UFC 301

UFC 301: Main Card Predictions

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The dust has cleared around the iconic UFC 300, and life in MMA must go on. UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is next on the agenda… While the card may not stack up to 300, it still features a plethora of Brazilian talent. Starting from the first fight of the night with Alessandro Costa, all the way down to the main event with Alexandre Pantoja.

Take a look at our usual main card predictions as we approach UFC 301:

Alexandre Pantoja (C) vs. Steve Erceg (10)

Marcos: When I look at Pantoja, his key to victory will be what it usually is: Secure the takedown and control the fight. Erceg will look to use his dangerous boxing and range to put Pantoja in uncomfortable situations. Potentially a fun matchup, we just have yet to see how the #10-ranked Steve Erceg would do at the very top of the weight class. For that reason, I am choosing Alexandre Pantoja. 

Official Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja via Unanimous Decision 

Lee: Steve Erceg is a well-rounded righter. However, many seem to believe he is getting a title shot sooner than expected. The champion on the other hand, will be making his second title defense. Will the lights be too bright for Erceg? I think so…

Official Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja via 3rd-Round Submission

Jonathan Martinez (10) vs. Jose Aldo

Marcos & Lee: Not only are Aldo and Martinez just about the same size, but they share a similar fighting style. Both men will look to keep this fight standing while incorporating their usual leg kick strategies. Martinez is on a six-fight win streak and in the prime of his career, while the returning legend Aldo is certainly nearing the end of his own. Conventional knowledge tells me to pick Martinez, but something tells me that the Brazilian crowd will carry Aldo to a victory in a close fight.

Official Prediction: Jose Aldo via Split Decision

Anthony Smith (10) vs. Vitor Petrino (15)

Marcos: The classic tale of a top guy on the decline against a rising contender in his prime. Vitor Petrino is a very powerful and athletic fighter, while Anthony Smith seems to have slowed down at this stage of his career. Pretty evenly skilled, but I think Patrino’s youth and takedown ability will stifle Anthony Smith. Smith’s experience and longevity in the game will make him hard to finish. But, I still believe the undefeated Patrino will dominate his way to a decision.

Official Decision: Vitor Petrino via Unanimous Decision 

Lee: Anthony Smith hopes to work his way back to another title shot starting at UFC 301 by taking out Vitor Petrino. It’s been five years since Smith surprised the MMA world with a late-career rise through the light heavyweight division to challenge Jon Jones. Although Smith will be the more experienced fighter, Petino will look to jump onto the top 10 with a win. Petrino is more of a technical fighter and is a takedown specialist. This could be a fight where the young lion forces the old lion out of the pride…

Official Prediction: Vitor Petrino via 3rd Round KO/TKO

Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria

Marcos: Ihor Potieria seems to be struggling with top-level competition since entering the UFC, while Michel Pereira has hit his stride with seven straight wins. No matter where this fight ends up, I would favor Pereira, especially if it stays standing. Now coming into his own at middleweight, I see no other outcome than an early finish for Michel. It seems like a case of the wrong place at the wrong time for Ihor.

Official Prediction: Michel Pereira via 1st-Round KO/TKO

Lee: Pereira returns to the octagon in less than two months. Ihor Potieria was originally slated to face Shara Magomedov on June 22. However, he replaced Makhmud Muradov who was forced to withdraw. Pereira is 2-0 at middleweight with quick finishes over Andre Petroski and Oleksiejczuk. Potiera is 3-3 since joining the UFC. Can Potiera hold up to Pereira’s pressure? I don’t know…

Official Prediction: Michel Pereira via 2nd-Round KO/TKO

Paul Craig (13) vs. Caio Borralho (14)

Marcos & Lee: A very interesting fight between two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts here. Paul Craig finally showed some vincibility in his grappling after being submitted by Brendan Allen in the last fight. Regardless, I still believe Craig is far superior to Borralho in the BJJ department. Outside of that, Caio Borrahlo brings a more diverse skillset that includes his elite-level Judo, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Striking. It makes me think that Borrahlo will get it done against the one trick pony. But don’t count Craig out…

Official Prediction: Caio Borralho via Unanimous Decision

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