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UFC 274 best fights to watch outside of Justin Gaethje vs Charles Oliveira on Saturday

Justin Gaethje’s highly-anticipated title problem in opposition to Charles Oliveira tops the UFC 274 billing however there are a lot of different good match-ups. 

Rose Namajunas’ co-main occasion strawweight title battle with Carla Esparza is a traditional striker versus grappler encounter, whereas Tony Ferguson is a big underdog in opposition to Michael Chandler. 

Elsewhere, Danny Roberts is the British curiosity on the cardboard and Sportsmail has taken a more in-depth have a look at the must-see fights outside of the principle occasion this weekend… 

Charles Oliveira holds the UFC Lightweight title

Justin Gaethje will bid to become champion at 155lbs

Charles Oliveira (L) fights Justin Gaethje (proper) on Saturday in the principle occasion at UFC 274

Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza

Strawweight title battle 

Carla Esparza is the wrestling queen of the ladies’s strawweight division and holds the document for takedowns (42).

Her management time of nearly 55 minutes is 10 minutes longer than her closest rival and Namajunas can have been working onerous on the mats to put together for this one. 

The winner of this one shall be tied alongside Joanna Jedrzejczyk for probably the most wins in division historical past so there may be a lot on the road. 

Namajunas was sensational in beating Zhang Weili twice and her opponents are extra respected than Esparza’s. 

Rose Namajunas became UFC strawweight champion by devastating Zhang Weili

Rose Namajunas turned UFC strawweight champion by devastating Zhang Weili

Namajunas finished Weili in their first fight and fought to a decision in the second

Namajunas completed Weili of their first battle and fought to a choice within the second 

That mentioned, the challenger is on a five-fight successful streak and totally deserves her shot on the belt. These two fought for the primary time in 2014 and Esparza received by rear-naked choke. 

Of course, each girls have come a good distance since then however the primary premise of the battle stays the identical. 

If Namajunas can keep upright and make this a stand-up battle, she has greater than sufficient talent to coast to a choice or discover a end. 

But Esparza is an elite wrestler and can look to dominate on the bottom – if she will take the champion down and maintain her there, chances are high there shall be a brand new strawweight champion on Saturday night time.  

Esparza is a brilliant grappler and will be looking to take down Namajunas

Esparza is a superb grappler and shall be trying to take down Namajunas 

Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson

‘The folks’s principal occasion’, as it’s being referred to as. Can Tony Ferguson cease his career sliding ever additional into the mire?

His stock was at an all-time excessive at the beginning of the pandemic earlier than all of it got here crashing down.

That choice not to await Khabib Nurmagomedov and as an alternative face Gaethje may show the ruining of him. He’s by no means been the identical since. 

Gaethje put a horrible beating on ‘El Cucuy’ and since then, he is suffered defeats by Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. 

There’s no disgrace in shedding to Oliveira, who has since confirmed his class as a worthy champion and Dariush may give anybody a tough night time. 

Ferguson has lost his last three fights and is in need of a win to get his career back on track

Ferguson has lost his final three fights and is in want of a win to get his career again on monitor

Ferguson has never quite looked the same since his defeat by Gaethje

Ferguson has by no means fairly appeared the identical since his defeat by Gaethje  

But it was the way of these losses which were so regarding. Ferguson has appeared a shell of himself and the murmurs that he ought to retire will develop louder if Chandler can put him away. 

The former Bellator champion can also be in determined want of a victory. 

Having lost to Oliveira after which Gaethje, a win over the 38-year-old is a should if he has aspirations of a money battle with Conor McGregor or one other tilt on the title. 

Chandler is a heavy favorite and matches up properly on paper. He is the extra highly effective man, has real knockout energy and a stable wrestling base. 

Ferguson’s jiu-jitsu is elite however he’ll do very properly to safe a takedown. It is hard to assess how far he has fallen given the top quality of opposition but when that is one other lacklustre displaying, he ought to think about calling time on what has been an impressive career.  

Chandler is a heavy favourite to beat Ferguson and has the power advantage

Chandler is a heavy favorite to beat Ferguson and has the facility benefit 

Donald Cerrone vs Joe Lauzon 

With a mixed age of 76, that is legends league sort of scrap. 

Cerrone has not received a battle since May 2019 and seems to be very shut to the exit door. Perhaps this might even be his last act. 

‘Cowboy’ has given a lot to the UFC however the newest TKO defeat by Alex Morono was regarding. 

That’s why Dana White and Co have matched him up with a fighter solely two years youthful at 37 who has additionally been round within the UFC for an age. 

Lauzon has been combating within the organisation since 2006, by no means successful greater than three in a row and by no means shedding greater than three. 

Donald Cerrone (right) is now 39 and not the fighter he once was in the octagon

Donald Cerrone (proper) is now 39 and never the fighter he as soon as was within the octagon

His final battle was again in 2019 and given Cerrone’s current kind, Lauzon may really feel this is a perfect encounter with a fellow legend. 

The begin might be essential right here. Cerrone is the slowest of gradual starters and is a tortoise out of the blocks. 

He’s been completed shortly on a number of events and Lauzon loves to set an early tempo. 

That mentioned, Lauzon can been flat footed and in phrases of placing talent, Cerrone is the extra refined fighter. 

His kicks could be deadly however he’ll have to get them working shortly in a three-rounder. This is one for the followers and must be the right means to kick off the principle card.  

Joe Lauzon is a veteran of the sport and should put on a strong showing against Cerrone

Joe Lauzon is a veteran of the game and may put on a robust displaying in opposition to Cerrone

Francisco Trinaldo vs Danny Roberts

‘Hot Chocolate’ is the one Brit on the cardboard and takes on a 43-year-old UFC veteran in Trinaldo. 

The Brazilian could also be lengthy within the tooth however stays harmful having received 4 of his final 5. The peak and attain benefit of 4 inches lands in Roberts’ nook. 

Consecutive victories over Zelim Imadaev and Ramazan Emeev have the Croydon-born 34-year-old carrying a lot of momentum into this. 

He is a technical striker and loves to throw mixtures whereas his opponent is methodical and highly effective. 

Danny Roberts has won his last two and claiming Francisco Trinaldo's scalp would be huge

Danny Roberts has received his final two and claiming Francisco Trinaldo’s scalp can be big 

Trinaldo knocked out Roberts’ countryman Jai Herbert and in addition holds wins over the likes of Jim Miller and Bobby Green. 

But he has by no means been ready to combine it with the elite operators and a win for Roberts right here would do a lot for his visibility at welterweight. 

The Brit’s takedown defence has been focused previously so if he’s having the higher of Trinaldo within the stand-up, search for the Brazilian to drag him to the mat.  

Andre Fialho vs Cameron VanCamp

Fialho is a enjoyable fighter to watch and demolished Miguel Baeza for a Performance of the Night bonus in his second UFC look. 

The Portuguese welterweight is stepping again into the octagon simply three weeks later in opposition to VanCamp, who has received his final 4. 

Three of these have been finishes however he has his work lower out on this one. 

Fialho is a knockout artist and 12 of his 15 fights have ended that means in his favour. 

Andre Fialho (right) is working off a three-week turnaround and looking for another KO

Andre Fialho (proper) is working off a three-week turnaround and in search of one other KO 

This is already his third battle this year after signing and shedding a choice in opposition to Michel Pereira in January. 

The busy striker might have an influence benefit right here too. VanCamp often fights at light-weight however is shifting up for this one.

Dana White and Co love an energetic fighter and particularly a KO artist. Expect the Sanford MMA athlete to come out swinging and the bookies give him nearly an 80 per cent probability of successful. 

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