Ahead of his upcoming UFC 268 return next weekend against former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje, the #4 ranked division contender, Michael Chandler believes there is a case to be made for a rematch between himself and May opponent, reigning lightweight kingpin, Charles Oliveira — especially considering judge Sal D’Amato’s scoring of the opening round, 10-8 — in favor of Chandler.
Missouri veteran, Chandler, a former three-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion, headlined UFC 262 in May against Sao Paulo finisher, Oliveira, with vacant lightweight spoils up for grabs.
Starting brightly against the Brazilian, Chandler almost latched onto a quick-fire guillotine after stunning Oliveira on the feet, before the latter took his back during a scramble.
Eventually returning to his feet midway through the first round in an explosive escape, Chandler managed to back Oliveira up against the fence with pressure, before uncorking and clipping with a right hook behind the ear of the grappling sensation, sending him to the canvas and forcing him to play guard in a bid to survive the late round knockdown.
With the momentum seemingly swinging in favor of Chandler, the Sanford MMA trainee was himself dropped in the opening exchanges of the second frame curtesy of a picture-perfect left hook from Oliveira, who managed to swarm and finish at the Octagon fence — clinching the vacant crown.
The defeat marked Chandler’s first in the organization, following a blockbuster debut earlier this year at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, UAE — where he stopped Dan Hooker with an opening round knockout victory having snapped his 10-year stay with Bellator.
Clashing with the #2 ranked returning Gaethje in November at Madison Square Garden in a billed title-eliminator, Chandler has claimed that their is a case to be argued in favor of a rematch further down the road with Oliveira given the 10-8 round he netted earlier this annum.
“If [Charles] Oliveira does find a way to beat [Dustin] Poirier — which I do have Poirier winning that fight,” Chandler told ESPN MMA. “If Oliveira does win, then — he hadn’t lost a round since 2017 until Michael Chandler showed up and 10-8ed him in the first round, so I think there’s grounds to make a rematch between me and Oliveira for the title.“
While Chandler is preoccupied with a showdown against Gaethje next weekend in New York, the aforenoted, Oliveira is slated to headline UFC 269 at the end of this year in his first attempted defense of the lightweight crown — tackling former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier on December 11.
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