UFC 300 Picks & Predictions

VSiN Primetime producer Britton Hess has some strong takes on the UFC 300 card and put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) to hammer out his thoughts on every fight on the docket.

UFC Odds | UFC Betting Splits | Lou Finocchiaro’s article



Last Week: 3-5 (-1.55 Units)

Article History: 23-21 (+9.92 Units)


Last Week Pick’em Recap: 5-7 (41.6%)

Article History: 41-34 (54.67%)

Alex “Poatan” Pereira (-130) versus Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill (+110)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-180) | Under 1.5 Rounds (+140)

Seven trips into the UFC octagon, six victories, five knockouts, three title fights, two belts. Pereira has had one of the most efficient careers in UFC history. The 36-year-old former middleweight and current light heavyweight champion has been a problem since he first entered the octagon in November of 2020. His old kickboxing rival, Israel Adesanya, flippantly remarked that he had forged a legacy, and Pereira would be an old man sitting in a bar telling his friends about how he beat the UFC legend twice in Glory Kickboxing. Like Michael Jordan, Pereira “took that personally.” He KO’d Adesanya their first time in the cage, then Adesanya got his revenge. Pereira called the split series good and moved up to 205 pounds; at age 36, he can’t cut weight like he used to. His first fight at light heavyweight was versus Jan Blachowicz, a former champion at 205. Pereira got the split decision and then got the chance to welcome back Jiri Prochachazka from an injury layoff for the vacant light heavyweight strap. Pereira won via TKO in the second round.

As blistering fast as Pereira’s rise to the top of the UFC food chain was, Hill’s was nearly the same speed. He, too, made his UFC debut in 2020, but his first four fights did not go quite as smoothly as Pereira’s. He won his first fight via decision, then had a TKO victory overturned due to a failed drug test. He then put the division on notice by knocking out light heavyweight stalwart Ovince Saint Preux before losing to Paul Craig in a fight in which he sustained an arm injury. But after that, it was full steam ahead, racking up KO victories versus Jimmy Crute, Johnny Walker, and Thiago Santos. He followed that up with the best win of his career, a Unanimous Decision victory over Glover Teixeira for the championship.

Pereira is 36 years old, officially in “old fighter” territory. Hill is 32, still in his prime and potentially not even a finished product. But the age difference is perhaps not as extreme as it seems on paper due to Hill’s Achilles tear suffered while playing basketball last summer. Pereira’s punishing leg kicks will definitely test Hill’s recovery.

By the numbers, these are two elite strikers. In the octagon, Pereira is landing 5.0 significant strikes per minute with an impressive 62% accuracy rate. Hill lands even more, 7.31 significant strikes per minute with a 54% accuracy rate. He is much more of a volume striker than Pereira; both possess power, but it is different. Pereira is more of the one-punch, end-the-fight-at-any-moment type of striker, specifically with his left hook. Hill has some one-punch KOs, but his best inside the distance victory, versus Thiago Santos, was the result of strike accumulation (after Santos wore himself attempting too much wrestling).

Neither fighter is much of a grappler. Hill has not attempted a takedown in the UFC; Pereira is one-for-one after surprising Israel Adesanya with the attempt. The takedown defense on both guys is great; Hill held Glover Teixeira to 2/17 over the course of five rounds. Jiri Prochazka and Jan Blachowicz were a combined 4/11 in the cage versus Pereira. If either Hill or Pereira starts shooting double legs, it is likely because something is going very wrong.

On paper, this fight should go to Alex Pereira. Both of these fighters want to strike, and it’s hard to not give the Glory Kickboxing Hall of Famer the edge in that department. The biggest question is Pereira’s chin. He was flatlined by Israel Adesanya in his middleweight title defense. He was also KO’d twice over the course of his 40 professional kickboxing matches. He also ate 41 head strikes versus Blachowicz and an additional 18 versus Prochazka. His chin is not getting any younger.

Another element to this fight worth discussing is the stances of each fighter. Pereira is orthodox, and outside of Israel’s Adesanya’s switch style, he hasn’t faced a southpaw in the UFC. Hill is southpaw and has exclusively faced orthodox fighters. Given Pereira’s high level of striking experience and excellent training with Glover Teixeira, it’s hard to call this stylistic matchup as being a true benefit for one fighter or the other. However, this variable could manifest by prolonging the feeling-out process early in the fight. Despite being knockout artists, this fight being juiced to the over makes a lot of sense.

FIGHT WINNER: Alex Pereira

BET: Alex Pereira to win (-130), 1.3 Units to Win 1

Co-Main Event:

Weili “Magnum” Zhang (-485) versus Xiaonan “Nine” Yan (+370)

Over 3.5 Rounds (-160) | Under 3.5 Rounds (+124)

It has been nearly ten years since Zhang has lost to a fighter not named Rose Namajunas. She is a two-time women’s strawweight champion. She took the belt from Jessica Andrade, lost it to Namajunas, then won it back versus Carla Esparza. She has a 50% finish rate… in a division mostly devoid of finishes making her a fan favorite. She is above average in activity in both striking and takedown accuracy and generally is able to overwhelm and overpower her opponents. She is extremely strong for her weight class and has landed at least one takedown in seven of her last 10 fights. She has also landed more head strikes than seven of her last 10 opponents (Namajunas landed more head strikes twice, in her first fight with Joana Jedrzejczyk each fighter landed 96 head strikes).

Strength of schedule for Zhang is as good as it gets in this division. Six of her 10 UFC bouts have been for a belt, three of those opponents (5 fights) are versus current or likely future hall of famers (Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, and Esparza). All this is to say that she has been here before, and Xiaonan Yan will be the greenest opponent she has seen since 2019.

Despite not having a UFC championship pedigree, Yan has put together an impressive UFC resume. She is 8-2 in 10 UFC bouts. Her first three victories were against women who were not around long in the organization, but she put the division on notice in her next three fights by defeating UFC veterans Angela Hill, Karolina Kowalciewicz, and Claudia Gadelha. When she received her first high profile fight, a co-main event versus Esparza, Yan was humbled. Esparza succeeded on all three of her takedown attempts and won via KO in the second round. After that she fought another experienced fighter, Marina Rodriguez and lost via split decision. Despite back-to-back losses, she was still given the spotlight. She headlined a fight night card as +200 underdog and won a majority decision versus Mackenzie Dern, then left no doubt by knocking out Andrade as +150 underdog.

Both fighters are 34 years old. Yan is 1” taller than her opponent at 5 ‘5” and both women have a 63” reach. Per official UFC data, Weili lands more strikes, is more accurate, and gets hit slightly less than her opponent. Yan’s defense rate of 61% is very good and superior to Weili’s 53%. But I think the discrepancy has a lot to do with strength of schedule as Zhang has only faced the tip of the spear in the division in her last six fights.

Weili is a deserving favorite in this matchup. From everything we’ve seen, she has one weakness, Rose Namajunas. Yan is not Rose as a striker or grappler. Her pace, accuracy, and ability to change levels should allow her to find a hole in Yan’s game and exploit it. Additionally, this is a five-round fight; this will be Weili’s sixth fight scheduled to go 25 minutes. Yan fought a five-rounder versus Mackenzie Dern, it was a majority draw because Dern dominated the final round, spending most of it in full mount, one judge even making it a 10-8 round in Dern’s favor.

I think this fight will have plenty of aggression; both fighters like action. The more action there is, the greater chance Zhang has to finish this.


BET: Weili Zhang to win Inside the Distance (-110), Risk 1.1 to Win 1

Parlay Piece, see below

BMF Title Bout:

Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (-162) versus Max ‘Blessed” Holloway (+136)

Over 4.5 Rounds (-120) | Under 4.5 Rounds (-110)

Holloway has 28 fights in the UFC; his last 13 have been five-round title belts or fight night main events. He is only 32 years old but has the third highest total time spent in the octagon in UFC history. He is the youngest active fighter on that list by over four years. The term “he’s fought everyone” is often thrown around, but in Max’s case, it’s accurate. Thirteen of his fights have been against fighters who are, were, or were to become UFC champions. The names are worth listing out; Alex Volkanovski, Yair Rodriguez, Frankie Edgar, Dustin Poirier, Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis, Charles Oliveira, and Conor McGregor. He has been finished once in his career, his UFC debut as a 20-year-old versus Poirier via submission. His rematch versus Dustin Poirier five years ago was at 155 pounds; Holloway lost the decision but it was two-way action and was awarded “Fight of the Night.” That lightweight bout, and 3 championship decision losses (one split) versus Volkanovski are the only defeats Holloway has faced since McGregor beat him on the scorecards in 2013. Aptitude is not a question for Max; uncertainty lies in how he prepared his body ahead of another fight up a weight class at lightweight.

Gaethje is now 35 years old and has fought in the UFC 12 times. He has an 8-4 record with six knockout victories, two knockout defeats. He is a former middleweight interim champion, winning the belt in the fight that started Tony Ferguson’s seven-fight losing streak. He has fought legends and has become one along the way. His nickname, “Highlight,” is apt as at one point in his career he had a 10-fight streak of winning via knockout. He is a good wrestler after reaching a high level in the collegiate ranks, although he hasn’t used this tool much in the octagon. He is a crisp striker and his fight IQ has been raised with every successive fight in the UFC. Outside of his power, he does an excellent job controlling distance with leg kicks. He and Max are both 5’11”, but Gaethje will have a 1” reach advantage.

On paper, these are two of the most active strikers in the UFC, both landing over seven significant strikes per minute in the cage. Gaethje’s accuracy numbers are higher, but Max throws out more volume than anyone, literally; he has 3,197 significant strikes landed in the UFC, no one else has over 1900. Despite currently having the eighth-highest significant strikes landed per minute number in UFC history at 7.35, Gaethje has a negative differential. His opponents land 7.50 per minute.

On paper, this is a stand-up brawl where both guys trade. In a vacuum that is the type of fight Holloway wins. But last time we saw Holloway at Lightweight versus Poirier, he didn’t have trouble landing significant strikes; the issue was the effect the significant strikes had on his opponent. He landed more than Poirier in three rounds, but the judges only gave him one on the scorecard.

Holloway’s last foray into lightweight was six years ago; he was in his mid-20s and was riding a 13-fight UFC win streak. He was humbled by that experience, and then humbled more in his matches versus Volkanovski. But his dedication to his craft has not wavered. It is quite possible that he can grow into a true lightweight. Three of his former opponents at featherweight did and had some success; Charles Oliveira, Conor McGregor, and Dustin Poirier. Max has claimed that he has put on weight the right way when compared to his last bout at 155. We will see if it has made a difference.

FIGHT WINNER: Max Holloway

BET: Max Holloway (+136), 1 Unit to Win 1.36

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (+195) versus Arman “Ahalkalakets” Tsarukyan (-238)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-135) | Under 1.5 Rounds (+105)

Oliveira is 12-1 in the UFC since 2018. He has been an underdog in three of his last four fights, with the one loss coming to current Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev. Like most of the fighters on the main card, he has a spectacular strength of schedule and has fought numerous champions, legends, and fan favorites. His BJJ skills are no secret; he has the UFC record with 16 submission victories over the course of 32 trips into the octagon. Previous opponents have tried to turn their bouts into firefights to avoid grappling exchanges, and that’s where he surprises them with his power. Oliveira has two knockout victories to go along with two submissions in his last five fights.

Tsarukyan is one of the most intriguing prospects in the lightweight division. He made his UFC debut versus Islam Makhachev, losing via decision. Besides the loss to the now champ, his only other loss at the UFC level is to Mateusz Gamrot in an extremely close fight that went the distance. Tsarukyan is young, only 27 years old, and he was even younger when he faced Makhachev 5 years ago. Since then he has drawn comparisons to the champion for his ability to get opponents to the ground and keep them there.

The overly simplistic handicap of this fight is to assume that because Makhachev was able to dominate Oliveira with his wrestling, Tsarukyan will be able to do the same. But there are levels, and although Tsarukyan is elite, he isn’t Makhachev. Oliveira potentially will invite the grappling; he has been happy to pull guard in past fights, especially after eating shots on the feet. Additionally, in ten UFC fights Tsarukyan has yet to attempt a submission. This fact should allow Oliveira to be even more aggressive than usual off his back.

FIGHT WINNER: Charles Oliveira

BET: Charles Oliveira (+185), 1 Unit to Win 1.85

Bo Nickal (-1450) versus Cody Brundage (+850)

Over 1.5 Rounds (+260) | Under 1.5 Rounds (-360)

Nickal’s legend grows by the day. His wrestling pedigree is as good as it gets, a three-time national champion representing Penn State University, a U23 world champion in freestyle wrestling, and a finalist for the 2020 US Olympic wrestling team, fans have been lauding Nickal as a future UFC champion for a long time. As a 5-0 professional fighter, he has won via KO twice, and three times via submission, all coming in the first three minutes of the first round (three wins in 1:02 or less). His level of competition has not been great, it hasn’t even been good. His first fight on a UFC card was against Jamie Pickett, who was on his way to a five-fight losing streak and being cut from the organization. His second fight was against UFC newcomer Val Woodburn, who is now 0-2 in the organization after entering the cage with a perfect 7-0 record.

Brundage is 10-5 overall, 4-4 in the UFC. In his eight fights in the UFC, he has been the favorite once, he lost that fight, meaning he is 4-3 as a UFC underdog. He has been a big dog before, but never to this extreme degree. He was +185 in his last fight versus undefeated finisher Zach Reese, Brundage won the fight via slam in the first round. That fight was also unique for Brundage in that it went off as regularly scheduled. It was booked in late October 2023, and took place in early December. Before that, he was on a five-fight streak of abnormal scheduling, whether as a late replacement or his fights being rebooked due to opponent issues. The UFC has not been afraid to use Brundage’s willingness to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. He had five bouts in under 12 months between December 2022-December 2023. His fight with Nickal will be taking place over four months after his last scrap, and he has had three months to prepare for this specific opponent, a luxury he hasn’t had since the start of 2022.

The problem with this fight is the odds. Nickal is perhaps the most hyped 5-0 fighter in MMA history. He has delivered in all of his fights and it would be embarrassing if he didn’t. In his two UFC and his two Contender Series fights, he has been a favorite of; -1600, -2000, -2800, and -1600. It’s unprecedented. But by the odds, Brundage will be his “toughest” fight yet. Brundage is a frustrating fighter who has at times lacked a high fight IQ. It is probably fair to attribute some of that to him taking short notice fights without being fully prepared. But also it is hard to excuse him eventually going to the ground with Rodolfo Vieira, after a round 1 that made it clear Brundage was going to win as long as he didn’t end up in a submission. Brundage almost got the KO in round 1, then pulled a guillotine round 2 ending up on his back, versus a legitimate world champion Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player. Brundage got submitted.

Brundage is the most game fighter Nickal has faced. He could make this interesting if he is patient and shows the UFC world what Nickal looks like in a fight that he doesn’t dominate early. Additionally, Brundage was also a college wrestler, not on Bo’s level, but he was a wrestler nonetheless; he will be the most comfortable in scrambles of any of Nickal’s previous opponents. Nikal has been hit with three significant strikes in the four fights where data is available. Two of those strikes were to his head. In fight week media availability Brundage said he was going to be the first guy to hit Bo in the face. If he is, and doesn’t then try to force a wrestling match, things could get interesting.


BET: Pass

Jiri “BJP” Prochazka (+102) versus Aleksandar “Rocket” Rakic (-122)

Over 2.5 Rounds (+124) | Under 2.5 Rounds (-122)

Prochazka was a fast riser in the UFC who was slowed down by a gruesome shoulder injury. He had an excellent strength of schedule pre-UFC, beating numerous former UFC, Bellator, and PFL contenders before entering the cage and wasting no time in getting a shot at the Light Heavyweight belt. He submitted Glover Teixiera and a new era in the division had begun. Jiri had the potential to hold the belt for a long time as he was 28 when he won. But a horrible injury put his title defense on hold. Initially reports were that it would take his shoulder two years to recover. He did not take two years off, faced Alex “Poatan” Pereira, and was finished in the second round. Overall, he is 29-4-1. Only two of his fights have seen judges’ scorecards, only four of his fights have gone beyond the second round. He fights with all out aggression and always leaves everything he’s got in the cage.

Rakic is coming off a gruesome leg injury he sustained in a fight versus Jan Blachowicz in a title eliminator bout. Blachowicz got another title shot, and Rakic has been sidelined for two years. Rakic is 6-2 in the UFC, with two wins via KO, four via decision. He lost a decision to Volkan Oezdemir, and lost to Blachowicz via TKO (injury). The injury was sustained in round three of a scheduled five, and at that point the first two rounds were split on the judges scorecards. Despite having more decisions than KOs, Rakic leads this entire fight card in terms of distance knockdown rate. This is both a representation of his power and of the chins of the opponents he has faced.

Jiri’s chin can probably be in question at this point in his career. Three of his losses were via knockout. And the damage he took versus Pereira five months ago was significant. He has extremely poor striking defense and tries to make up for it with aggression and landing more. Rakic is the opposite, he is not an overly active striker, but he is very hard to hit, only absorbing 2.50 significant strikes per minute in the cage.

That said, I think re-entering the cage after two years off versus Prochazka is a tough task. He has a style that is unique and extremely difficult to prepare for. Rakic wins when he can control the fight, and Jiri is not easily controlled. Additionally, their resumes are miles apart.

FIGHT WINNER: Jiri Prochazka

Bet: Jiri Prochazka (+102), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.02

Calvin “The Boston Finisher” Kattar (+145) versus Aljamain “Aljo” Sterling (-175)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-180) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+140)

A common theme on this fight card is former champions starting fresh in new weight classes. Throw Sterling into this group. After losing his featherweight belt to Sean O’Malley and being denied a rematch, Aljo decided to pack on some pounds, and let his teammate, Merab Dvalishvlii try to get the strap back for Serra BJJ. The UFC veteran is 23-4 overall and 15-4 in the cage. He popularized the term “backpack” because that is exactly what he wants to do to his opponents, get on their back and finish from there. He has 8 submission victories in the Octagon. He was an extremely long bantamweight at 5’7” with a 71” reach. At weigh-ins and media availability, he appeared to be wearing the extra pounds well. He used to look drawn out on the scale, but ahead of UFC 300 he had good bulk.

Kattar has never given up on a fight. He went five rounds versus Max Holloway in a fight that virtually any other bantamweight would have quit in. Max landed 400+ significant strikes, setting the all time UFC record. Kattar was battered and bruised, but he made it to the final bell. After that fight he rebounded and stopped the Giga Chikadze hype train, winning as a +200 underdog. He then lost a controversial split decision to Josh Emmett, and suffered a knee injury versus Arnold Allen 2 years ago. He has had time to recover, and at age 36 he is excited to make another UFC run.

Kattar’s statistics are a bit hard to decipher because of the lopsided defeat he took versus Holloway. However a few numbers stick out. 95% of the minutes Kattar has spent in the cage have been at distance. On the other hand, Sterling has spent 48% of his time in the octagon in the clinch or on the ground. This is a unique stylistic matchup of a grappler versus a striker. Aljo has good striking metrics, but a lot of those strikes do not come in standard standup exchanges. Additionally, Kattar has a 91% takedown defense rate versus Aljamain’s 24% takedown accuracy.

Handicapping this fight is tough because of two variables that are hard to quantify. How will Aljamain grapple with a bigger fighter who has excellent takedown defense? How will Kattar look after two years off?

FIGHT WINNER: Calvin Kattar

BET: Pass

Kayla Harrison (-440) versus Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (+340)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-135) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+105)

It is amazing to see Holm as such a huge underdog. She was +300 versus Amanda Nunes in 2019. She was +250 versus Cris Cyborg in 2017. The only time her odds were longer was against Ronda Rousey, where Holm cashed as a +830 underdog in 2015. Those are big numbers, and those fights were a long time ago. Holly is now 42 years old and has been active in contact sports since before some fighters on the UFC roster were born. She was a boxing and kickboxing champion prior to MMA, and she has been in five UFC title fights. She is still one of the smartest fighters on the roster, she knows how to win fights, but at this point she is not the same athlete she was a decade ago.

Harrison is Ronda Rousey’s former team USA Judo teammate, but actually rose to a higher level in the sport. She won gold in the 78 kg division at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She moved over to MMA full time in 2018, and all of her fights have been in PFL to this point. She is 16-1 overall with 6 KOs, 6 submissions, and 4 decision victories. Her one loss was in the 2022 PFL women’s lightweight championship against Larissa Pacheco (it was their third time facing each other). She is a well credentialed fighter and a lifelong competitor. The biggest variable in this fight is Harrison’s weight. In Judo, she competed at 171 lbs, in PFL she fought at 155. This is the first time she is competing at 135. She made weight seemingly without issue on Friday, and after rehydration expect her to be the much larger fighter in the cage.

Harrison has hunger and age on her side. She wants to prove she is world class. She wants to forge a UFC legacy. And she wants to draw Nunes out of retirement for a money fight. The biggest question is how will Harrison’s body feel after her first extreme weight cut?

FIGHT WINNER: Kayla Harrison

BET: Parlay Piece, see below

“Super” Sodiqu Yusuff (+120) versus Diego Lopes (-142)

Over 2.5 Rounds (+124) | Under 2.5 Rounds (-160)

Yusuff raised his profile on the UFC roster by taking care of business in the cage and starting an entertaining YouTube channel. He is 6-2 in the organization. He started his octagon career on a four fight win streak, and has gone 2-2 in his last four after a close loss to Arnold Allen and a humbling defeat to then 37 year old Edson Barboza. Both of his losses have come via decision, three of his wins have gone the distance. He was a massive favorite in all three fights he won via finish. By the numbers Yusuff is rather unremarkable. His greatest attribute is his activity level, landing 5.72 significant strikes per minute.

Where Yusuff was given a chance to establish himself in the UFC and take some favorable fights on the way up, Lopes has faced tough opposition since landing on the UFC’s radar. In Contender Series he lost a Technical Unanimous Decision to Joanderson Brito (now 5-1 with five finishes in the UFC). He then was called up on short notice to face the undefeated Movsar Evloev, losing on the scorecards. After that he submitted UFC veteran Gavin Tucker, and KO’d Pat Sabatini as a slight underdog. His sample size is rather short, and most of his octagon time analyzed is from his contender series fight versus Brito and his short notice call up versus Brito. My opinion is that those fights are suppressing Lopes’ metrics. This is a rare case where watching ALL the fights tells a better story than strictly trusting the numbers.

Lopes is dangerous everywhere in the cage. He is taking advantage of this opportunity after losing in Contender Series and pushing Movsar Evloev to his limits. Yusuff wins this fight if he can keep it a technical striking affair. I do not think Lopes will allow that.


BET: Diego Lopes (-142), Risk 1.42 Units to Win 1

Jalin “The Tarantula” Turner (-218) versus Renato “Money” Moicano (+185)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-105) | Under 1.5 Rounds (-125)

Fighters in their 20s with double digit UFC fights are a special breed. Turner is one of those fighters. He is 28 years old, 7-4 in the UFC, 6’3” with a 75.5” reach, and he fights at 155 pounds. When you see him in person, it doesn’t make sense, he seems too big to make this weight. But on Friday he came in at 155.5 on his first try. He is a fan favorite because all seven of his victories have come via finish, 4 KO, 3 submission. He was knocked out once in his UFC debut versus Vincente Luque up a weight class at 170. His decision losses have been to Matt Frevola, Mateusz Gamrot (split), and Dan Hooker (split).

Moicano has been fighting in the UFC at a high level for nearly ten years. He is 10-5 and has a clearly defined style. Grapple, grapple, grapple. He has six submission victories in the UFC and is in control for 60% of the time he spends on the ground or in the clinch. He attempts 1.8 takedowns per 15 minutes in the octagon, but he is also liable to pull guard, or reverse his opponent’s takedown. He is 5’11” and has a 72” reach.

Turner has clear advantages standing. He lands over 1.5 more significant strikes per minute. But he also has worse headstrike defense. Luckily for him, he has not been knocked out in 5.5 years, and Moicano has never won via KO at any level. If Turner opts to wrestle at all, he is making a very big mistake.

FIGHT WINNER: Jalin Turner 

Bet: Parlay: Turner/Harrison/Zhang (+115), 1 Unit to Win 1.15

Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (-130) versus Marina Rodriguez (+114)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-140) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+110)

It is rare to see a women’s strawweight match that is only slightly favored to last longer than 2.5 rounds. But in this case it makes sense. Andrade, 32, has 26 fights in the UFC, only nine of them have seen the judges scorecards. She last got a much needed KO victory over Mackenzie Dern after a three fight loss-by-finish streak. Although her stint at the top was brief, she was the UFC’s strawweight champion at one point five years ago after beating Rose Namajunas via TKO(slam). She is only 5’1” but actually began her career in the women’s bantamweight division.

Rodriguez is 36 and has a 7-3-2 record in the UFC. She has two KO wins, and one KO defeat, everything else has gone to three inch reach advantage. She is a much more controlled fighter than her opponent and is much more of a standup fighter than a grappler. The best win of her career is probably the split decision she earned versus Xiaonan Yan two years ago.

Andrade has been knocked out four times. Two of those KOs have come in the 115 pound weight class, versus Weili Zhang, and Yan Xiaonan. Marina Rodriguez has very technical striking, but she does not have that exceptional power. Andrade is the more active striker with worse defense. Generally I don’t think things like the $300,000 bonuses for UFC 300 make a big difference. But in this particular fight I do. It is low on the card and the 300k would go a long way. These women have the style to bang it out. I think they will give the audience what they want.

FIGHT WINNER: Jessica Andrade 

Bet: Under 1.5 Rounds (+205). Risk 1 Unit to Win 2.05

“King” Bobby Green (-180) versus Jim “A-10” Miller (+150)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-125) | Under 2.5 Rounds (-105)

It does not seem right to have a fight between legends buried so low on the UFC fight card, but this is what happens for a show as stacked as this. Miller is 40 years old with a record 43 fights in the Octagon. He also has the record for UFC wins, 26. He appeared on the UFC 200 card… and the UFC 100 card 15 years ago which was headlined by Brock Lesnar knocking out Frank Mir. With a career as long as his, there have definitely been ups and downs, but lately it’s been mostly up. Since October 2021, Miller has a 5-1 record with all five victories coming via finish (3 KO, 2 Sub).

Green is a legend in his own right; he is 37 and hasn’t been in the UFC for quite as long as Miller, but he still has 24 trips to the cage beginning back in 2013. He is always an entertaining fighter and has an unconventional striking style. He throws to make contact, not for power and always pushes the pace. He is three inches taller than Miller, both men have a 71” reach.

Speed will be in Green’s favor. Power will go to Miller. If the fight reaches the ground, Miller will also have a big advantage, although Green has not been submitted in a single UFC fight. The concern is that he faced a brutal KO in December versus Jalin Turner, and has been KO’d three times in the last two years. If Miller can find his mark, he will go down.

Fight Winner: Jim Miller

Bet: Jim Miller (+150), Bet 1 Unit to Win 1.5

Deiveson “Deus Da Guerra” Figueiredo (-340) versus Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (+270)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-190) | Under 1.5 Rounds (+145)

This is perhaps the most impressive “curtain jerker” the UFC has ever put out. Two former champions who have exciting styles and huge fan bases squaring off to kick off this historic event. Figueiredo was killing himself making flyweight, and I think was tired of fighting Brandon Moreno (they fought for the belt four times). In his first fight at bantamweight in the UFC versus Rob Font he looked the part. He landed with power and secured four takedowns, amassing 4:02 of control time over the course of three rounds. He was the more accurate striker of the two that night and actually dominated the third round. At 125 pounds, Figueiredo was known to gas late in fights after the weight cut. The one potential drawback of moving up a weight class was that perhaps his power didn’t fully translate. He landed some strikes that would end the night for a lot of flyweights. Part of that could also be Rob Font’s chin as he has never been finished in the UFC.

Garbrandt took the bantamweight division by storm in his early 20s He took the belt from Dominick Cruz as a +180 underdog. However he was not able to defend it, he was KO’d twice by TJ Dillashaw, and has since been KO’d two additional times. But after a long break, he put two wins together in 2023, taking care of business in favorable matchups versus Trevin Jones and Brian Kelleher.

Cody has always had excellent technical boxing and speed. His chin was in question after being knocked out in four of six fights between 2017 and 2021. Figueiredo is the much more accomplished grappler with 8 career submissions, but he also has 9 career KO victories. If Cody Garbrandt’s chin, and takedown defense hold up, this is a very close fight and he will have every shot at victory. If either of those attributes falter, Figueiredo will win inside the distance.

Fight Winner: Deiveson Figueiredo

Bet: Pass

Best Bets Recap

Alex Pereira to win (-130), 1.3 Units to Win 1

Weili Zhang to win Inside the Distance (-110), Risk 1.1 to Win 1

Max Holloway (+136), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.36

Charles Oliveira (+185), 1 Unit to Win 1.85

Jiri Prochazka (+102), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.02

Diego Lopes (-142), Risk 1.42 Units to Win 1

Turner/Harrison/Zhang (+115), 1 Unit to Win 1.15

Andrade/Rodriguez Under 1.5 Rounds (+205). Risk 1 Unit to Win 2.05

Jim Miller (+150), Bet 1 Unit to Win 1.5

Parlay: Zhang/Harrison/Turner (+115)