Adam Martin’s GPP Plays and Cash Game advice for UFC 262
The world’s leading MMA promotion returns this weekend with another stacked pay-per-view at UFC 262. The card takes place at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with a full arena of fans and it should be a lot of fun to watch. Of course, we are here to discuss the card from a DFS perspective. With 12 fights on the slate, let’s get into the matchups and break them all down.
UFC 262 Card
Charles Oliveira ($8700) vs. Michael Chandler ($7500)
The main event of UFC 262 is a five-round vacant UFC lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler. With former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring and vacating his title, the winner of this bout will be crowned the new king of the lightweight division.
Starting with Oliveira, he has been in the UFC since 2010 and has bounced between featherweight and lightweight during the 11 years he’s been fighting in the Octagon. But since making the permanent move up to 155lbs four years ago, he has looked much better and he has won his last eight fights in a row.
The owner of the most submission wins in UFC history, Oliveira is a ground ace and one of the most dangerous finishers we have ever seen in the UFC. But it’s been his improved standup skills that have made him become a true contender at 155lbs.
Against Chandler, Oliveira is two-inches taller, has three more inches in reach, and he is two years younger. All the edges are pointing to Oliveira here, but, of course, he has had some really bad knockout losses in his past that make this matchup Chandler a tricky fight to call.
Chandler had an incredible debut for the UFC earlier this year when he knocked out Dan Hooker. For years he has been one of the best lightweights outside of the UFC and he’s a three-time champion in Bellator. He has wrestling skills, power in his hands, and submissions on his ground, not to mention the championship cardio to go five rounds.
I really like Chandler, and I’ve been a fan of him for years when he was in Bellator. But I have seen him lose many times, too. He’s not unbeatable, and I think he can be caught and finished. Of course, with his explosive knockout power and wrestling skills he’s a threat to beat Oliveira. But Chandler is not without his flaws, too. I don’t think his chin is the best, and I think the right shot can put him out.
I love this fight and it’s certainly not an easy one to pick as both men have very clear paths to victories. For Oliveira, he will likely want to get this fight to the ground and use his submissions, while Chandler will likely want to use his wrestling in reverse and try to land the KO blow on Oliveira.
However, with Oliveira improving so much in the striking, I could also see him getting a knockout win here, too. I feel like this is a competitive fight but ultimately I believe that Oliveira has more ways to win this fight, and I predict he finishes Chandler to become the new champ.
Pick: Charles Oliveira
Beneil Dariush ($8600) vs. Tony Ferguson ($7600)
The co-main event of UFC 262 sees lightweights Beneil Dariush and Tony Ferguson go at it. For Dariush, this is a huge opportunity to face an elite lightweight and jump into title contention at 155lbs. It’s well deserved for Dariush after he won his last six fights in a row.
Dariush is a grappler by trade and we know he has amazing BJJ skills, but it’s been his improved striking that has truly made him a threat in this division. He has shown increased knockout power in recent fights and is much more aggressive.
I do think his chin is a bit of a question mark, but overall Dariush looks like a legit contender. It’s also worth noting that he’s five years younger than Ferguson in this matchup and he’s a southpaw, which should help him in the standup.
Ferguson has been one of my favorite UFC fighters for years, and for the longest time I thought he was the guy who could give problems to Khabib Nurmagomedov. But at age 37 and coming off of back-to-back lopsided losses to Justin Gaethje and to Charles Oliveira, it feels like Ferguson is on a huge decline and is at the end of the road in a stacked division.
At his best, Ferguson is an absolute savage who can finish his opponents standing or on the ground, but we haven’t seen that version of him in a few years now. They say you’re only as good as your last fight, and while that is a simplistic point of view, the fact that Ferguson was so soundly beaten by both Oliveira and Gaethje is concerning.
Even with a four-inch reach advantage and one inches more in height, this fight against Dariush seems like a tough matchup for Ferguson.
This is a fade on Ferguson for me after he was completely wiped out in his last two fights. I just don’t think he’s the same fighter he once was, and I have to go with Dariush at $8600 here.
Pick: Beneil Dariush
Matt Schnell ($8900) vs. Rogerio Bontorin ($7300)
In a bantamweight bout, Matt Schnell faces off against Rogerio Bontorin. This fight was originally set to take place at flyweight between Schnell and Alex Perez, but Bontorin filled in on short notice for the injured Perez.
Starting with Schnell, he started off his UFC career with back-to-back knockout losses, but he has since then turned things around with wins in five of his last six fights. Schnell has shown improvements in all areas of his game, as his striking and grappling look much better these days.
His chin is still a question mark with three knockout losses in the UFC, but overall he is a solid fighter. In this particular matchup, Schnell is three-inches taller than Bontorin and he also possesses a three-inch reach advantage.
As for Bontorin, he is an excellent grappler as we saw against Kai Kara-France in his last fight, but we also saw him gas out badly after not getting the submission and then he was brutally knocked out. Fighting at 135lbs might give him more gas in the tank and lead to him not gassing out as quick, but seeing him lose that fight the way he did was very concerning.
Against Schnell, Bontorin’s path to victory will be to wrestle and get the submission, but Schnell matches up well with the grappling. Theoretically, Bontorin could score a KO since Schnell has a weak chin, but he doesn’t have much knockout power in his hands and I’m not convinced he gets the finish.
I have to go with Schnell in this fight as I believe he’s the more well-rounded fighter and he has more paths to victory, though I do think Bontorin could also potentially pull it off as an underdog.
Pick: Matt Schnell
UPDATE: Rogerio Bontorin missed weight, coming in at 137lbs. The fight will still go on as scheduled, but with Bontorin being fined 20% of his purse, which goes to Matt Schnell.
Katlyn Chookagian ($8800) vs. Viviane Araujo ($7400)
In women’s flyweight action, we have Katlyn Chookagian taking on Viviane Araujo. Chookagian has basically been the Jon Fitch of the UFC women’s flyweight division, meaning she’s not good enough to beat the champion, but she’s good enough to beat pretty much everyone else at 125lbs.
She has a decent striking attack on the feet and also some good grappling skills which do make her a threat to win most of her fights. However, Chookagian has absolutely no finishing skills to speak of, and she was knocked out two fights ago by Jessica Andrade. It feels like she’s on a bit of a decline and this could be a spot where we see her lose as a sizable DFS favorite.
I feel like Araujo is very undervalued in this spot as I think she has a good chance to win this fight. On the feet, Araujo is a nasty striker and she has more knockout power than Chookagian. She is also the faster fighter, and she has good grappling skills, as well.
The one disadvantage that Araujo will have in this matchup is that she’s the shorter fighter by five inches. That could prove to cause some issues for Araujo, but it’s worth noting their reaches are the same, so despite the height disadvantage, I don’t think Araujo is going to be at a big weakness here.
This should be a competitive fight between two women who prefer to stand and trade on the feet, but I like Araujo’s combinations and power more, and think she can win the decision.
Pick: Viviane Araujo
Shane Burgos ($8400) vs. Edson Barboza ($7800)
The opening PPV bout is a featherweight barnburner between Shane Burgos and Edson Barboza, which is my pick for “Fight of the Night” as both men are high-action strikers who are never in a boring fight. Starting with Burgos, he’s 6-2 overall in the UFC and has been very impressive for the most part as he’s shown off a high-pressure volume attack to go along with submission skills.
I do think that Burgos gets hit too much and that could cost him against such a talented striker like Barboza. But for the most part, Burgos has a great chin and is able to walk forward and absorb punishment. It doesn’t hurt that he’s five years younger than Barboza.
Barboza is one of the best strikers we have ever seen in the UFC. He has nasty kicks, power in his punches, and he is one of the most creative knockout artists we have ever seen in the Octagon. Last year, Barboza made the decision to drop to 145lbs and so far he’s gone 1-1 at the weight class.
At age 35, cutting weight doesn’t get any easier and it’s something to keep in mind going forward with Barboza. At his best, he’s one of the most talented strikers we have ever seen. But as he gets older and his chin deteriorates, he can’t get into these wars.
I have a feeling this is going to be a crazy fight for as long as it lasts, but ultimately, I trust Burgos’ durability more, and I see him scoring a knockout on the aging Barboza here.
Pick: Shane Burgos
Jacare Souza ($8500) vs. Andre Muniz ($7700)
At middleweight, we have Jacare Souza against Andre Muniz. Souza is one of my all-time favorites at 185lbs, but at age 41 and having lost his last three fights in a row, it appears as though father time has finally caught up with the Brazilian.
At his best, Souza is an elite grappler with underrated striking skills and for many years he was one of the best middleweights in the world. But in 2021, he’s not the same guy, and after seeing him get brutally knocked out by Kevin Holland in his last fight from an awkward position, I feel like he’s on a steep decline.
As for Muniz, he has won his last six fights in a row, including both of his UFC bouts and two wins on Dana White’s Contender Series. The 31-year-old Brazilian is also a grappling ace and he has leaned on his submissions to win his fights, which makes this particular matchup with Souza so intriguing.
If Muniz isn’t able to score the submission, which does seem rather unlikely, then he will be forced to show off the other aspects of his game, including his striking, and I’m excited to see him do that. Muniz has a six-inch reach advantage, which could be key.
I love Souza but I have to fade him here against an opponent who is 10 years younger with a sizable reach advantage. I’m not sure if Muniz gets the finish or not, but I do expect him to win.
Pick: Andre Muniz
Mike Grundy ($8200) vs. Lando Vannata ($8000)
In a featherweight bout, we have a grappler vs. striker matchup as Mike Grundy takes on Lando Vannata, who is cutting down to 145lbs for the first time in his UFC career. Starting with Grundy, he is one of the best wrestlers to come out of England and it’s his grappling that will make-or-break his UFC career.
Although we did see him finish Nad Narimani with strikes in his UFC debut, against Movsar Evloev we saw Grundy go back to a wrestling-centered gameplan. He did lose that fight, but still scored six takedowns, which will be key here against Vannata. It’s worth noting that Grundy has a one-inch reach advantage, though he’s two inches shorter.
As for Vannata, he’s been inconsistent in the UFC over the years, going 3-5-2 in the Octagon overall. At his best, Vannata is a high-action striker with knockout power and submission skills on the ground, but he has been getting taken down fairly easily in his last couple of fights and his striking hasn’t been as effective, either.
Vannata certainly has the skills to make some noise at 145lbs, but until we see him make the weight for this division, he’s a big question mark. I do like that he’s five years younger than Grundy, but I’m not sure it will end up mattering anyways.
In this striker vs. grappler matchup, I’m going with Grundy. I think he can score takedowns and steal rounds as he wins a unanimous decision and likely sends Vannata packing from the UFC.
Pick: Mike Grundy
Jamie Pickett ($8100) vs. Jordan Wright ($8100)
At middleweight we have Jamie Pickett taking on Jordan Wright. This is a true Pick ‘em fight, with both men coming in at equal $8100 salaries. Starting with Pickett, he has fought once in the UFC and suffered a unanimous decision loss to Tafon Nchukwi. Prior to that, he had three fights on Dana White’s Contender Series, but he only won one of them. A professional MMA fighter since 2008, it’s been a long road for Pickett to get here. He has some knockout power and some wrestling skills, but he has some flaws in his striking and takedown defense, as well.
As for Wright, he’s fought twice so far in the UFC, finishing Ike Vilanueava via cut TKO and then losing to Joaquin Buckley via knockout. He also fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and was finished by Anthony Hernandez with strikes. Otherwise, he has won all of his career fights by knockout or submission. In this particular matchup, Wright will be three years younger than Pickett, though he is at a three-inch reach disadvantage. He has to watch his chin, but as long as he doesn’t get knocked out, Wright has multiple paths to victory on the feet and on the mat.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see either guy win this fight, so I recommend playing both in GPPs, though I don’t trust either guy for cash. However, my pick is going to be Wright because I think he’s the more well-rounded fighter, and I think he probably ends up getting a finish in this one.
Pick: Jordan Wright
Antonina Shevchenko ($9200) vs. Andrea Lee ($7000)
At women’s 125lbs we have Antonina Shevchenko taking on Andrea Lee. Let’s be clear about it, Antonina is not as good as her sister Valentina, and she never will be. But she is a decent fighter in her own right and has been improving her skills.
Her 3-2 record in the UFC isn’t great, and she’s shown serious holes in her takedown defense which Lee will look to exploit, but she does come from a striking background and in her last outing against Ariane Lipski she showed a much-improved grappling attack. Although Shevchenko is 36, I think she is still getting better.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Lee, who has lost her last three fights after winning her first three UFC bouts. Lee has been disappointing in the Octagon overall as she has just never lived up to her potential. At her best, she can mix it up with her striking and grappling skills and be competitive with most of the top-15. But we just haven’t seen it from her as of late. Still, every matchup is different so perhaps she can win this one. It’s worth noting that Lee has a two-inch reach advantage and is five years younger in this particular matchup with Shevchenko.
Overall, I have to lean towards Shevchenko as I do think she is the better striker and her ground game looked improved the last time we saw her fight. But this huge price tag of $9200 gives me a lot of pause, and from a DFS point of view, Lee at $7000 seems like the better value here.
Pick: Antonina Shevchenko
Gina Mazany ($9300) vs. Priscila Cachoeira ($6900)
At women’s flyweight we have Gina Mazany against Priscila Cachoeira. It’s pretty incredible to see Mazany as the highest-priced fighter on the slate considering she is just 2-4 in the UFC, but Cachoeira has struggled even more than her with a 1-3 UFC record.
With Mazany, she is coming off of a great win over Rachael Ostovich in her last fight that she won via third-round TKO. Training with James Krause at Glory MMA & Fitness alongside her boyfriend, UFC flyweight Tim Elliott, Mazany appears to have been making improvements to her game. I still don’t trust her chin after seeing Julia Avila stop her, but she does have good grappling skills.
As for Cachoeira, she saved her UFC job with a KO win over Shana Dobson in her last outing, but that came after getting dominated in her first three UFC bouts. Cachoeira does have some hands and she can knock her opponents out, but she has bad takedown defense and her striking defense is non-existent. She has a puncher’s chance but that’s about it as she can be taken down far too easily and controlled on the ground, which is what Mazany will want to do.
I really hate this $9300 price on Mazany because I feel like it’s such an overpayment for a fighter of her caliber, but she should win this fight by grinding out Cachoeira for a decision.
Pick: Gina Mazany
Tucker Lutz ($8300) vs. Kevin Aguilar ($7900)
At featherweight, we have Tucker Lutz against Kevin Aguilar. Lutz is making his UFC debut after winning two fights on Dana White’s Contender Series. He is a very good grappler and is able to get the majority of his opponents to the ground, where he excels with his top control and ground and pound.
He is also six years younger than his opponent Aguilar in this fight and is one inch-taller, though he also has a one-inch reach disadvantage. But if the fight takes place on the ground like I think it will, Lutz should be in top position and the reach disadvantage is nullified.
Aguilar has been a huge disappointment in the UFC, in my opinion. He’s just 2-3 overall in the Octagon and he has lost his last three straight fights. Historically, Aguilar does have good takedown defense so if he can stop Lutz’s takedowns he can keep the fight standing, where he would have the best chance to win.
But with Aguilar’s chin on the decline as well, it wouldn’t even surprise me to see Lutz knock him out. Aguilar’s best chance to win this fight will be to stuff takedowns and win a decision, but I feel like that’s going to be tough to do against Lutz.
I have to go with Lutz in this one. It’s partly a fade on Aguilar and also I’m pretty high on Lutz and his wrestling. I think he can score well here and be a good bargain at this $8300 price.
Pick: Tucker Lutz
Christos Giagos ($9100) vs. Sean Soriano ($7100)
At lightweight, Christos Giagos takes on Sean Soriano, who is taking the fight on short notice after Joel Alvarez was pulled due to visa issues. Starting with Giagos, he is a very good wrestler who excels in top position. He has had two stints in the UFC, and he was lousy with a 1-2 record the first time around, but his 3-2 record in his second UFC run shows that he has made some significant improvements to his game. I do feel like Giagos is a bit too one-dimensional and when he fights a higher level of competition he will lose. But against fighters who can’t stop takedowns consistently, he will always have a chance to win and also score well for DFS.
As for Soriano, he’s making his return to the UFC on short notice after several years away from the promotion. The first time we saw him in the UFC he went 0-3 and was cut after getting dominated on the ground in all three of his losses. In the years since then, he’s had some success on the regional scene with his striking, but his ground game still appears to be a big hole. Soriano has a puncher’s chance here against Giagos, but that’s about it. Soriano is also at a one-inch height disadvantage and has a one-inch reach disadvantage in this matchup.
Although Soriano certainly has a puncher’s chance, I do feel like Giagos should be able to control him with the wrestling. Giagos is the pick and he seems like a strong DFS play.
Pick: Christos Giagos
MVPs: Christos Giagos ($9100), Charles Oliveira ($8700), Beneil Dariush ($8600)
Live dogs: Andre Muniz ($7700), Viviane Araujo ($7400), Andrea Lee ($7000)
Avoid: Katlyn Chookagian ($8800), Jacare Souza ($8500), Kevin Aguilar ($7900),
Cash advice: He’s one of the most expensive fighters on the list but I feel pretty confident that Christos Giagos should be able to out-grapple Sean Soriano, and considering how many points top-control wrestlers get these days, he’s someone I would target to build my lineups around. I also feel like Beneil Dariush is a good target for cash as I see him beating Tony Ferguson.
GPP advice: From a GPP perspective, I would be targeting both sides from the main event and building lineups around both guys, as a finish seems likely from either Oliveira vs. Chandler. I favor Oliveira but Chandler is a live dog. There are several other fights I’ll be targeting for GPPs including Jamie Pickett vs. Jordan Wright and Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza. Good luck!
- Mike Grundy 1.22 to win 1
- Tucker Lutz 1.12 to win 1
- Andre Muniz 1 to win 1.15
- Viviane Araujo 1 to win 1.17