UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler has provided his assessment for the upcoming fight between former champion Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.
Having failed to regain his place on the 155-pound throne last October, falling to current titleholder Islam Makhachev via submission at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, Oliveira is set for the chance to immediately rebound back into contention.
On May 6, the #1-ranked “Do Bronx” is slated to meet #4-ranked contender Dariush at UFC 288. The Iranian-born American has surged towards the title picture courtesy of eight consecutive victories, most recently over Mateusz Gamrot.
With Makhachev currently without a challenger for his second title defense, and given the consistent calls for Dariush’s form to be rewarded with a first championship opportunity, the May 6 matchup promises to bring with it incredibly high stakes.
That was recently acknowledged by another lightweight occupying a spot inside the top five.
Michael Chandler predicts “Slugfest” between Charles Oliveira & Beneil Dariush
During a recent interview with BT Sport while in attendance at this past weekend’s UFC 285 pay-per-view, #5-ranked lightweight Michael Chandler gave his take on the crucial upcoming bout in his weight class.
Despite both men’s grappling credentials, the former three-time Bellator champion is expecting Oliveira and Dariush to cancel each other out on the ground, leading to an all-out war on the feet.
If that comes to fruition, he’s backing the Iranian-born 33-year-old to narrowly have his hand raised.
“Man, two guys who are absolute studs. Obviously, Beneil has been on a run here. Charles needs to come back and continue to stake his claim as one of the most dominant lightweights that we’ve seen in the recent history,” Chandler said. “Beneil Dariush (has) always been the guy on the outside of the bubble. Can he break into getting that title shot?
“From an actual prediction, that’s a tough one. Can Charles Oliveira stop the onslaught that is Beneil Dariush? And both guys are very well-versed in grappling and wrestling exchanges. I think it turns into a knockdown, drag-out slugfest,” Chandler continued. “I think Beneil Dariush might actually have the edge in that one, but it’s honestly too close to call. The fans will be the beneficiary of that one.”
With Makhachev set to remain on the sidelines through Ramadan, it stands to reason that the victor of Oliveira and Dariush’s UFC 288 showdown could book a date in the cage with the Dagestani for later in the year.
While that certainly appears to apply to Dariush, Oliveira’s recent defeat to Makhachev raises questions surrounding the likelihood of that rematch. But despite his dominance over the Brazilian last year, Makhachev has appeared open to running it back with “Do Bronx.”
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