A pair of popular lightweights will look to remain relevant at 155 pounds on Saturday, with Tony Ferguson meeting Michael Chandler at UFC 274. Check out our Chandler-Ferguson picks for this compelling lightweight clash before the weekend’s star-studded event.
The UFC’s lightweight division is a cruel, talent-rich beast, and both Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler will vie to remain in the thick of it at each other’s expense on the main card of Saturday’s UFC 274 event.
Once considered the world’s best lightweight not named Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ferguson now heads to Phoenix on a miserable three-fight slump, one that began with a failed bid to claim a second interim title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.
Chandler has had a rough go of it himself of late, having fallen to both reigning champ Charles Oliveira and Gaethje in back-to-back showings after kicking off his UFC stint with a stoppage of Dan Hooker early last year. With both bruisers now well into their 30s and their division’s top tier loaded with surging talent, Saturday’s tilt will be quite telling of where Chandler and Ferguson truly sit in the lightweight pecking order.
Will the unpredictable Ferguson turn back the clock and snap his skid, or will Chandler find a way to remain in the mix at 155 pounds?
Here are my picks and predictions for Saturday’s pivotal lightweight matchup between Chandler and Ferguson (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, PointsBet; pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Chandler vs. Ferguson Fight Info
Date/Time: Saturday, May 7, 10 p.m. ET (main card)
TV: ESPN+, PPV
Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Chandler vs. Ferguson Odds Analysis
The 12-fight win streak that preceded Ferguson’s current slump means little to oddsmakers ahead of Saturday’s date with Chandler, as Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet have listed the ex-interim champ at +310 and +300, respectively. Chandler, on the other hand, sits at -400 with those very same sportsbooks as of Wednesday evening.
While the lines on a Chandler win aren’t the most compelling, prop bets on the ex-Bellator standout are far more interesting. Indeed, lines on a KO/TKO range from -110 (DraftKings) to +115 (FanDuel), and those expecting Chandler to ride his wrestling to a decision will find a line on points at an intriguing +275 with PointsBet. If you’re hopeful Ferguson can revive his unique brand of violence and snap his skid, Caesars Sportsbook has a KO/TKO upset for “El Cucuy” at a whopping +1200.
Tony Ferguson Betting Profile
There was a time when many of us were convinced only Nurmagomedov could stifle Ferguson’s varied and unpredictable attack, but that’s now far from the case. After snatching necks and slicing many a foe with his patented elbows over his 12-fight win streak, the fan favorite proved all too hittable in his 2020 slugfest with Gaethje. Oliveira and Beneil Dariush have also since handily beaten Ferguson with sound fundamentals and takedowns. At 38 years old, a late-career reinvention is unlikely for the ex-contender, so expect him to replicate the cooky, varied attack that once served him well when he meets Chandler.
Michael Chandler Betting Profile
A three-time Bellator lightweight champion, Chandler announced his arrival to the world’s top promotion with a bang at Hooker’s expense in January 2021. A date with Oliveira for the vacant divisional throne followed, only for Chandler to fall by second-round TKO and subsequently drop a slobberknocker to Gaethje this past November. A dangerous banger with a granite right hand and a classic wrestler’s build, the shorter, stout Chandler will have to work his way past Ferguson’s five-inch edge in reach if he’s to find a home for his mitts or put his D-I wrestling chops to good use.
Chandler vs. Ferguson Picks
- Chandler to win (-380 via DraftKings) ★★★★
- Chandler on points (+275 via PointsBet) ★★★
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Chandler vs. Ferguson Predictions
Chandler to win (-380)
We’ll avoid labeling Ferguson a cautionary tale for the time being, but I doubt he rights the ship this Saturday. Both Oliveira and Dariush wrote the book on how to beat Ferguson with takedowns and top control, and being a former D-I All-American, Chandler may very well replicate the formula once the cage door shuts.
Despite boasting an edge in reach over most of the men he’s faced, Ferguson never learned to make the most of his long limbs, preferring the chaotic barnburners on which he made his bones. All this is to say, Chandler should find at least a few openings to land the right hand and bring the action to the mat if need be to get back in the win column.
Chandler on points (+275)
While Chandler’s right mitt can put most lightweights to sleep, I suspect his two-fight skid and Ferguson’s funky ways will draw a risk-averse showing out of the former world champion. For one thing, there isn’t a sparring partner alive who can mimic Ferguson’s habits in the gym, and the longer the fight stays in space, the more time Ferguson will have to find a home for his patented elbows and unorthodox techniques.
If one of them catches Chandler clean, expect him to rely on his wrestling, blanket Ferguson on the mat, and stifle his funky jiu-jitsu to hand him another lopsided decision loss.
Where to Bet on UFC 274
Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:
Chandler-Ferguson picks made 5/4/2022 at 11:22 p.m. ET.