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UFC 274 Predictions – Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje: Fight Card, Odds, Expert Picks, Prelims, Date

Two UFC championships should be at stake Saturday night when UFC 274 goes down in Phoenix, but that all changed during Friday’s weigh-in when Charles Oliveira lost his belt on the weigh-in. Oliveira came in overweight at 155.5lbs for the 155lb contest and was stripped of the belt but challenger Justin Gaethje can still take the title with a win. Despite the sudden move to the main event, UFC 274 offers a stacked map with many big stars and champions past and present.

“The champion has a name. His name is Charles Oliveira,” he said through an interpreter. “The story is that I went to my room. I lost weight on the UFC scale on Thursday night. I go to my room (and) haven’t eaten anything. No water, no food, nothing. I swear to god. In the name of my daughter, the holiest thing in my life. I went to bed. I wake up the next day and it’s a pound down.

“I have a look at it. Actually, I’m a kilogram too much. I’m one too many and I don’t understand what happened. I can not understand. We work. We are professionals. I haven’t done anything wrong. It just didn’t make sense to me. Other fighters also started talking about it. They started talking about these 200 grams, 300 grams. It was precisely the Libra’s difference with the UFC.

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas defends her women’s strawweight title against Carla Esparza. Esparza and Namajunas have met before, with Esparza becoming the first strawweight champion when she defeated Namajunas in the 2014 finals of The Ultimate Fighter.

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the martial arts world from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat starring Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including a full preview of UFC 274 below.

Aside from the two title fights, other veterans fill out this loaded PPV map. Lightweight contenders Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson will find themselves down in a match that promises action. Veterans Ovince Saint Preux and former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua crack light heavyweight. And legendary veterans Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Lauzon kick off the celebrations with a welterweight match.

With so much happening on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight map with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff’s predictions and tips for the PPV portion of the celebrations.

UFC 274 fight card, odds

  • Charles Oliveira (c) -170 vs. Justin Gaethje +145, easy title
  • Rose Namajunas -220 vs. Carla Esparza +180, Women’s Strawweight Title
  • Michael Chandler -380 vs. Tony Ferguson +300, lightweight
  • Ovince Saint Preux -230 vs. Mauricio Rua +190, Light Heavyweight
  • Donald Cerrone -175 vs. Joe Lauzon +150, lightweight
  • Khaos Williams -120 vs. Randy Brown +100, welterweight
  • Norma Dumont -220 vs. Macy Chiasson +180, Women’s Featherweight
  • Blagoy Ivanov -155 vs. Marcos Rogerio De Lima +130, Heavyweight
  • Brandon Royval -260 vs. Matt Schnell +210, flyweight
  • Francisco Trinaldo -120 vs. Danny Roberts +100, welterweight
  • Tracy Cortez -150 vs. Melissa Gatto +125, Women’s Flyweight
  • Kleidison Rodrigues -340 vs. CJ Vergara +270, flyweight
  • Loopy Godinez -170 vs. Ariane Carnelossi +145, women’s strawweight
  • Fernie Garcia -150 vs. Journey Newson +125, bantamweight
  • Andre Fiahlo -420 vs. Cameron Vancamp +330, welterweight

With such a massive main event, the CBS Sports crew moved on with main card predictions and tips. Here are your favorites: Brent Brookhouse (martial arts writer), Brian Campbell (martial arts writer, co-host of “Morning Kombat”), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer), and Brandon Wise (editor-in-chief).

UFC 274 picks, predictions

Oliveira (c) against Gaethje Gaethje Gaethje Gaethje Gaethje Gaethje
Namajunas (c) vs Esparza Namajuns Namajunas Namajunas Namajunas Namajunas
Chandler vs. Ferguson chandler chandler chandler chandler chandler
Saint Preux vs. Rua Rua Saint Preux Rua Rua Saint Preux
Cerrone versus Lauzon Lauzon cerrone cerrone cerrone Lauzon
Records so far (2022) 10-10 10-10 9-11 13-7 12-8

Oliveira vs Gaethje

Campbell: In terms of rankings, there has never been a more dangerous fighter in UFC history than Oliveira, who has won ten straight fights since 2018, including nine by stoppages. But the career record holder for both UFC submissions and placements has also done plenty of damage along the way, including his vacant title win against Michael Chandler when Oliveira narrowly avoided being knocked out in the opening frame. Gaethje is so violent and deliberate in his quest for a knockout that he presents the perfect kind of threat for the champion’s calculated luck to run away from. Although Oliveira’s odds of winning can increase exponentially should the fight go down, Gaethje is not exactly easy to defeat. Should this fight escalate into pure chaos, as Oliveira usually does, he might find that there’s someone out there even more comfortable in deep water.

Brookhouse: I originally picked Oliveira to win, just as I picked him to be the next lightweight champion when Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, just as I picked him to stay against Dustin Poirier. Then came Friday and Oliveira’s disaster. Not only did he lose weight the first time, he didn’t lose half a pound in an hour. This indicates that something is wrong. Gaethje is not a man you want to face with less than your best performance and the red flags are just off the charts for Oliveira now. The lane is wide open for Gaethje to become the UFC lightweight champion and Oliveira must hope to regain the belt later because he is no longer the champion, regardless of Saturday night’s result.

Way: Even before Friday’s weigh-in fiasco, it was difficult for me to see Oliveira’s road to victory. Aside from an absolutely dominant wrestling performance, Gaethje has all the skills to handle this fight with a strong wrestling background. He could easily frustrate Oliveira early on with stuffed takedowns, luring him into the brawls the former champion has found himself in lately. If that were to happen, it’s hard to see Gaethje failing to finish the fight on his feet under trainer Trevor Wittman with his incredible strength and solid technique.

Namajunas versus Esparza

Campbell: Nearly eight years after losing the first 115-pound title to Esparza, the nature of Namajunas’ development coming full circle provides an intriguing narrative for this title rematch. But while both fighters are shockingly better today than their 2014 form, Namajunas has seemingly ironed out all of our shortcomings in this latest run, which has included back-to-back wins each over former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili alongside a redeeming victory in her rematch with Jessica Andrade . If Esparza can’t fight the fight solely on the ground, Namajunas’ precision on her feet should be more than enough.

Brookhouse: Namajunas is so much better than 2014 that all the improvements Esparza has made haven’t stopped Namajunas from becoming the clearly better fighter of the two. Esparza must pull off a near-perfect fight to defeat Namajunas, not getting on his feet at all, and landing takedown after takedown while keeping the fight grounded and in supreme control at all times. That just seems like an unlikely path for the fight, and more likely is a fight where Namajunas come to a decision on the strength of a dominant hitting game.

Mahjouri: Don’t twist, people sleep on Esparza. Zhang Weili’s ability to defeat Namajuna (5 tries out of 11) at UFC 268 should inspire confidence in Esparza’s camp. Esparza is a relentless grappler who has developed a mean streak in the Octagon. Arguably the more versatile fighter, Namajunas are sneaky finishers on their feet. Under the tutelage of trainer Trevor Wittman, Namajunas will have devoted far more time to defensive wrestling and maintaining range than they did in the run-up to Namajunas-Weili 2. “Thug Rose” is undefeated in rematches and a hitman in new matchups. Esparza has improved significantly since her first fight eight years ago, but her style remains relatively the same. Namajunas is unrecognizable from the 3-2 fighter who lost the first women’s strawweight title. Esparza can take a round or two from Namajunas, but the champion will likely win on the scorecards or land a fight-ending knockout.

Chandler vs. Ferguson

Campbell: At 38 and on a three-fight losing streak, this is nothing short of a must for Ferguson. But there’s more than enough reason to think the competitive fire within Ferguson could be fading given the damage he’s done through wins and losses in recent years. Luring Chandler into a ferocious brawl might be Ferguson’s best move to smooth the conditions of this fight, especially given the former Bellator Champion’s constant lust for action fighting. But it could also result in Ferguson being consistently punched while Chandler tries to end the fight with every punch he throws. A sort of Ferguson resurgence isn’t out of the question here. The real debate is whether it will be enough to actually win the fight.

Brookhouse: It’s hard to imagine the Ferguson, who has shown himself in his last three fights, being a major force here against an aggressive opponent in Chandler. Ferguson looks like he wants to find the old fire that has led to so much success, but his body doesn’t seem capable of doing what his brain wants. At the highest levels of the sport, even a 3% reduction in skill can spell the end of your ability to compete with the best. That seems to have happened to Ferguson, and Chandler isn’t the kind of fighter who shows mercy when throwing hands.

who wins Oliveira vs Gaethje? And what other picks do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now for in-depth top tips on UFC 274, all from the insider who has won more than $10,000 in MMA tips over the past two years, and find out.

https://www.cbssports.com/mma/news/ufc-274-predictions-charles-oliveira-vs-justin-gaethje-fight-card-odds-expert-picks-prelims-date/ UFC 274 Predictions – Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje: Fight Card, Odds, Expert Picks, Prelims, Date

Justin Scacco

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