At UFC 274, an important night for two lightweight contenders is looming as former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson meets former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
Both men are highly respected fighters and hold exciting styles that have transcended their popularity across the MMA world.
Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson Clash in Pivotal Lightweight War
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For ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler, it is a win needed to regain some momentum back after going 1-2 in his debut year to the UFC in 2021.
Chandler defeated Dan Hooker in his first fight for the company at UFC 257 in quick fashion, then followed it up with a TKO loss to Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight championship at UFC 262 and ended the year with a decision loss to Justin Gaethje in a fight of the year performance at UFC 268.
Though a thrilling year was provided to us by Chandler, who also won ‘Debut of the Year’, the two loss skid weighs heavier on the 36-year old’s resume than the exciting performances he has put on display. A win over a masterclass fighter such as Ferguson is exactly what Chandler needs to regain some footing in the 155 lbs. division.
Meanwhile, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson had an even tougher year. Having only fought once last year, Ferguson fell to Beneil Dariush at UFC 262 via unanimous decision. Ferguson’s singular defeat in 2021 puts the TUF 13 winner on a three fight losing streak.
The unorthodox fighter was once hailed as the best lightweight on the planet behind arguably Khabib Nurmagomedov, having been on a historic 12-fight win streak from 2012-2020. During this time, Ferguson defeated the likes of Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kevin Lee (for the interim lightweight title), Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. Ferguson’s winning ways were slammed to a halt when he faced Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in 2020. Having entered the fight on short notice, Ferguson ended up suffering a fifth round TKO.
Following that loss, Ferguson hoped to bounce back at UFC 256, taking on Charles Oliveira. The now current lightweight champion dominated Ferguson on the ground, sealing his victory and handing Ferguson his second straight defeat.
On paper, this fight is one of the more exciting and compelling fights of the year. With the ever looming possibility of a slugfest, this fight could very well end up with either fighter coming out on top and could see itself in the running as a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
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