Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Now playing:
On Air
Listen Live

UFC 300 Preview

Fight fans, the time has arrived. We’ve all survived the month of mediocre Fight Nights since UFC 299 and now we’re less than a week out from UFC 300, arguably the most stacked card of all time. The UFC went all out for this milestone, creating a card that features 12 current or former champions and 12 bouts involving ranked fighters. Let’s preview the matchups on UFC 300 and predict what’s to come on Saturday. 

Main Card

Alex “Poatan” Pereira (c) vs Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill (1) - Light Heavyweight Title Fight

  • Pereira: 9-2 (6-1 UFC with 7 finishes)

    • Last fight: TKO win vs Jiří Procházka

  • Hill: 12-1, 1 NC (6-1 UFC with 4 finishes)

    • Last fight: UD win vs Glover Teixeira

Pereira and Hill headline UFC 300 as the only men’s title fight on the card. Announced less than two months ago, the strategic questions surrounding the two fighters have overshadowed a deep storyline. Hill is coming off of a nine month layoff after rupturing his Achilles tendon in July 2023 and his last win was a dominant showing to win the 205 belt against Texeira, Pereira’s mentor. There’s no bad blood between them but Pereira has to be fueled by the opportunity to payback Hill. 

Looking at the actual fight, a standup battle is seemingly in the brewing. “Poatan” has a storied legacy as a kickboxer; he was a two-division champ in Glory before moving over to the UFC and he’s among the most powerful strikers in the organization. His patented left hook and crippling leg kicks could pose problems for Hill, who doesn’t check kicks well and lacks head movement. At the same time, the Brazilian isn’t a great defensive striker himself and has proven to be hittable in previous fights against Israel Adesanya and Procházka. Hill’s stance as a southpaw fighter does make it more difficult for Pereira to throw the calf kick from his usual orthodox posture and Hill has one-punch knockout power himself, utilizing his long jab to set up bigger punches. 

There are concerns surrounding Hill’s conditioning and rhythm after a long absence but he’s been adamant that he will KO Pereira, despite the opportunity to take Pereira down and finish him on the ground. It may not be the star-studded fight that some may have wished for (cough cough Conor McGregor) but this is a close matchup with the potential to be a barnburner. 

Prediction: Pereira by Round 4 TKO

Zhang “Magnum” Weili (c) vs Yan “Fury” Xiaonan (1) - Strawweight Title Fight 

  • Weili: 24-3 (8-2 UFC with 4 finishes)

    • Last fight: UD win vs Amanda Lemos

  • Xiaonan: 18-3, 1 NC (8-2 UFC with 1 finish) 

    • Last fight: TKO win vs Jessica Andrade

The co-main event of the evening features Weili and Xiaonan, the first time in UFC history that two Chinese fighters are vying for a belt. Weili is on top of the strawweight world right now, submitting Carla Esparza in 2022 to regain her title and dominating Amanda Lemos in her first title defense last November. But Xiaonan will be her toughest test, with a kick game similar to Rose Namajunas (who Weili has lost twice to) and a potent striking arsenal. Xiaoan starched Jessica Andrade in her last fight and this counter-striking ability is what makes the 34-year-old so dangerous. 

Both fighters have excellent stand up games but go about their striking in unique manners. Weili is amongst the most powerful strikers in the history of women’s MMA and her constant pressure and feints allow her to set up overhand rights. Weili loves to throw side kicks and use the threat of her strikes to clinch, throwing devastating knees or completing single-leg takedowns. Comparatively, Xiaonan is comfortable moving forward with her own side kick to the body or head but her reach and footwork aid her tremendously in landing while moving backward. Where Weili has the massive advantage is on the ground; Xiaonan showed improved takedown defense in her fight against Mackenzie Dern but Weili’s growth on the ground and stifling top pressure could prove to be too much for Xiaonan. 

If Xiaonan is able to frustrate Weili into chasing her, opportunities for a counter could arise. But in the case “Magnum” is able to cut off the cage and force Xiaonan into unfavorable positions on the ground, it could be a short night in the office for the challenger. 

Prediction: Weili by Round 3 Submission 

Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (2) vs Max “Blessed” Holloway (2 - FW) - BMF Title Fight

  • Gaethje: 25-4 (8-4 UFC with 6 finishes)

    • Last fight: KO win vs Dustin Poirier

  • Holloway: 25-7 (21-7 UFC with 12 finishes)

    • Last fight: KO win vs Chan Sung Jung

Despite the two title fights on this card, the matchup between former interim lightweight champion Gaethje and former featherweight title holder Holloway is what has the fans buzzing the most. Gaethje, aptly nicknamed “The Highlight”, is arguably the most exciting fighter in the UFC since he arrived in 2017, racking up 12 performance bonuses in as many fights. His wars with Michael Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler, Poirier, and Charles Oliveira are among the greatest in lightweight history. Gaethje took the BMF title belt, a non-official belt signifying the “baddest” man, from Poirier by head kick KO at UFC 291 but he’s putting it back on the line against Holloway. The Hawaiian is a fan favorite having been in the UFC for over a decade and being a former title holder. His status as the gatekeeper at 145 pounds has muddled his future possibilities but his return to lightweight could open up a plethora of new doors. 

Both of these fighters are best known for their hands. Gaethje’s power stands out every time he enters the Octagon; he has a complete skill set from a striking perspective with a stinging jab, sharp hooks and an overhand right from hell. Gaethje combines his ferocious boxing with devastating lower leg kicks and a nasty uppercut from close range. Since his loss to Oliveira, Gaethje and his team have tried to get away from his usual brawling, working on “controlled chaos” instead of swinging wildly. “Blessed” similarly relies heavily on his stand-up, as the self-proclaimed best boxer in the UFC. His pressure, accuracy and timing have little comparison in the organization and his kicks are underrated. Holloway’s biggest asset is his iron chin; he’s never been knocked down in his career, allowing him the luxury of entering exchanges in the pocket without the fear of going down. Where Holloway lacks behind his opponent is in the strength department. Holloway looked noticeably weaker during his short-notice fight against Poirier in 2019, his only previous endeavor at 155. But the extra time to properly add weight will serve him well. 

These compelling storylines are the reason this fight is for the people. The man with a chin of granite going up against the hardest hitter at 155. The winner is almost guaranteed a shot at lightweight gold against Islam Makhachev. Gaethje’s path to victory is simple: hit Holloway harder than he hits him. Holloway’s is a little more difficult but his goal should be to overwhelm the American with constant flurries. Either way, everyone’s waiting for an instant classic.

Prediction: Gaethje by UD

Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira (1) vs Arman Tsarukyan (4) - Lightweight Fight

  • Oliveira: 34-9 (22-9-1 with 20 finishes)

    • Last fight: TKO win vs Beneil Dariush

  • Arman Tsarukyan: 21-3 (8-2 UFC with 4 finishes)

    • Last fight: KO win vs Beneil Dariush

The first of the marquee lightweight matchups takes place between Oliveira and Tsarukyan. “Do Bronx”, the former 155 champion, is the most prolific finisher in UFC history and a victory would earn him a rematch with Islam Makhachev for the title. Just like Gaethje, Oliveira’s style has led to some of the most entertaining bouts in recent memory and his resurgence in the UFC (12-1 in his last 13 fights) after an inconsistent beginning have turned him into one of the most beloved fighters on the roster. Tsarukyan has leaped into the top-5 of the division following his first-round KO win over Dariush and he hopes to secure a title shot as well against Makhachev, who he lost to in his first-ever UFC fight. 

The lightweight division has long been considered the best in the UFC and these two fighters definitely are a part of it. Any conversation about Oliveira has to begin with his jiu-jitsu. The Brazilian has the most dangerous guard in the entire UFC and can throw up a variety of submissions from any position. One of the few fighters comfortable on his back, Oliveira loves to bait his opponents into his guard to catch them with triangles, armbars or guillotines. “Do Bronx” pairs his terrific ground game with crisp striking. His 74 inch reach powers long hooks and his kicking and clinch game have developed over the years. Tsarukyan also has an extremely well-rounded skillset. He comes from a wrestling background and his fights against Makhachev and Mateuzs Gamrot are terrific examples of his wrestling prowess. But he’s finished his last two opponents by TKO/KO and the 27-year old’s stand-up is rapidly evolving. Despite the danger Oliveira presents on the ground, Tsarukyan has maintained that he will follow him there if necessary. Oliveira’s biggest weakness is his chin; he’s been dropped or wobbled in nearly every fight against top competition and if Tsarukyan can do so, he should be in a good position to win. 

A true number one contender fight, the outcome will have major ramifications on the future of this division. Tsarukyan has shown tremendous potential at such a young age but his lack of big-fight experience could come back to haunt him. Oliveira is laser focused on getting his belt back and he’s going out there to prove himself once again because like he says, the champ has a name. 

Prediction: Oliveira by Round 3 Submission

Bo Nickal vs Cody Brundage - Middleweight Fight

  • Nickal: 5-0 (4-0 UFC with 4 finishes)

    • Last fight: TKO win vs Valentine Woodburn 

  • Brundage: 10-5 (4-5 UFC with 4 finishes)

    • Last fight: KO win vs Zachary Reese

Nickal and Brundage open up the main event, much to the chagrin of some UFC fans that preferred bigger names like Jiří Procházka or Aljamain Sterling. But the UFC sees superstar potential with Nickal and for good reason. Nickal is undefeated in his short MMA career and was a 3-time NCAA Division I national champion wrestler at Penn State. On the other side of the cage is Brundage, who’s UFC career has been up-and-down. Nickal comes into this matchup as a mammoth -2800 favorite but Brundage has a major chance at redemption if he can somehow defeat Nickal. 

The bulk of Nickal’s hype in the UFC has to do with his championship level wrestling. He was dominant as a Nittany Lion and he’s carried that level over to MMA. None of his fights have crossed the three-minute mark of the first round and Nickal showed impressive power against Woodburn in his last fights (albeit short notice against an unranked opponent). Despite being a college wrestler himself, Brundage would do well to avoid the ground all together and focus on outstriking Nickal. Brundage is a solid pressure fighter and his hands are good enough to get a knockdown if the fight goes to the later rounds. However, this only happens if he’s able to stave off the inevitable takedown attempts that will come his way. 

When the UFC thinks they have a star, they do everything to market him or her and with Nickal, it’s been no different. He’s got the opening fight on the biggest card in recent memory and is facing off against a journeyman opponent with few paths to victory. Brundage could theoretically pull off the upset but in all likelihood, Nickal’s wrestling wins out early. 

Prediction: Round 1 TKO


Jiří Procházka (2) vs Aleksandar Rakic (5) - Light Heavyweight Fight

Procházka is coming off a title loss to Alex Pereira but is hungry to regain that belt. Procházka’s reputation as a wild fighter has made him an instant fan favorite but his peculiarity is simultaneously his greatest strength and weakness. His unorthodox footwork, constant stance switches and aggressive kicking game set up his powerful right hands or spinning elbows that have led to a 97% finishing rate. However, Jiří pairs this with unusually low hands, limited head movement and an inability to check kicks, one of the main reasons he lost to Pereira. Rakic, while not as flashy or varied, is much more disciplined in his kickboxing. He’s not the biggest puncher but has solid kicks and a budding ground game. His biggest obstacle in this match is his cardio and timing: it’s his first fight in nearly two years after he tore his right ACL against Jan Błachowicz. For Rakic, a win could propel him into title contention and a chance at the belt that he believes he would have got before the injury. But returning against Procházka is one of the most difficult challenges at 205 and why yet another matchup on this card is must-see television. 

Prediction: Procházka by KO

Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling (2 - BW) vs Calvin Kattar (8) - Featherweight Fight

Sterling, the former bantamweight champ, makes his featherweight debut against Kattar, best known for getting demolished over five rounds by Max Holloway. In a more classic wrestler vs striker matchup, this fight could play out similar to Sterling’s loss against Sean O’Malley last August. Kattar has a major height and reach advantage against Sterling but if “Funk Master” can grab a hold of him, his wrestling and top control come into play. Kattar hasn’t faced many prominent wrestlers besides Zabit Magomedsharipov and Sterling is amongst the best in that department but distance management has long been an issue that Sterling has faced, one that could rear its ugly head today. 

Prediction: Kattar by UD

Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (5) vs Kayla Harrison - Women’s Bantamweight Fight

Olympic judo gold medalist Harrison makes her long-awaited UFC debut. After mostly dominating in the PFL, the judo specialist takes on Holm, the former 135-pound champion. Harrison was able to cut down to 135 pounds despite fighting 20 pounds heavier in the PFL but her cardio and power may be depleted due to the weight cut. Harrison has impressive judo and strong hands but doesn’t have great takedowns. Holm is an experienced kickboxer and Harrison’s lack of experience in MMA could lead her to walk in range of Holm’s striking. Holm has aged past her prime but her striking is still sharp enough to hang with the top of the division. Harrison believes her judo will be the difference but it won’t matter if she can’t grab a hold of her opponent. 

Prediction: Holm by TKO

Diego Lopes vs “Super” Sodiq Yusuff (13) - Featherweight Fight

One of the most underrated fights on this card, this could be a Fight of the Night candidate. Lopes has finished his last two opponents in under two minutes and has 21 submissions across his 23 wins. Yusuff is coming off a FOTN himself: a UD loss to Edson Barboza. Yusuff is an underrated grappler with strong counterstriking but Lopes’ pressure and submission game could give him favorable conditions. 

Prediction: Lopes by Sub

 Early Prelims

Jalin Turner (10) vs Renato Moicano (13) - Lightweight Fight

Two lower ranked lightweights trying to move up in the division, this fight could set either guy up with a big name. Turner’s last fight was a thrilling three-round fight against Dan Hooker and despite the loss, Turner showed how his length and speed could pose problems. But his ground game is lacking and that could be a problem against Moicano, who submitted Brad Riddell in 2022 and opened up 2024 with a UD win against Drew Dober. 

Prediction: Turner by UD

Jessica Andrade (4) vs Marina Rodriguez (6) - Women’s Strawweight Fight

Andrade, a former champ at 115 pounds, had been on a downward spiral lately before her TKO victory over Mackenzie Dern late in 2023. Rodrigues has some big names on her resume, including title contender Yan Xiaonan and Michelle Waterson-Gomez. Her patient striking is a stark contrast to Andrade’s reckless movement forwards, one which could get the Brazilian in trouble. Neither rely on their ground games heavily but there will be opportunities for Rodriguez to get Andrade down if she wants. 

Prediction: Rodriguez by SD

Jim Miller vs Bobby Green - Lightweight Fight

Two veterans go at it in a matchup of tact and skill. Miller, the only man to compete on UFC 100, 200 and 300, has the most victories in UFC history and a well-rounded skillset. His opponent relies much more on his striking but it will be interesting to see how well Green responds to a bad KO loss against Jalin Turner. Miller’s got nasty grappling and heavy hands but Green’s power should come through against the grizzled veteran. 

Prediction: Green by UD

Deiveson Figueiredo (8) vs Cody Garbrandt - Bantamweight

The first time in UFC history that two former champs open up a card, this matchup is set up for fireworks. Garbrandt has an extremely fun style with powerful striking and a fearless approach but poor striking defense has led to a chin that has been lit up time and time again. Figueiredo, the former flyweight champ, impressed in his bantamweight debut against Rob Font and hopes to see that power transfer over to this bout. The Brazilian also has a terrific submission game (poor Joseph Benavidez) but Garbrandt’s countering ability and power could prove to be a problem if Figueiredo isn’t able to get the fight to the ground. 

Prediction: Garbrandt by TKO

Similar Posts