UFC

UFC 300: Pereira vs. Hill — Preview and Predictions

Analysis and picks for some of the biggest fights during this weekend's landmark UFC event.

April 8, 2024

It’s been roughly five weeks since UFC 299, but the UFC is back in action with a pair of titles up for grabs on April 13 with UFC 300.

On the men’s side, we have Alex Pereira and Jamahal Hill squaring off in the light heavyweight division. For the women, we have Weili Zhang and Yan Xiaonan facing off for the strawweight division belt. There are also plenty of intriguing matchups further down the main card for what should be an action-packed Saturday night in Las Vegas.

As always, Tipico Sportsbook has us covered with odds that will only make the Saturday night bouts that much more exciting.

Alex Pereira (-130) vs. Jamahal Hill (+110)

Fans were underwhelmed by the UFC 300 main event when it was announced, with most of the venom aimed at Hill. He responded to that directly on his YouTube channel, calling out the haters and certainly implying that he’d have a chip on his shoulder for this matchup. Whether that will be enough to take home the belt is a different question.

Hill has a claim to being the best fighter in the division after defeating Glover Teixeira in a light heavyweight title bout at UFC 283 in January 2023. However, he hasn’t fought since then due to a ruptured Achilles. That not only opened the door for his rivals in the class, but also made him the underdog in this matchup despite having won his last four fights in UFC.

Pereira last stood in the octagon at UFC 295, when he defeated Jiri Prochazka late in the second round via TKO. The method of victory didn’t come as a particular surprise, as  Pereria has nine victories via either KO or TKO in his professional career with his other two coming via decision. Hill similarly relies on his striking game for his victories, so expect this one to play out with both men on their feet.

This one could go either way, but overall, Hill has an overwhelming amount of success during his career. I like him to return with a vengeance and claim the title as the best light heavyweight fighter once and for all.

The Pick: Hill via KO

Weili Zhang (-450) vs. Yan Xiaonan (+350)

Zhang is a legend in the game and the current title holder in the strawweight women’s weight class. She’s held the belt since 2022 and defended it successfully once. This is her second stint as the champ, as she also held the title from 2019-2020, defending her belt once.

On top of her success on paper, Zhang also boasts a wide range of skills that give her multiple paths to victory. Of her 24 professional wins, 11 have come via KO or TKO, eight via submission, and five via decision. It appeared that Zhang’s time had passed her by in 2021 when she lost to Rose Namajunas twice, but she’s since reeled off three straight wins – one via decision, one via KO and one via submission.

Xiaonan isn’t exactly an up and comer, as she’s 34 (the same age as Zhang) and has 21 professional fights under her belt. She has a narrow path to victory however, due to her lack of ground game. She has only one career victory via submission, which came before she was in UFC in 2016. Even if Xiaonan can stick with Zhang on her feet, the second this goes to the mat, she’ll be at a disadvantage.

The Pick: Zhang via KO

Justin Gaethje (-170) vs. Max Holloway (+145)

Holloway has made it clear that he wanted another chance at Alexander Volkanvoski and now Ilia Topuria for the featherweight title. He’s tried to put a positive spin on this matchup against Gaethje, and his motivation should be high if he truly believes he has another chance to regain a title – weather in the featherweight or lightweight divisoin. For now, he’ll be hoping to secure the BMF title and make his case for an even more prominent matchup in the coming months.

Gaethje himself has a lot on the line. Not only does he currently possess the BMF title, he also wants a shot at the lightweight title against Islam Makachev. This is where things get particularly interesting on this card, as Charles Oliveira and Arman Tsarukyan will square off in the same division – also with an eye on the title. With a win, Gaethje should jump to the front of the line, but a loss would drop him down into the pack with the winner of Oliveria and Tsarukyan likely taking his spot.

Holloway has all but conceded he has less power than Gaethje heading into this bout, so in order to earn the win, he’ll have to find an alternate path. The only seemingly viable path is to try to outlast Gaethje and win via decision. The problem with that strategy is that Gaethje has gone to a decision four times in his career and has never lost.

The Pick: Gaethje via decision

Charles Oliveira (+180) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (-230)

As was noted, the winner of this fight will be heavily invested in the fight between Gaethje and Holloway — and will be among Holloway’s biggest fans. They’ll have to take care of their own business first, however. Oliveria is a stalwart, as he’s been a part of the promotion since 2010. At the age of 34, he’s still going strong as he’s won 12 of his last 13 fights – including one against Gaethe in 2022. Unlike many of the other fighters we’ve highlighted so far for this event, his bread-and-butter is the ground game. Of his 34 career wins, 21 have come via submission.

Tsarukyan isn’t exactly a new kid on the block, but he’s seven years younger and sports an 8-2 record in the UFC since 2019. He’s not bad on the mat as a grappler, but there’s no reason for him to try to head straight into the strength of Oliveira. Instead, he’ll have to use his strong takedown defense, stay on his feet, and land significant strikes on Oliveira — in  that area, the latter will be particularly vulnerable.

No disrespect to a legend, but the new generation is here.

The Pick: Oliveira via KO

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.
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