UFC 262 Recap: Oliveira stuns Chandler to claim vacant lightweight title

Charles Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 262 to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title.

By Stone Lexington

Updated: May 16, 2021 • 1:20 AM ET

charles oliveira.jpg

Charles Oliveira - Wikimedia Commons

When previous UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement following a dominant win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, serious questions arose about the future of the division. Those questions may have been answered at UFC 262 on Saturday night, as Charles Oliveira claimed the vacant lightweight title with a TKO win over Michael Chandler at the Toyota Center in Houston.

The fight seemed to be going Chandler’s way early. He caught Oliveira in a tight guillotine choke roughly a minute into the first round, but Oliveira immediately slipped his head out and gained control on the ground. However, Chandler managed to escape a body lock and began landing heavy punches once both men reached their feet, eventually dropping Oliveira to the canvas. Chandler even dominated the rest of the round until the horn sounded. The fight, though, didn’t last much longer.

Less than a mixture into the second round, Oliveira caught Chandler with a short left hook that dropped the American to the mat. He followed up on that knockdown with several more punches to Chandler’s head that forced the referee to stop the fight. The Brazilian hopped over the cage to celebrate, and a new lightweight champion was crowned.

What was interesting about Saturday night’s main event was that the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked lightweights weren’t involved in the bout. No. 1 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier is scheduled to face Conor McGregor on July 10 in a trilogy bout, as both fighters have a victory over the other. It’s understandable that Poirier might favor a third fight with McGregor, as he could be in line for a larger payday against the Irish superstar than a title bout against Oliveira or Chandler, especially with fans back in arenas.

Meanwhile, the No. 2 ranked Gaethje hasn’t fought since the loss to Nurmagomedov, and who his next opponent will be remains unclear. There’s no shame in losing to Nurmagomedov, who is the greatest lightweight in UFC history, and we may never see another fighter in the division that comes close to his level of dominance (29-0 record). However, a new era has begun in the UFC’s lightweight division, the age of Oliveira.

Oliveira (31-8 if wins) entered the bout as the No. 3 ranked lightweight in the world on an eight-fight winning streak with a notable win over Tony Ferguson, who lost his third straight fight in Saturday’s co-main event. Chandler entered the bout ranked No. 4 in the lightweight division, despite having only one fight under his belt in the UFC. While Chandler impressed with a first-round knockout of Dan Hooker in his UFC debut in January, being granted a title shot in only his second fight in the UFC surely ruffled some feathers with his detractors. Those detractors, however, may have felt a bit of satisfaction with Saturday night’s result.

With several contenders lurking in the lightweight division, it remains to be seen how long Oliveira can stay at the top. But with his superb skills on the ground and improved striking, he’ll be a tough man to defeat.

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Other results from UFC 262

Lightweight bout: No. 9 Beneil Dariush def. No. 5 Tony Ferguson by unanimous decision

Bantamweight bout: Rogerio Bontorin def. Matt Schnell by unanimous decision

Women’s flyweight bout: No. 2 Katlyn Chookagian def. No. 7 Viviane Araujo

Featherweight bout: No. 13 Edson Barboza def. No. 9 Shane Burgos by third-round KO/TKO

Middleweight bout: Andre Muniz def. Ronaldo Souza by first-round submission

Featherweight bout: Lando Vannata def. Mike Grundy by split-decision

Middleweight bout: Jordan Wright def. Jamie Pickett by KO/TKO

Women’s flyweight bout: Andrea Lee def. Antonina Shevchenko by second-round submission

Women’s flyweight bout: Priscila Cachoeira def. Gina Mazany by second-round KO/TKO

Featherweight bout: Tucker Lutz def. Kevin Aguilar by unanimous decision

Lightweight bout: Christos Giagos def. Sean Soriano by second-round submission