Michael Chandler came up short in his lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 earlier this month, but the former Bellator MMA champion is handling the defeat like a true professional.
Having only competed inside the Octagon once before his clash with Oliveira for the vacant lightweight strap Chandler was the betting underdog at UFC 262. He had the punching power and elite athleticism to pull out the win, but many believed the fight would favor “Do Bronx” if it lasted long or went to the ground.
Chandler surprised many in the early going when he clobbered Oliveira with a right hand and put the Brazilian in serious trouble. More punches followed and Chandler nearly found the finish to capture his first UFC title. Unfortunately for him, Oliveira was able to recover and avoid the first-round stoppage.
Chandler recently sat down to break down the entire UFC 262 main event and discussed his early success in detail.
“This right here, is probably the hardest part of this entire fight to watch,” said Chandler about hurting Oliveira (shown above). “Charles Oliveira is essentially almost out here.
“It’s one of those deals if maybe I stopped punching, he is out, and I think I woke him back up by punching him again. But we threw the hook, chased him down. Right hand to the temple, he drops. Bang, bang, just landing shots.
“Right there he almost looks like he’s out, (but then) goes back to pulling guard. Here’s where the age old question of ‘Should you let him up? Should you just let him back to the feet?’ (Do) I think the right decision here could’ve been to let him up? Or the right decision here is to be in his guard and finish him with strikes like I have numerous people in the past? There’s a lot of times that people wilt under my pressure.”
Oliveira was able to regroup on the stool in between rounds and come out in the second with a point to prove. He cracked Chandler with a massive left hook that knocked the former Bellator MMA champion down. Chandler tried to defend and give himself enough time to recover but Oliveira was relentless and eventually found the finish.
“Here is the agony of defeat, where it starts to settle in,” said Chandler when describing the final moments of the fight. “You look around and you see the facial expressions of people.
“Man, that’s my fault,” he said. “I should’ve came up with the jab as a defense, instead of just throwing the right hand by itself.”
Luckily, Chandler is still one of the top names in the division and he’ll be given another chance to prove himself inside of the Octagon. It may take a few more wins to lock down another lightweight title shot, but Chandler has to be happy with his first-round performance against Oliveira. He looked incredible until it all came crashing down.