Charles Oliveira is the front-runner to be declared “and new” in May.
The UFC lightweight title is officially vacant after Dana White announced Thursday that he is no longer pursuing a Khabib Nurmagomedov comeback following the incumbent champion’s retirement in October of last year. Set to battle for the belt are Oliveira and three-time Bellator champion Michael Chandler.
Oliveira and Chandler are expected to headline UFC 262, which takes place on May 15 with a location still to be determined. Initial odds from SportsBetting.ag have “Do Bronx” installed as a minor favorite at -155. Chandler is currently a slight underdog at +135.
The close odds reflect the incredible success that both contenders have had in recent years. Oliveira is currently on an eight-fight win streak with seven of those wins coming by way of knockout or submission and his most recent being a dominant decision victory over former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Chandler made a spectacular octagon debut at UFC 257 in January with a first-round TKO of Dan Hooker. Afterwards, he cut an animated promo announcing his intentions to fight Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title. He has won 10 of his past 12 fights.
See the UFC 262 lightweight championship odds below:
Charles Oliveira -155
Michael Chandler +135