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UFC 300 Takeaways: A Fight Night for the Ages



Credit: UFC

When we look back at the history of the UFC, UFC 300 will go down as a top-five UFC event of all time. In one of the most stacked cards that we have ever seen, every single fight delivered. Alex Pereira and Zhang Weili both defended their belts in dominant fashion. But if UFC 300 is going to be remembered for anything, it is the war between legendary UFC fighters Max Holloway and Justin Gaethje for the BMF belt. The ending of that fight, a true war between two of the toughest fighters on the UFC roster, will go down in UFC lore not just as the fight of the year but perhaps the greatest finish in UFC history. After a night full of violence, here are the major takeaways from UFC 300:

Alex “Poatan” Pereira Eyes Heavyweight Division

Alex Pereira left no doubt who the real light heavyweight champion is. After a battle with former light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, Pereira knocked out Hill in the first round after Hill landed a kick below the belt. Referee Herb Dean stepped in to send fighters to their corners when Pereira waved him off, and threw a punch that knocked Hill to the floor, stunned him, and finished him off with power punches as Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Pereira, a two-division champion at both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, is now looking to make UFC history by becoming the first-ever three-division champion. “I want to keep defending this belt. I talked a lot about fighting in Brazil. I won this fight. I’m not hurt. Nothing happened. I know there needs to be a lot of promotion behind a fight, but I want to fight at heavyweight,” Pereira said after his post-fight interview.

Max Holloway’s KO Was Iconic

When we look at the great knockouts in UFC history, it will be hard to top what we saw last night as Max Holloway knocked out Justin Gaethje for the ‘BMF’ title. Holloway was comfortably ahead on the scorecards, dominating the fight, and decided to trade shots with one of the most dangerous hitters in the lightweight division, pointing at the center of the ring to finish the fight in a wild exchange with Justin Gaethje. Gaethje, who is a warrior in his own right and needed that opportunity to win the fight, obliged, and the last ten seconds looked like a Rocky movie as both fighters fired massive power shots to close the fight and then with a second remaining, Holloway hit Gaethje square in the jaw with a shot that knocked Gaethje cold. Gaethje didn’t move for over a minute as Holloway celebrated and the arena erupted in one of the loudest pops in UFC history. After the fight, Max Holloway received a double bonus, a Performance of The Night and Fight of the Night for a total bonus of $600,000, the largest bonus in UFC history. In his post-fight interview, Holloway called out featherweight champion Ilia Topuria and lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. “Hey guys, there’s this Matador (Elijah Topuria — note), he’s running around; get him to sign a contract, Hawaii or Spain, whatever. Or Makhachev, Islam is famous for title defenses against welterweights, right? I’m here, I’m ready!”

Zhang Weili’s Domination Continues

In the inaugural UFC title match between fighters of Chinese descent, Zhang Weili demonstrated her dominance in the 115-pound division. Zhang came close to finishing the fight in the first two rounds but had to overcome a strong comeback from Yan Xiaonan (17-4), who managed three knockdowns during the bout at UFC 300 held on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Despite the challenges, 34-year-old Zhang used her wrestling skills effectively towards the end to clinch a unanimous decision victory in the co-main event, defending her title for the second time in her second stint as the women’s strawweight champion with all judges scoring the fight 49-45 in her favor. Weili’s only struggle in the 115-pound division has been with Rose Namajunas, who defeated her twice in 2021.

UFC 302 and 303 Set

At the post-fight interviews, Dana White announced that UFC 302 will pit Dustin Poirier, who will get a third shot at the lightweight title held by Islam Makhachev. Makhachev will defend his title for the first time against a lightweight, as his first two title defenses have been against former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. For Poirier, this might be the last time he will ever fight for the lightweight belt, as not many fighters get a third title shot opportunity, with the most recent example being Colby Covington who lost twice to Kamaru Usman and once to Leon Edwards. UFC 302 will also see the return of Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa in a rare non-title five-round main event fight. Costa is 1-3 in his last four fights and many feel that Strickland was robbed in his fight with Dricus Du Plessis. A win against Costa will most likely allow Strickland to be a top two contender to get a chance to rematch Du Plessis, or fight for the title if Du Plessis loses to someone else in the middleweight division.

The biggest news post UFC 300 is that Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler will finally fight on June 29th and headline the card of UFC 303. McGregor has not fought since his loss to Dustin Poirier where he broke his leg at UFC 264. The fight will take place during International Fight Week. McGregor hasn’t fought since June 2021 and by the time UFC 303 rolls around it will be three full years since he has entered a UFC octagon. As for Chandler, by the time UFC 303 comes around he would not have fought for a year and a half, as his last fight was in November 2022, in which he took a loss to Dustin Poirier and has been patiently waiting for Conor McGregor to get healthy. Chandler is hoping that this opportunity nets him generational wealth, as the aging star was not able to win a title in the lightweight division. It will be interesting to see the contrast between Michael Chandler, who has been training and taking care of his body for over a year, to McGregor who has been training on and off, partying, and pursuing movie roles. In any case, McGregor is still the biggest draw in sports and his return should generate massive attention for the UFC.

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