Alex Pereira (@alexpoatanpereira/Instagram page)

UFC 300: Pereira vs. Hill Preview and Predictions

The time has come. This is the big one, the flagship event of 2024 for the UFC. Two official championships and the prestigious “BMF” title are all on the line this weekend at UFC 300.

The main event is a light heavyweight title fight between newly crowned champion Alex Pereira, who claimed the vacant belt by stopping Jiri Prochazka in their showdown, and Jamahal Hill. Hill is a former divisional champion who relinquished the crown after suffering an injury, similar to what Prochazka had done several months prior. Now, Hill is out to prove that the belt is rightfully his and that Pereira is nothing more than a placeholder until the real champion regained his health.

In the co-main event, the women’s strawweight championship will be at stake as Weili Zhang takes on her countrywoman Xiaonan Yan. Zhang reclaimed her title by defeating Carla Esparza and then made her first successful title defense as a champion for the second time by scoring a unanimous decision win over Amanda Lemos. Yan will try to dethrone the champion and extend her winning streak to three fights in a row on Saturday night.


The BMF belt is one of the UFC’s most successful gimmicks, and the venerable title will be at stake during the main card as Justin Gaethje puts the belt on the line against former longtime featherweight kingpin Max Holloway. A win for Gaethje might open the door for him to have a chance at becoming a unique “champ champ,” as he could earn a title shot against Islam Makhachev if he emerges victorious. Holloway moves up in weight to 155 pounds, as he looks to figure out what his future holds, and at what weight he is best suited to make a run for gold.

The UFC 300 early prelims air live on ESPN+, ESPN and UFC Fight Pass starting at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the preliminary card on ESPN+ and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. Combat Press writers Dan Kuhl and Matt Petela preview the action in this week’s edition of Toe-to-Toe.

Alex Pereira attempts to make his first title defense against former champion Jamahal Hill; does the Brazilian marauder defeat the man who gave up his title after being injured?

Kuhl: Jamahal Hill may have given up his title due to injury, but he, too, won the title after it had been given up by Jiří Procházka, so it’s not like he beat the champ to get the belt. Although, Hill did beat a former champ in an aging, and now retired, Glover Teixeira. When he attempts to win the belt back from Alex Pereira, things are not going to be pretty.

Pereira is one of the most dominant and imposing strikers in UFC history. The world champion kickboxer suffered his only UFC loss to longtime foe Israel Adesanya, because he got sloppy with his defense against another world champion kickboxer, who he had already beaten three times, twice by knockout. And that was all at 185 pounds, which is crazy for a guy as big as Pereira. When Procházka attempted to win back the title Hill had vacated, even though he had knocked out 25 of his 33 previous opponents, he didn’t last two rounds with Pereira.

Hill has knocked out seven opponents in 14 bouts, and, even though he has beaten some big names, he is nowhere near the level of striker that Pereira is. Hill is going to be seriously outmatched in skill, and he will also be knocked out before the end of Round 2. It is going to take a special kind of match-up for Pereira to lose the belt, and one against a dominant wrestler, who has the striking skills to hang long enough to get Pereira to the mat. Hill will, unfortunately, not be that guy.

Petela: I have to agree with Dan’s logic on this one. It is going to take a unique stylistic matchup to take the belt away from Alex Pereira, and there aren’t very many men who can implement that gameplan. Nobody can survive five full rounds of striking with the Brazilian powerhouse, and, unfortunately for Jamahal Hill, the striking realm is where he does his best work. It will probably be a first- or second-round knockout for Pereira in this one.

Now, I said nearly the exact same thing before the first fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso. There was no way that Grasso could survive on the feet against “Bullet,” and Grasso is known as a boxer. Then, she went out there and choked Shevchenko nearly to the point of unconsciousness. So maybe I’m disrespecting Jamahal Hill by thinking he doesn’t have the ground game necessary to submit Pereira. Running the risk of being dead wrong again, I’ll stand by my prediction and say that, while there are holes in Pereira’s game, Hill just isn’t the one who has the tools to exploit said holes.

Weili Zhang is in the midst of her second run as UFC strawweight champion; can she retain her title against fellow Chinese fighter Xiaonan Yan?

Petela: With all due respect to Xiaonan Yan, she is going to get absolutely steamrolled by Weili Zhang. Zhang is first-team all-violence, whether that means she’s squeezing her opponent’s neck into oblivion or pummeling her with ferocious punches and kicks. Yan is just not on the same level. I don’t see a path to victory for Yan in this fight. She’s going to have to be defensive minded in all facets of the contest and that will render her offense limited. All it takes is one mistake and she will wind up on the canvas, in my opinion unconscious after eating a thunderous right hand from Weili. The champ retains her title, and this title reign will prove to be longer and more impressive than her first.

Kuhl: There is not much to add to my colleague’s assessment here. While I could drone on about statistics and styles, and everything else, we all know what is going to happen in this one. Zhang may have had a hiccup during the first title run, but that even happened to Georges St-Pierre, and he still managed to make an even greater title run the second time around. Zhang is in a class of her own, and she is dynamite everywhere the fight goes. She’s tough, hits like a truck, and can grapple with the best of them. Yan always has a puncher’s chance, but that’s all it is. Zhang had her issues with a Rose Namajunas who was in her prime, but Zhange has beaten much tougher competition than Yan, and she will not make it to the championship rounds. This one ends by TKO before the end of Round 3.

Who’s the biggest winner at UFC 300?

Kuhl: Kayla Harrison. After finally parting ways with the PFL, she kicks off her UFC career against Holly Holm. Holm will not be able to handle the relentless pressure from Harrison, and this will be the two-time PFL champ’s first step towards a UFC title.

Petela: Jim Miller. He is going to get a win at UFC 300 to match his victories at UFC 100 and UFC 200. He may never win a title or even be ranked again but that’s a cool footnote in UFC history and something worth talking about in the media for quite some time.

Who’s the biggest loser at UFC 300?

Petela: Max Holloway. He holds a unique distinction as a fighter who not only has never been knocked out, but he’s never even been knocked down. That changes this weekend. Justin Gaethje is the naturally bigger man and he hits like a middleweight. As talented as Holloway is, he is a volume striker at his core as he proved in his historic beating of Calvin Kattar. Gaethje can end the fight with one punch, or kick, and he will do just that. Justin Gaethje retains his BMF title and becomes the first man to knock out Max Holloway.

Kuhl: Renato Moicano. He is already sitting at No, 13 in the lightweight rankings, and he is facing Jailin Turner, who has a good chance of stopping him. He is going to suffer a tough loss after back-to-back wins, and this could permanently relegate him to gatekeeper status for the remainder of his career.

What one fighter’s UFC career is on the ropes at this event?

Kuhl: After going 3-1-1 in his last eight fights, and losing a first-round knockout to Jailin Turner in his last outing, Bobby Green better get a win over Jim Miller, or his UFC career may soon come to a close. He turns 38 in five months, and he looked really flat in his last fight. If he doesn’t look a lot better on Saturday, the UFC may part ways.

Petela: Holly Holm. How does she keep getting big fights? She originally had a loss in her last fight but it was overturned due to a failed drug test by Mayra Bueno Silva. She hasn’t won back-to-back fights since 2020 and is a far cry from the woman who knocked out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. With a loss against Kayla Harrison, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her leave the arena with a pink slip.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

Petela: Calvin Kattar vs. Aljamain Sterling. I once said that Kattar would eventually be UFC champion and while that prediction is probably going to end up being wrong, he’s still a hell of an entertaining fighter. He welcomes former bantamweight champion Sterling up to featherweight and their styles will clash perfectly. It will be interesting to see if Sterling can impose his wrestling at 145 lbs. or if the precision striking of Kattar is too much to handle. Don’t step away from this clash.

Kuhl: Cody Garbrandt and Deiveson Figueiredo are going to put on a banger, and I think it is absolutely insane that this is the first fight of the entire event. How do two former champions, who both are coming off big wins, end up as the amuse bouche on a card that has Jessica Andrade and Marina Rodriguez after them in a fight that is merely to retain any sort of relevance? Regardless, Figgy is a huge betting favorite, and I expect Garbrandt to score another one of his signature knockouts in a fight that is surely not to disappoint.

Who takes home the “Performance of the Night” honors?

Kuhl: Justin Gaethje. His fight with Max Holloway is like a dream match-up for fans and Gaethje alike. Holloway loves to box, and that is right in Gaethje’s wheelhouse. With Gaethje’s takedown defense and knockout power, which is one area where Holoway is lacking, the Trevor Wittman protege will deliver a huge knockout, earn a bonus, and he will be the BMF champ for quite some time.

Petela: Arman Tsarukyan. It seems like every time he fights it is the biggest fight of his career and this weekend is no different as he goes up against former lightweight champion and prolific finisher Charles Oliveira. Tsarukyan is coming into his prime and he is quickly making his way towards a shot at the bell and a rematch of his UFC debut against Islam Makhachev. He makes a huge leap forward by not only defeating Oliveira but by starching him in similar fashion to how he did Beneil Dariush. His pockets will be a little bit heavier as he marches towards title town with a statement victory.

Pair this card with…

Petela: Bloody Marys. This fight card is going to be just that, bloody. It might typically be a morning beverage but it’s the perfect embodiment of UFC 300. Bloody and spicy. Make a batch for you and your crew and enjoy the show!

Kuhl: Pillows. This event will pair well with lots and lots of pillows – not for the fans, but for the plethora of fighters that are going to sleep. In addition to the first fight and the three last fights, this one should have knockouts peppered up and down the fight card.

Fight Petela’s Pick Kuhl’s Pick
Main Card (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
LHW Championship: Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill Pereira Pereira
Women’s StrawW Championship: Weili Zhang vs. Xiaonan Yan Zhang Zhang
LW: Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway Gaethje Gaethje
LW: Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan Oliveira Tsarukyan
MW: Bo Nickal vs. Cody Brundage Nickal Nickal
Preliminary Card (ESPN+/ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
LHW: Jiri Prochazka vs. Aleksandar Rakic Prochazka Prochazka
FW: Calvin Kattar vs. Aljamain Sterling Sterling Kattar
Women’s BW: Holly Holm vs. Kayla Harrison Harrison Harrison
FW: Sodiq Yusuff vs. Diego Lopes Lopes Yusuff
Early Prelims (ESPN+/ESPN/UFC Fight Pass, 6 p.m. ET)
LW: Jalin Turner vs. Renato Moicano Turner Moicano
Women’s StrawW: Jessica Andrade vs. Marina Rodriguez Andrade Rodriguez
LW: Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller Miller Miller
BW: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Cody Garbrandt Garbrandt Figueiredo