UFC 274 Picks: Can Charles Oliveira Defend Lightweight Title vs. Justin Gaethje?

Dean Etheridge
By , Updated on: Feb 8, 2023 07:00 PM
UFC 274 Picks: Can Charles Oliveira Defend Lightweight Title vs. Justin Gaethje?

It's always awesome when we can get out in front of our online UFC betting prior to a big event. And luckily for us, that's just what we have the chance to do in advance of UFC 274, which isn't scheduled to take place until Saturday, May 7.

Though most UFC 274 picks will zero in on Charles Oliveira defending his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje, we've also got predictions for Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza, Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson, Ovince Saint Preux vs. Mauricio Rua and Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon.

Before we jump right into our analysis of every headlining fight, here are the latest betting odds for UFC 274:

Charles Oliveira-166+140Justin Gaethje
Rose Namajunas-196+164Carla Esparza
Michael Chandler-405+320Tony Ferguson
Ovince Saint Preux-245+200Mauricio Rua
Donald Cerrone-105+110Joe Lauzon

Remember to double-check these odds on UFC 274 until you actually submit your wagers. Our UFC 274 odds are accurate as of Tuesday, April 26, so they will have plenty of time to move between now and the opening bell.

You should also make it a point to read through our reviews of the top online sportsbooks, as well as our extensive list of the best betting apps for UFC. With so much information at your fingertips, you'll have no issues whatsoever spotting the best UFC betting sites in 2022 or finding the most user-friendly bonuses and promotions in the lead-up to UFC 274.

Oliveira Could TKO Gaethje

Underdog enthusiasts will point to Justin Gaethje's speed as an advantage over Charles Oliveira, and we can't exactly come up with an argument against the sentiment. Gaethje is landing noticeably more significant strikes per minute while also connecting on his combos at an appreciably higher clip.

That's still not enough to move us off Oliveira. The power he generates from a variety of different fighting stances is almost peerless. Over Oliveira's 10-match winning streak, in fact, eight of his victories have come by total knockout or submission.

We feel good about picking him to retain his belt.

OSB Prediction: Charles Oliveira (-166)

Charles Oliveira To beat Justin Gaethje

Namajunas Should be Heavier Favorite Over Esparza

Carla Esparza enters her fight with Rose Namajunas having won five straight matches, a stretch that has seen her showcase enviable stamina and surgical combinations. The longer this bout lasts, the more likely Esparza is to pull off the upset.

Here's the thing: We don't think this match will last very long.

Namajunas has won by TKO at a fairly high clip. At the same time, she has also gone punch-for-punch versus better fighters than Esparza and won by decision. Couple this with a higher accuracy rate on her significant strike attempts, and we're honestly shocked she's not something more like a -275 favorite.

OSB Prediction: Rose Namajunas (-196)

Rose Namajunas To beat Carla Esparza

Chandler has Decided Edge Against Ferguson

At first glance, Michael Chandler can feel very beatable. Though he's super quick and relentless with his combination attempts, he takes risks that open up his midsection to devastating blows. Seldom does someone so highly ranked on the UFC circuit absorb as many significant strikes per minute.

Tony Ferguson just so happens to have the speed necessary to capitalize on Chandler's risk-addled fighting style. So why is he the heavy underdog? We'd attribute it to a lack of versatility.

Ferguson doesn't have wrestling strength of which to speak and struggles to consistently land punches with his off-hand—flaws that were on full display during each of his past three matches, all of which he lost.

Ergo, Chandler is both the safe and correct bet.

OSB Prediction: Michael Chandler (-405)

Michael Chandler To beat Tony Ferguson

Ovince Saint Preux is Bad Value vs. Mauricio Rua

For the life of us, we can't figure out why Ovince Saint Preux is such a massive favorite in this fight against Mauricio Rua. His two-match losing streak has seen him struggle to land punches and even takedown attempts against opponents much slower than Rua. 

Granted, Rua can be lackadaisical when it comes to protecting against wrestling moves. But Saint Preux also isn't an expert wrestler. So while Rua is working off a loss to Paul Craig at UFC 255, we like his speed and accuracy on strikes and give him more than a slim chance of completing the upset.

OSB Prediction: Mauricio Rua (+245)

Mauricio Rua To beat Ovince Saint Preux

Should Cerrone be Favored Over Lauzon?

Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon was supposed to take place at a recent UFC Fight Night but cracked the UFC 274 lineup at the last minute. We're not entirely sure why.

Yes, both Cerrone and Lauzon are two of the most established and recognizable names in the business. But neither of them is fighting at anywhere near his prime level.

Cerrone has lost five straight matches while Lauzon hasn't stepped inside the octagon for roughly two years. Oddsmakers clearly think the time away will hurt Lauzon, but we're more concerned that Cerrone hasn't won a fight in approximately three years.

OSB Prediction: Joe Lauzon (+110)

Joe Lauzon To beat Donald Cerrone

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your UFC betting:

Meet the author

Dean Etheridge

Dean Etheridge has over ten years of writing experience in the world of sports betting. Starting out as a hobby on his own soccer betting website, Dean has now seen his picks published across various affiliate sites along with The Sun, where he writes regular Premier Le...

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