UFC 300 predictions, best bets, odds: Max Holloway, Alex Pereira among top picks to consider on the main card



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UFC 300 goes down this Saturday from Las Vegas and the lineup is stacked with intriguing fights. The UFC has attempted to put together a card where every bout from the opening prelim to the main event features familiar names and meaningful stakes.

The main event sees the return of UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira as he looks to make his first defense of the crown against former titleholder Jamahal Hill. Pereira earned the the title in November with a knockout of Jiri Prochazka. Hill was forced to vacate the title last year after suffering a torn Achilles while playing basketball.

Plus, women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili defend her belt against her countrywoman Yan Xiaonan in the co-main event. Weili has won three straight while reclaiming her title along the way. Xianoan, meanwhile, has picked up back-to-back wins, including a knockout of former champion Jessica Andrade.

Even the prelims are loaded up. The featured prelim could secure a title challenger for the main event when light heavyweights Jiri Prochazka and Aleksandr Rakic collide. Former bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is set to make his featherweight debut when he takes on Calvin Kattar. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison is set for her promotional debut when she takes on former bantamweight champ Holly Holm. And the first bout on the card sees a pair of former champs meet when Deiveson Figueiredo battles Cody Garbrandt at bantamweight.

After going 2-3 with our best bets for UFC 299, we are sitting with a record of 6-9 on the year. That’s not a winning record, but there’s plenty of time to turn things around and hopefully we’ve identified the right plays for a profitable UFC 300.

Bo Nickal vs. Cody Brundage

Bo Nickal to win in Round 1 (-190)

I hate betting on fights like this. Nickal is a -2000 favorite, so the moneyline is out unless you feel as though Brundage is set to score a massive upset. Nickal has never been out of the first round, with his longest fight to date lasting 2:54. Brundage has twice been stopped in the first round, so it only makes sense to play Nickal to get it done inside of five rounds. But, eventually, someone is going to drag Nickal past the five-minute mark and betting on the quick finish on that night will sting. Luckily, things seem to have lined up well enough for this fight, and the UFC matchmakers appear to have been going for a very specific type of result for their blue-chip prospect on a huge stage.

Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Under 1.5 rounds (+105)

This is a tough fight to call. Oliveira at +165 intrigues me, but I fear personal bias could play into that as Oliveira has long been one of my favorite fighters to watch. Both Oliveira and Tsarukyan have strong finishing ability and have multiple UFC stoppage victories before the halfway point of Round 2. With that in mind, and knowing the high-stakes nature of the fight, I think both men will be looking for the finish rather than playing it safe. Almost everything in this fight feels like a coin flip but we’ll roll with the under here.

Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway

Max Holloway moneyline (+130)

The problem with giving a bet for every fight on the main card every pay-per-view is that so often the best advice on certain fights is “avoid the volatility, don’t bet on this one.” I don’t think Holloway stops Gaethje, but I do think Gaethje has the power to crack Holloway’s incredible chin. That said, Holloway has the better boxing overall so he could pile up points and take the fight on the scorecards. This being a five-round fight boosts Holloway’s chances a bit if he can put a heavy pace on Gaethje and wear him down as the fight wears on. It’s nearly even money on whether the fight goes the distance and if that happens, I think Holloway’s work rate edges things out for him on the cards.

Weili Zhang vs. Yan Xiaonan

Weili Zhang via KO/TKO/DQ (+125)

This is a bad fight for Xiaonan. Zhang is the better fighter pretty much everywhere the fight can go, but it’s the ground game that is particularly troubling for the challenger. If Zhang feels she isn’t having enough success in the striking, she has the wrestling game to switch tactics. Xiaonan doesn’t have the skills to stop those takedowns and has looked lost when she’s been put on her back in the past. The champ should find a way to finish this one way or another, be it on the feet or on the ground.

Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill

Alex Pereira moneyline (-140)

I need one stat to decide that Pereira is the easy call here: Hill has a total of zero takedowns in his UFC career. Pereira has improved his grappling a bit but that’s not even really a concern coming into the fight unless Hill has completely overhauled his game. If this is a striking battle and nothing more, the world champion kickboxer with crushing power is the guy to throw your money behind. Add in that Hill’s last fight was more than a year ago and he’s coming off a severe injury and I see no reason why Pereira is only -140.

Who wins UFC 300: Pereira vs. Hill, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC 300, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200, and find out. 





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