Last Updated Nov 28, 2022, 9:22 AM

UFC 274 Picks, Predictions, Odds

UFC 274 is set to take place on Saturday, May 7 at the Footprint Center located in Arizona, Phoenix, United States.

In the main event the lightweight championship will be on the line as streaking champion Charles Oliveira takes on hard-hitting Justin Gaethje. Rose Namajunas defends her strawweight title against former rival Carla Esparza in the co-main.

Early prelims begin at 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+, while the main card is set to begin at 10:00 p.m. ET and can be viewed on ESPN+ PPV. Let's go over the betting odds, best bets and fighting analysis for the top fights on Saturday's card.

Charles Oliveira (c) vs. Justin Gaethje Prediction, Picks

5’ 10”Height5’ 11”
155 lbs.Weight155 lbs.

Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is on a hot streak right now winning 10 in a row. Can he keep the streak alive against hard-hitting challenger Justin Gaethje?

Oliveira has shown that he can get hit and recover in recent fights. He was badly hurt against Chandler and dropped by Poirier too. Gaethje is perhaps the hardest hitter in the 155 pound division right now, so Oliveira will need to mind his p's and q's if he wants to keep that patented high-pressure style against Gaethje.

The thing is, even though Oliveira has been getting hit a bit too much as of late, getting knocked down isn't that dangerous for him because he has that grappling game to fall back on. We've seen time and time again that opponents don't want to follow him down there because they know that he's capable of. If Gaethje gets a knockdown here, I'm certain that he will wave Charles back to his feet, giving the champion enough time to recover.

In my mind Gaethje has already lost this fight, or atleast a version of this fight. When Justin faced former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov he did well in the early going but was eventually gassed out by a high pace and submitted on the ground. Oliveira is extremely aware of his grappling accolades, and therefore knows that he can take the center and pressure immediately.

Gaethje's defensive wrestling is top tier, but this is not a grappler who goes for the basic single-leg or double-leg takedowns. Oliveira does his best work on the cage where wrestlers are out of their comfort zones, plus we've already seen that Charles doesn't even need a takedown to submit you. The champ was happy to backpack Poirier and choke him out in his last bout.

This fight really comes down: to can Gaethje knock out Oliveira? Realistically I give Gaethje two rounds to get the job done. From there on out Oliveira's pace will gas out Gaethje and leave him open to the grappling.

As with most strikers, Gaethje is by far the most dangerous when he goes forward. It is only when you push him back that he has trouble planting his feet and throwing hard. Just like Nurmagomedov, Oliveira has adopted a very high pace which will do him well in this fight. I don't see Gaethje having much room to breathe being kept on the back foot.

I see this fight going similarly to Gaethje's outing against Nurmagomedov. Oliveira gets it done once again.

Prediction: Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje.

Picks: Charles Oliveira By KO, TKO, DQ or Submission (-110), Under 2.5 (-175)

Rose Namajunas (c) vs. Carla Esparza II Prediction, Picks

Namajunas vs.Esparza
5’ 5”Height5’ 1”
115 lbs.Weight115 lbs.
12-4-0 Record19-6-0
Striker, grapplerStyleWrestler

In the UFC 274 co-main event two former rivals lock horns once again.

Namajunas and Esparza initially faced off in their respective debuts, with Esparza walking away as the victor via third-round submission. Since then Rose has gone on to win the title for herself, and Esparza, the former champion, now fights for the title once again.

The reality of Carla's skill set is that she's a wrestler with little else to offer. Her striking isn't really all there and on the feet Namajunas will punish her from a range. She wins this fight by chain wrestling in every single round and just laying on top of Namajunas to win minutes.

If there is a finish in this fight I believe it will be the champion getting it done. Namajunas is one of the most lethal strawweights of all time, taking her finish rate into consideration. Recent outings may have led you to believe that she's a striker, however Rose's claim to fame is actually her submission skills.

Rose has won five of nine UFC fights inside the distance.

I do believe Carla will get takedowns here and there, but she doesn't have anything in her toolbox that will shock Namajunas. We've seen Carla against an elite striker with actual takedown defense before and she doesn't do that well.

I think a key to victory for Rose is to keep Carla retreating and never allow her to reach the center of the octagon. The big octagon should also give Rose an edge as she will have more room to circle out from takedown attempts.

In a three-round bout I could lean Carla, but this being a 25-minute fight I can't see how Esparza wins without completely gassing herself out with takedowns.

Prediction: Rose Namajunas def. Carla Esparza.

Picks: Rose Namajunas By Decision or Technical Decision (+160), Fight to Go the Distance - Yes (-175)

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Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson Prediction, Picks

Chandler vs.Ferguson 
5’ 8”Height5’ 11”
155 lbs.Weight155 lbs.
22-7-0 Record26-6-0
Striker, wrestlerStyleStriker, jiu-jitsu

After three losses in a row, you've gotta wonder whether this is Fergusons last time out. Another dominant loss and I don't think the boss will let him keep putting his body on the line in the octagon against the killers of the 155-pound division.

Ferguson's game has always been a gritty one. He wins by taking his opponents' best shots and walking them down until they can barely stand. His high pressure is usually accompanied by his volume. His knees and elbows have worked wonders for him in the past, usually bloodying up opponents and hurting them in the later rounds.

After his grueling loss to Gaethje however, Tony has been a shelf of his former self. In subsequent bouts he was completely dominated by Charles Oliveira, the current champ, and Beneil Dariush, current contender. It's not like the guys he has lost to are bad, on the contrary, however judging from his performances, you can't tell me the guy hasn't lost his step. Against Charles and Beneil, Tony averaged 1.1 significant punches landed per minute. Mind you, this is a guy who has been renowed for his high volume throughout his career. It's what has won him fights. Without it, I don't see him beating anyone.

When you really boil it down Ferguson has no one-punch knockout power, he doesn't wrestle, nor does he grapple, at least offensively.

Tony's ground game has always been completely underutilized in my mind. He has never worked on adding some offensive wrestling to set up his submissions which means he gets ragdolled by any wrestler worth two cents.

Chandler is a guy who isn't much younger than Tony, but his tenure is just starting in the UFC. Yes, he is coming off of two losses, however those where close fights against the guys who are going to be fighting for the title in the main event. That's big.

Tony's shocking inability to do anything to get back to his feet in his last two bouts also leads me to believe that Chandler can just get takedowns at will and control Ferguson on the ground here.

Michael also has a piston for a right hand, and Tony has always kept that chin up in the way when backing up.

Regardless of where this fight takes place I see Chandler dominating. Judging by the numbers of Tony's last few performances, I think we are seeing a fighter in decline like Tyron Woodley. After all, he hasn't managed to win a minute of a round in 30 minutes (six rounds). That's bad.

Prediction: Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson.

Picks: Michael Chandler By Decision or Technical Decision (+275), Fight to Go the Distance - Yes (+150)

Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux II Prediction, Picks

Rua vs.Preux 
6’ 1”Height6’ 3”
205 lbs.Weight205 lbs.
StrikerStyleStriker, grappler

Moving on down the card we've got Mauricio Rua taking on Ovince Saint Preux in a fight not many know to be a rematch.

Both guys are far from being in their physical prime, however I think Rua might be further down his downward slope than OSP.

Neither fighter has been getting good results as of late, however Preux has been facing the better competition.

Regardless of recent form it's tough to get a good read on this fight based on the fact that both guys are shells of their former selves.

Rua had a good scrap with Paul Craig recently, however the former champ looked like he didn't belong in there with Craig when they ran it back at UFC 255. Meanwhile OSP has gotten knocked out twice in a row.

In the first fight OSP got the job done via first-round knockout, and in rematches the winner of the first always holds a small mental edge over the opponent. I don't see either guy getting a finish because of their age. For a prediction I'll go with OSP as he won the first time, but I don't recommend capping this fight between two old horses.

Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux def. Mauricio Rua.

Picks: Fight to Go the Distance (+162), Over 2.5 (+120)

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