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3 fights to look forward to, 2 fights that will likely disappoint at UFC 262

Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, and Jacare Souza will feature at UFC 262.
Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, and Jacare Souza will feature at UFC 262.
ANALYST

UFC 262 is the biggest MMA card of May 2021. The pay-per-view event will feature two key bouts that could determine the future of the UFC's most talent-rich division.

While it lacks the star power major UFC events usually boast, the crowning of a new lightweight champion should be enough to make UFC 262 a memorable show. Despite losing its original co-featured bout between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz, UFC 262 could shape up to be a solid overall card.

But just like in any other event, the chances of UFC 262 delivering barnburners in every single fight are very slim. On that note, let's take a look at three UFC 262 fights to look forward to and two fights that will likely disappoint.


Fight to look forward to at UFC 262: Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza

Ranked 145-pounders Shane Burgos and Edson Barboza will clash in the main card curtain-jerker at UFC 262.

Burgos has been making steady progress in recent years after earning three straight wins against Kurt Holobaugh, Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani. However, Burgos had his three-fight streak snapped when he fell on the wrong side of the decision in a 'Fight of the Night' showdown against Josh Emmett.

Barboza, on the other hand, has dropped three consecutive fights before bouncing back in his last bout against Amirkhani. The Brazilian owns the most UFC finishes by kicks, including his wheel kick KO of Terry Etim at UFC 142.

Both Burgos and Barboza have a track record of putting on thrillers when they step inside the octagon. So pitting the two against each other could make for an enticing main-card opener.


Fight that will likely disappoint at UFC 262: Lando Vannata vs Mike Grundy

Lando Vannata kickstarted his UFC career with a 'Fight of the Night' performance against Tony Ferguson, but he has been plagued by inconsistency since then. Vannata has gone back and forth between wins and losses, including two draws in a span of a year.

At UFC 262, Vannata will drop a division to test the waters at featherweight against England's Mike Grundy.

Grundy, meanwhile, carried an eight-fight winning streak into the octagon and extended that by beating Nad Narimani in his promotional debut. However, Grundy suffered his first defeat in five years when he got outpointed by Movsar Evloev in his last fight.

Vannata's move to 145 pounds may help him avoid the grinds he's grown accustomed to in lightweight. But the additional weight cut could reduce his power. Moreover, dropping a weight class could decrease his stamina as well.

Grundy will likely use his superior wrestling skills to put Vannata on his back for most of the fight. There's a chance this bout may not be competitive at all, and that's why it will likely disappoint.


Fight to look forward to at UFC 262: Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush

Top-10 lightweights Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush will collide in the co-main event of UFC 262. The matchup will be an interesting litmus test for both men and could determine how they move forward in the 155-pound division.

Once considered the biggest threat to former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ferguson has shown worrying signs of decline in his last two fights. 'El Cucuy' was smoked by Justin Gaethje for almost five rounds at UFC 249 before getting dominated by Charles Oliveira at UFC 256.

Dariush, meanwhile, has been quietly ascending the lightweight ranks after stringing together six wins in a row. The Assyrian-American has finished four of his last six fights with two knockouts and two submissions.

A win for Ferguson would bring him back into the mix of top 155-pound contenders. A victory for Dariush, meanwhile, would propel him to the upper echelons of the stacked lightweight division.


Fight that will likely disappoint at UFC 262: Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza vs Andre Muniz

Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza has fallen on hard times of late. The 41-year-old veteran is on a three-fight skid after losing to Jack Hermansson, Jan Blachowicz and Kevin Holland.

There's no shame in losing to two middleweight standouts and a future light heavyweight champion. However, Jacare cannot afford another defeat when he goes face-to-face with Andre Muniz in the preliminary card of UFC 262.

On the flip side, Muniz will come into this fight with momentum, as he's riding a six-fight winning streak, including two victories in the octagon. The 'Contender Series' alum will have a six-inch reach advantage and is also ten years younger than his fellow Brazilian.

Souza vs Muniz looks like a classic UFC matchmaking case of feeding an ageing veteran with name value to an up-and-comer. Considering the same, this bout could out as a one-sided affair in favor of Muniz.


Fight to look forward to at UFC 262: Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler

Houston, Texas, will witness the crowning of a new lightweight king when Charles Oliveira takes on Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 262. This comes after Nurmagomedov retired in March and subsequently relinquished his title.

Oliveira, the owner of most finishes and submission wins in the octagon, will attempt to reach another milestone by capturing UFC gold. 'Do Bronx' is in red-hot form after emerging victorious in his last eight fights, including notable matchups against Ferguson and Kevin Lee.

Chandler, meanwhile, has taken the lightweight division by storm after earning a title shot after just one fight in the UFC. A huge segment of fans and fellow fighters have been questioning the merits of Chandler's title opportunity. But the former Bellator lightweight champion will have the chance to silence his critics by capturing the most prestigious prize in MMA.


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Edited by Bhargav
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