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UFC 300

Billy Vue

Apr 15, 2024

On April 13th, The Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC, held its 300th pay-per-view event. To non-MMA/UFC fans, this event was pretty much the super bowl, world series, or NBA championship of the MMA world. The event featured 12 current or former champions of the sport, which is historically the most amount of champions to compete on 1 card.  

The card was so stacked that the earliest fight, the early prelim opener, featured 2 former champions, Cody Garbrandt (former Bantamweight Champion), and Deiveson Figueiredo (former Flyweight Champion).  

The early prelims got off to a hot start with Deiveson Figueiredo submitting Cody Garbrandt via rear naked choke in the second round. Following that performance, the two UFC veterans, Bobby Green and Jim Miller, put on a show, where Green battered Miller through three rounds to win a decision. Next was Former Champion Jessica Andrade vs Marina Rodriguez. Andrade weathered the storm and fought to win a decision. To finish off the early prelims, Renato Moicano took on Jalin Turner. Turner had a huge opportunity to finish off Moicano after knocking him down, but chose not to follow up, thinking that he had a walk-off knock out. That was the start of his demise, as Moicano rallied in the second round to win via a ground and pound TKO.  

To start off the main prelims, Diego Lopez came out guns blazing and knocked out ranked UFC featherweight, Sadiq Yusuff, in round 1. This is huge for Lopez’s career, as he adds a highlight to his short career and is now boosted into the top 15 rankings. The second fight on the prelims featured long awaited UFC debutant, Kayla Harrison. Harrison is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo and had fought in other MMA promotions prior to this event. Harrison faced off against former champion, Holly Holm, who is known for being the first one to knock out and beat Ronda Rousey. Despite this however, Harrison proved to be too much, and won via submission in round 2. The next fight featured former bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, against ranked UFC featherweight, Calvin Kattar. Sterling dominated in his featherweight debut, winning a decision and propelling himself up in the featherweight rankings. The final fight to end the prelims featured former light heavyweight champion, Jiri Prochazka against Alexsandar Rakic. The former champion showed everyone that he is still one of the top dogs in the division and rallied to knock out Rakic in round 2, earning the performance of the night bonus ($300k). 

Finally, the main card arrived. Bo Nickal and Cody Brundage opened the main card, in a fight where we saw Bo Nickal very uncomfortable for the first time in his career. Nickal was a prestigious wrestler, and many anticipate that he will be UFC champion one day. Cody Brundage is somewhat of a journeyman, and was a heavy, heavy underdog going into the fight. Brundage opened up very loose, trying to rattle Nickal by throwing flying knees, spinning attacks, and other stuff that Nickal hasn’t seen. In the middle of the first round, they both engaged in landing good punches, which resulted in both men being rocked. This prompted Nickal to go back to his game plan. Nickal spent the rest of round 1 wrestling and holding dominant positions against Brundage and eventually submitted him in round 2. After the fight, Nickal gave himself a thumbs down and expressed his disappointment, stating, “I’m embarrassed with my performance”. Many expected him to destroy Brundage, but that was not the case. 

The second fight featured fan favorite, Charles Oliveira, against rising star, Arman Tsarukyan. Round 1 came out with Oliveira putting Tsarukyan in a deep, deep guillotine choke that would’ve put many people out, but Tsarukyan rallied and escaped, dominating the rest of the round. In round 2, it was a similar story. Tsarukyan came out and dominated on the ground, staying in top position for most of the round. But Oliveira was not discouraged. Late in the round, Oliveira put Tsarukyan in yet another choke, this time a triangle choke, to which Tsarukyan was saved by the bell. Round 3 opened with both men throwing and landing big shots on the feet. Tsarukyan took the fight to the ground once again, but this time had less success, struggling to land any ground and pound. In the final minute, Oliveira was able to reverse position and put Tsarukyan in a front headlock/ D’arce choke. The choke was deep, but Tsarukyan refused to tap and made it to the final bell. Although Tsarukyan dominated round 2 and was more active in round 3, Oliveira had 3 deep submissions that were very close to ending the fight, one in each round. This would prompt the judges to have a tough time and eventually rule a split decision in favor of Tsarukyan. 

The fight of the night followed, where Justin Gaethje faced off against Max Holloway for the BMF (baddest mother effer) belt. Gaethje, the BMF champion, decided to fight, even though he was in line for the Lightweight title fight, and Holloway moved up 1 weight class in order to fight Gaethje. As a fan of both, the fight was hard to watch, I wanted both guys to win. Holloway was just on point that night, throwing a spinning back kick to break the nose of Gaethje in round 1. Round 2 was no different, with Holloway outclassing Gaethje. Controversy struck when Holloway poked out both eyes of Gaethje, despite heavy warning. But Gaethje is the BMF for a reason. Gaethje would fight regardless of anything and continued without issue. In round 4, Gaethje knocked down Holloway for the first time in Holloway’s career (he was not officially credited with a knockdown) and had his best round of the night. Holloway rallied again though, and an instant classic moment came in round 5. The last 15 seconds were chaos, as Gaethje threw a rolling thunder and Holloway pointed to the center of the cage, offering to bang it out for the last 10 seconds. A battered and broken Gaethje accepted, and they swung it out. Holloway eventually caught Gaethje straight on the chin and knocked him out cold with 1 second left. Holloway won the BMF title and now has great opportunities moving forward. UFC president Dana White was left in shock and awe, stating, “One second left and then a knockout like that. That’s like movie sh*t”. Holloway would go on to win both the performance of the night and fight of the night bonuses ($600k). 

The most interesting fight of the night followed this, with the champion, Zhang Weili, facing off against the challenger, Yan Xiaonan. Long story short, Weili dominated the fight to easily win a decision, but a lot of controversy surrounded the fight. To end round 1, Weili had Xiaonan in a deep rear naked choke. As the bell rang, Weili released and it was very, very evident that Xiaonan was unconscious. Her body lay limp, and her eyes rolled back, giving every indication that she was out. Somehow, like this was straight out of a movie, Xiaonan was able to stumble up to her corner. Referee Jason Herzog let her continue in one of the most unique moments in UFC history. Even Xiaonan’s corner knew that she went fully out. The camera zoomed in on the corner, and Xiaonan’s coaches can literally be heard saying, “Pour water on her head to wake her up”, and “Do you want me to wake her up?”. Round 2 was no different. Weili had a back mount position on Xiaonan and landed 30+ strikes to the head, but Referee Jason Herzog let it go, once again. Eventually, Weili would win by 4 rounds on every judge's scorecard to retain the title. 

Finally, the main event came. Champion Alex Pereira faced off against former champion Jamahal Hill. Leading up to the fight, Jamahal Hill talked a lot of trash, saying that he would knock out Pereira. Pereira was a 2-division kick boxing champion and is often credited as being the best striker in the UFC. Jamahal Hill never lost the belt, but instead, vacated it since he was injured and didn’t want to hold up the division. This prompted Pereira to move up to his weight class and claim the title. This fight was highly anticipated, as the lead up was entertaining and the two had a very deep history. The fight started off very slow, with both men gauging distance and finding their reach. Then, without warning, came the knockout. Hill took a step and launched a kick straight to the cup of Pereira. Referee Herb Deen tried to pause the action but was halted by Pereira. Pereira waved the ref off and then launched a punch (somewhat of a mix between an uppercut and left hook) straight to the cheekbone of Hill. Like many people, Hill went down and that was the end of the fight. Pereira would prove to be too much, and this would go down as his easiest fight in the UFC, finishing the fight in the first round, without sustaining any damage.  

UFC 300 was a historical event and one of the better fight cards in recent memory. Not only was it an amazing night, but Dana White also announced many other exciting fights to come. Dana wasted no time in the press conference, announcing, “June 29th... Conor vs Chandler. 5 rounds, 170 pounds”. Not only the return of McGregor, but Dana also announced Lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, vs Dustin Poirier as the main event for UFC 302 and the former middleweight champion, Sean Strickland, vs Paulo Costa as the co-main event for that card. 

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