage, and eventually, Shane Burgos’ body decided it had endured enough.

The Brazilian veteran cracked his opponent with a right hand in Round 3, and while Burgos initially attempted to shake it off, his body shut down and he staggered back into the fence, bounced off the post and landed on his stomach. Barboza landed two more follow-up blows on his fallen foe before the featherweight bout was waved off 1:16 into the final frame. Burgos has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his pro career.

Barboza (22-9, 16-9 UFC) started quickly, as he chopped at Burgos’ lead leg with kicks and appeared to stun his adversary with a hard right hand. The Team Tiger Schulmann representative upped his output in Round 2, attacking with punching combinations to the head and body and hindering Barboza’s movement with calf kicks. While that effort kept things interesting, Burgos (13-3, 6-3 UFC) could not withstand Barboza’s onslaught in the third frame.

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