The world’s biggest MMA promotion returns to pay-per-view this weekend with a genuinely huge show in the form of UFC 274: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje.
Not only does UFC 274 feature a pair of title bouts, but it also pits two of the world’s most exciting lightweights against one another, while the undercard also has a number of excellent-sounding fights.
Overall, this event looks like it has the potential to be one of 2022’s most memorable overall, and if everything goes to plan, it could be a classic.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC 274: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje.
UFC lightweight title: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje
The UFC lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje could easily be billed as a classic meeting of a grappler and a striker, but the truth is that it’s far more than that. If both men deliver the goods, we could be in for a fight that might define 2022.
It’s probably fair to suggest that Oliveira should come in as the favorite. ‘Do Bronx’ has transformed himself over the past couple of years from an action fighter who’d lose as many fights as he would win into the most feared 155lber on the planet, capable of defeating anyone with both strikes and submissions.
Sure, his grappling is still his bread and butter – he’s capable of slapping a submission on from seemingly any area, and if he takes an opponent’s back, they’re usually getting choked out. However, he’s also developed knockout power and surprising levels of durability, as Michael Chandler found out in their title bout last year.
Does Oliveira have any real weaknesses at this point? Arguably not. We haven’t really seen him against a top-level wrestler, but then his submission skills could provide him with a trump card in that kind of fight. Besides, Gaethje isn’t likely to wrestle him here.
However, it’s probably fair to argue that given that he’s been knocked out on four occasions in the past by opponents like Paul Felder and Cub Swanson, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the right shot could turn the lights out on the Brazilian.
Can Gaethje land that shot? It’s definitely possible. Nobody in the lightweight division hits as hard as ‘The Highlight’, who has dispatched the likes of Edson Barboza and Tony Ferguson over his tenure with the UFC.
Gaethje is also a master of pressure-striking, forcing an opponent back with his savage leg kicks and forcing them to make mistakes, opening them up for his bigger, fight-ending shots. It’ll be this gameplan he’ll hope to unleash to beat Oliveira this weekend.
More to the point, Oliveira’s last fight came against the division’s other great pressure-striker in Dustin Poirier. ‘The Diamond’ wasn’t able to make it work at all before ‘Do Bronx’ took his back and choked him out in the third round. In fact, Oliveira absorbed his punches with relative ease.
With that considered, the pick has to be Oliveira via submission, with the outside chance of Gaethje landing the right shot to take him out being a slight possibility too.
The Pick: Oliveira via second round submission