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Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje fight preview

Ahead of UFC 274, we take a look at the odds, and predictions for the main card

The UFC returns this weekend with a stacked pay-per-view card when UFC 274 goes down Saturday night at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The card features two title fights at the top of the card, as well as 13 other bouts.

Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje

The card will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Charles Oliveira, and former interim champion Justin Gaethje. In many people’s opinion, Gaethje’s style is the kryptonite to the Brazilian’s title reign. Charles Oliveira has been on an impeccable path of resurgence, with a 10 fight winning streak. He also holds the record for the most finishes in the UFC. Gaethje on the other hand is a former folkstyle wrestler, but he predominantly uses his striking to wither opponents.

Oliveira’s path to victory would be to follow a disciplined routine, and wait for his opening and opportunities. The Brazilian does get hit and dropped, and a punch from the human highlight reel would feel like a wrecking ball, enough to put him away. Oliveira needs to have his leg kick checks on point, and has to initiate grappling advances, specially jiu-jitsu scrambles, because that is one area where he has a significant advantage over Gaethje.

As for Gaethje, he has to make this a ‘dog-fight’ and keep Charles on his heel right from the beginning. But in doing so, he also needs to be aware of Do Bronx’s striking, especially his Muay-Thai, because Gathje starts fading when he starts absorbing big shots. He has to ensure that he does not give Charles his back at any cost, because it’s quite literally a ‘Wrap’ then.

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Favorite Underdog
Charles Oliveira | -165 Justin Gaethje | +145

Odds pick: Charles Oliveira at -165 with DraftKings

Alternative pick: Charles Oliveira wins by submission at +135 with FanDuel

Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza

The co-main event will feature a strawweight rematch between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza. The pair first clashed during the Ultimate Fighter Season 20 finale, which was won by Esparza.

Since that fight, Namajunas has turned into a household name, with hip-hop superstars like Lil Wayne expressing her appreciation for her. She has won the strawweight title twice, and defended it last against China’s Zhang Weili. As for Esparaza, she has racked up 5 straight wins en route her rematch against the strawweight champion. She most recently defeated Yan Xiaonan in a dominant performance, finishing the fight in the second round via ground and pound at UFC Fight Night 188. The idea of the rematch was first floated by UFC president Dana White, who confirmed it will be Esparaza who gets the next shot.

Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas
Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas

Rose needs to have her bottom game on point for her fight against Carla. Although she has some slick jiu-jitsu from mount, her game from the bottom is not the best, and Esparza will look forward to exploit that department. Having said that, Rose does have a significant advantage on the feet, and she has some of the most elusive and elite footwork across the roaster. Esparza will have to chew down on her mouth piece, and maybe even eat some shots to make an entry and try taking her down. An early takedown will pay her huge dividends, since memory of the past loss can haunt Rose, if she’s immediately put on her back.

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Rose Namajunas (-195) vs. Carla Esparza (+165)

Odds pick: Rose Namajunas at -195 with DraftKings  

Alternative pick: Rose Namajunas wins by decision at +170 with FanDuel

Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson

An absolute barn burner, and one of the most anticipated fights on the card is definitely Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson. Both fighters come to fight with their hands up and do not take back steps. They both thrive under pressure and in chaos, and in all certainty, this fight comes down to who wants it more. Chandler has to use his grappling because standing toe-to-toe with ‘El Cucuy’ is not a great idea. Tony who has been on a downward spiral, has to reignite the warrior inside him that enthralled fans for a decade, and bring out the ‘El Cucuy’ that fighters once feared.

Moneyline:

  • Tony Ferguson: +315
  • Michael Chandler: -415

Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux

This fight features two legends of the game, who are almost at the end of their career. Fans have called for more matchups like these featuring veterans, who no longer have the spark to compete for the title, but are eager for competition. Both fighters need to have their gas tank under control, although a slight edge goes to Rua for this fight.

Donald Cerrone ve Joe Lauzon

The card also features a fight between two veterans, and absolute legends of the fight game, Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon. While both fighters are evenly contested on paper and on odds, this is one of those fights were the fans win, because both fighters come to throw down, and put on a show.

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Donald Cerrone (-170) vs. Joe Lauzon (+150)

Odds pick: Joe Lauzon at +150 with DraftKings  

Alternative pick: Joe Lauzon wins by TKO at +600 with FanDuel

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