UFC 300 Main Card Breakdown: Highlights and History

Warriors collide and legends are forged beneath the banner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

The UFC Octagon has seen the rise and fall of some of the best combat athletes in recorded history. With UFC 300 on the horizon for April 13th, 2024, we look forward to the fights and reflect on the history of modern MMA.

For three decades, the UFC has been the epicenter of mixed martial arts mastery, a proving ground that puts on the fights fans want to see. From humble beginnings to a global phenomenon, its journey has been marked by literal blood, sweat, and tears. With each event, the UFC adds to its tapestry of high-level fights and drives its athletes to new heights.

UFC 300 is shaping up to be a celebration of everything fans love about MMA and is likely to be one of the year’s best events. With two championship belts on the line, it boasts a night full of exciting fights. Let’s break down the bouts with a look at the competitors.

UFC 300 Main Card

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: Champ Alex Pereira vs #1 Contender Jamahal Hill

Early Betting Odds

Pereira: -155

Hill: +130

Light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira has developed a dedicated following due to his vicious knockouts and stoic demeanor. His 9-2 MMA record includes recent KOs of Jiri Prochazka, Israel Adesanya, and Sean Strickland, all of whom are in the top 3 of the middleweight or light heavyweight division. Prior to starting in MMA Pereira had a 33-7 professional kickboxing record with 21 knockouts.

Jamahal Hill has an impressive professional MMA record of 12-1 and is currently on a four-fight win streak, with three victories by knockout. He has less overall combat sports experience than Pereira (especially against championship-caliber fighters), but he’s athletic with knockout power and demonstrates an ability to use a full range of MMA techniques to get the job done.

The current odds make sense and will likely remain, with Pereira as the favorite and Hill as the underdog, but Hill is definitely capable of scoring an upset. If he can use his comfort in all aspects of MMA to push the fight away from Pereira’s kickboxing skillset, he could definitely land enough to hurt the champion.

Women’s Strawweight Title Bout: Champ Zhang Weili vs. #1 Contender Yan Xiaonan

Early Betting Odds

Zhang: -350

Yan: +275

Having the odds stacked in the champ’s favor makes sense for this bout, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be a great fight with a reasonable chance of an upset.

Zhang Weili is on a three-fight-winning streak, including a knockout victory over former champion and Muay Thai specialist Joanna Jedrzejczyk and a submission victory over former champion and grappling specialist Carla Esparza. It seems clear Weili is dangerous in all aspects of the sport, but she has been knocked out previously.  

Yan Xiaonan has lost two of her last four fights, but the most recent bouts were both victories, including a knockout win over Jessica Andrade. Weili’s experience and overwhelming skill set will likely give her the edge. Still, if Xiaonan can create an opportunity, she will have the ability to finish the fight.

Lightweight Bout: #2 Contender Justin Gaethje vs. #2 (Featherweight Contender) Max Holloway

Early Betting Odds

Gaethje: -238

Holloway: +195

This fight takes place in the lightweight division even though Holloway is only ranked as a featherweight. The men have similar height and reach, but Justin is significantly more muscular, so he will likely enjoy a strength and power advantage.

Even so, Max Holloway is always dangerous in the type of slugfest that Gaethje loves to put on, so it makes sense that this match-up was chosen to award the BMF belt. BMF stands for “Baddest Motherf*cker,” and it’s not an official title, but it does come with a belt and bragging rights.

The BMF belt has been awarded twice before, originally to Jorge Masvidal when he beat Nate Diaz in 2019. More recently, it was awarded to Justin Gaethje when he beat Dustin Poirier in 2023. While there are no specific rules surrounding the BMF belt, it does make sense for Gaethje to defend it against a warrior from another weight class based on its history.

Lightweight Bout: #1 Contender Charles Oliveira vs. #4 Contender Arman Tsarukyan

Early Betting Odds

Oliveira: +170 

Tsarukyan: -205

These odds are the most surprising on paper due to Oliveira’s long history of dominance and former champ status in the lightweight division. However, there are several reasons why the Brazilian being an underdog may make sense.

Arman’s fighting style is similar to Islam Makhachev, who represents Oliveira’s only recent defeat. Also, Oliveira recently received a nasty cut over his eye in training. The cut will not have time to fully heal before UFC 300, so a single punch could open it up and potentially end the fight if blood impedes Oliveiras vision.

Even so, its surprising to see a #1 ranked fighter as dominant as Oliveira listed as an underdog. If the fight doesnt end due to a cut/doctor stoppage, it may be as exciting as the BMF match-up or either of the championship bouts.

Middleweight Bout: Bo Nickal vs Cody Brundage

Early Betting Odds

Nickal: -1350

Brundage: +800

Bo Nickal is one of the most popular up-and-coming fighters in the UFC. Although hes only had five professional fights (all wins), hes known for his exciting style and success as an amateur wrestler. Despite his strong base in grappling, he scored knockouts in two of his victories.

Cody Brundage has a middling record of 10-5. His latest fight yielded a knockout win in December 2023, but he has lost three of his last five bouts. Even so, he has 3x more pro-MMA experience than Nickal, which may come in handy if he can avoid Nickals powerful punches and takedowns.

Nickal has won all of his fights in the first round, which is extremely impressive. However, it also means hes yet to face a fighter who can drag him to the later rounds. Based on the extreme betting odds, its somewhat surprising that the UFC didnt give Nickal a higher-ranked opponent, but that doesnt mean Brundage cant score an upset victory.

Final Thoughts on UFC 300

In addition to the electric main card, UFC 300’s prelims include many exciting match-ups. The undercard is headlined by #2 ranked light heavyweight Jiří Procházka facing off against #5 ranked Aleksandar Rakić. The fact that a former title challenger and fast-paced fighter like Procházka isn’t on the main card demonstrates how stacked this event is.

The undercard also features high-level bouts with #8 ranked featherweight Calvin Kattar fighting #2 ranked former champion Aljamain Sterling and #5 ranked former womens bantamweight champ Holly Holm battling up-and-comer Kayla Harrison.

From the prelims all the way to the main event, UFC 300 promises to be yet another legendary event in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s history.

Comments (1)

April 14, 2024 at 7:03 pm

Went to the local pub to watch this. Great fights. Max’s KO in the last 10 seconds blew everyone’s mind. The champ Alex is really something special. I was surrounded by some stranger Hawaiians and they had an utter blast.

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