UFC 301 Preview

Published on 3 May 2024 at 20:00

Brazil is back for another UFC PPV as fans look forward to new potential contenders. The Farmasi Arena will host the fight card as UFC Flyweight Champion, Alexandre Pantoja, and the #10 Flyweight contender, Steve Erceg, headline the event. The Co-Main Event features the return of the King of Rio, Jose Aldo, who faces the #13 Bantamweight contender, Jonathan Martinez. Here is everything you need to know as to what will be happening this weekend in Rio de Janeiro.

early Prelims

Alessandro Costa vs Kevin Borjas (UFC Flyweight Bout) - Costa fought twice last year in the Flyweight division, picking up a second-round TKO win over Jimmy Flick before losing to the current Flyweight title challenger, Steve Erceg, by unanimous decision at UFC 295. With three fights in the promotion and only picking up one victory, the Brazilian will aim to get back to winning ways.

Borjas made his UFC debut in November 2023, losing by unanimous decision to Joshua Van at UFC 295. The Peru-born fighter had earned a contract with the UFC after defeating Victor Dias on Dana White's Contender Series (DWCS), which was three months before he debuted with the promotion. Borjas is still in search for his first UFC win and could claim it in enemy territory.


Ismael Bonfim vs Vinc Pichel (UFC Lightweight Bout) - Bonfim last fought at UFC Vegas 76 where his 13-fight winning streak would be snapped against Benoit Saint-Denis by first-round submission. Marreta's made an impressive debut at UFC 283 when he knocked out Terrence McKinney with a flying knee, stunning the Brazilian crowd. Bonfim will want to give his home nation another showstopping performance as he looks to redeem his most recent loss. 

Pichel has not fought since April 2022 when he lost to Mark Masden by unanimous decision at UFC 273. The Californian was last victorious back in August 2021 as he earned an unanimous decision win over Austin Hubbard at UFC Vegas 34. With a long absence from fighting, Pichel will aim for victory on his return.


Dione Barbosa vs Ernesta Kareckaite (UFC Women's Flyweight Bout) - Barbosa makes her UFC debut in Rio de Janeiro after earning a contract with the promotion on DWCS as she defeated Rainn Guerrero by first-round submission. The Witch has had eight professional MMA fights, winning six and losing two as three of her victories have ended by submission. Barbosa has a great opportunity to put the Women's Flyweight division on notice if she earns a stoppage win.

Kareckaite will also be making her UFC debut at UFC 301 as she earned a split decision win to earn a contract with the promotion on DWCS. Heavy-handed is undefeated with five victories and one draw, earning two knockout wins in her first two professional MMA fights. The Lithuanian will look to keep her undefeated record in Brazil. 


Mauricio Ruffy vs Jamie Mullarkey (UFC Lightweight Bout) - Ruffy makes his UFC debut in his home country after earning a place in the promotion with a win on DWCS, defeating Raimond Magomedaliev by third-round TKO. The Sao Paulo-born fighter is a real knockout artist as all of his nine victories have ended by KO/TKO. Another knockout win could see Ruffy become a big UFC prospect in the Lightweight division.

Mullarkey fought four times in 2023, picking up two unanimous decision wins at UFC 284 and UFC 293 whilst suffering two TKO losses to Muhammad Naimov and Nasrat Haqparast. Despite having 12 stoppage wins out of the 17 victories he has, the Australian has not earned a knockout or submission triumph since October 2021. A win for Mullarkey will put him back in the win column as well as avoiding a losing streak.


Joaquim Silva vs Drakkar Klose (UFC Lightweight Bout) - Silva fought twice in 2023 as despite losing by TKO against the current #1 Lightweight contender, Arman Tsarukyan, he did redeem himself with an unanimous decision win against Clay Guida. The Brazilian rarely goes the distance with his opponents, earning 10 stoppage wins out of the 13 victories he has in his MMA career. A win will not only see Silva begin a winning streak but it could put him just outside the Lightweight rankings.

Klose only fought once last year which came at UFC Austin when he earned a slam knockout win against Joe Solecki. After his knockout loss to Beneil Dariush at UFC 248, the Michigan-born fighter has gone on a three-fight winning streak as well as earning his first two stoppage wins in the UFC. A win in Rio could possibly edge Klose into the Lightweight rankings or possibly earn a fight against a contender if his winning streak increases to four.


Preliminary Card

Jean Silva vs William Gomis (UFC Featherweight Bout) - Silva made a good impression on his UFC debut when he defeated Westin Wilson at UFC Vegas 84. The Santa Catarina-born fighter in unbeaten in his last nine fights with eight victories ending in the first round. With an incredible unbeaten streak, Silva could be a huge talking point in the Featherweight division if he can earn another first-round stoppage win.

Gomis has fought three times in the UFC, earning two decision wins and a third-round TKO win in his most recent fight. Since 2016, The Jaguar has been unbeaten in his last twelve fights, earning six KO/TKO wins as well as one submission victory. With slightly more experience in the promotion, Gomis will look to use that to his advantage and continue unbeaten with a another victory to his name.


Elves Brener vs Myktybek Orolbai (UFC Lightweight Bout) - Brener had an incredible year in 2023, winning all three fights which included one split decision win and two TKO victories. The Maues-born fighter is unbeaten in his last five fights and has shown to be a deadly submission artist in every promotion but the UFC, winning 11 bouts by submission. Brener fights for a second time in his home country and aims to get another stoppage win on his MMA record.

Orolbai made his UFC debut at UFC Vegas 82 when he defeated Uros Medic by second-round submission. The Kyrgyzstan mixed martial artist has shown to be an impressive fighter, winning six fights by KO/TKO and five by submission out of the 12 victories he had earned in his MMA career. Oralbai is unbeaten in seven fights and it would seem as no surprise if he were to earn another stoppage win and become a big problem for the Lightweight division.


Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Iasmin Lucindo (UFC Women's Strawweight Bout) - Kowalkiewicz is the current #13 Strawweight contender, winning her last fight against Diana Belbita at UFC Vegas 80. The Polish fighter had previously suffered a five-fight losing streak from 2018 to 2021, however, she is redeeming herself with a four-fight winning streak and one fight away from equalling that with victories. A win will not only maintain Kowalkiewicz's ranking but could slightly move her up the division.

Lucindo has had three fights in the UFC, losing on her debut by unanimous decision before earning an unanimous decision win over Brogan Walker and a second-round submission win against Polyana Viana. Despite earning a submission win in the UFC, the majority of the Brazilian's wins have ended by KO/TKO. Lucindo has her most important fight in her MMA career as she has the opportunity to enter the UFC Strawweight rankings whilst defeating a veteran in the promotion.


Jack Shore vs Joanderson Brito (UFC Featherweight Bout) - Shore last fought at UFC 286 when he defeated Makwan Amirkhani by second-round submission, redeeming his submission loss to Ricky Simon which ended his undefeated record. The Welshman has been a tricky submission artist for many opponents as nine fighters have submitted to Tank. Shore fights in the Featherweight division for the second time as he looks to begin a winning streak and potentially enter the Featherweight rankings.

Brito has looked unstoppable in his last four fights, earning two first-round knockouts wins as well as two submissions wins. Tubarao has stopped 14 of his 16 conquered opponents, sharing the type of finishes with seven submission and KO/TKO wins. If Brito can earn another stoppage win at UFC 301, it could put him in the Featherweight rankings or put him up against a contender in the division.


Main card

Paul Craig vs Caio Borralho (UFC Middleweight Bout) - Craig fought three times in 2023, suffering a first-round TKO loss to Johnny Walker, earning a second-round TKO win against Andre Muniz, and losing to Brendan Allen by third-round submission. All of BearJew's victories have ended in a finish with the majority ending by submission as the Scotsman has submitted 13 of his opponents. If Craig is victorious in enemy territory, he will maintain his #13 Middleweight ranking and stay above his upcoming opponent in the division. 

Borralho fought twice last year, earning a second-round submission win against Michal Oleksiejczuk and an unanimous decision win over Abus Magomedov. The Natural has been unbeaten in 15 fights with four fights ending by submission and four bouts ending by KO/TKO. With only one loss in his MMA career, the #14 Middleweight contender will aim to rise up the rankings and earn another UFC win in Brazil. 


Michel Pereira vs Ihor Potieria (UFC Middleweight Bout) - Pereira fought two months ago where he submitted Michal Oleksiejczuk in just over one minute of the first round at UFC 299. Demolidor has been unstoppable since September 2020 as he is currently unbeaten in seven fights. With his last two fights successfully ending in the first round, Pereira will aim to add another one to his MMA record which could see him enter the Middleweight rankings, depending on how the previous fight goes.

Potieria recently fought at UFC Vegas 86 where he defeated Robert Bryczek by unanimous decision to get back in the win column and redeem his two-fight knockout losing streak. The Duelist's last stoppage win came at UFC 283 in Brazil when he defeated the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Mauricio Rua, by first-round TKO. A victory will revive the Ukrainian's career as he looks go begin a winning streak.


Anthony Smith vs Vitor Petrino (UFC Light Heavyweight Bout) - Smith did not have a great year in 2023 as despite earning a split decision win over Ryan Spann, he would lose to Johnny Walker by unanimous decision and Khalil Rountree Jr by third-round TKO. Lionheart will very rarely go the distance in his fights as he has finished 33 opponents whilst suffering 15 stoppage losses himself. The #10 Light Heavyweight contender has the opportunity to not only redeem himself but become the first fighter to defeat Vitor Petrino.

Petrino is undefeated with 11 victories with eight ending by KO/TKO and one ending by submission. Iaco made his UFC debut at the start of 2023 and has looked like a force of nature, dominating his opponents as he has earned two unanimous decision wins, one TKO win and a submission win in the space of a year. Petrino is currently just outside the Light Heavyweight rankings but a win would boost him up to #10 and make himself look like tougher competition for the rest of the division.


Jonathan Martinez vs Jose Aldo (UFC Bantamweight Bout) - Martinez fought twice in 2023, defeating Said Nurmagomedov by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 221 and Adrian Yanez by second round TKO at UFC Vegas 81. The Dragon is unbeaten in six fights with four ending by decision as well as two ending by TKO. The #12 Bantamweight contender has a chance to maintain his spot in the rankings but defeat a former UFC Champion as it is the biggest fight of Martinez's career. 

Aldo comes back from retirement to fight at UFC 301 with his last bout coming against the current #1 Bantamweight contender, Merab Dvalishvili, which he lost by unanimous decision at UFC 278. The former two-time UFC Featherweight Champion fought six times in the Bantamweight division, winning three of those bouts by unanimous decision against the likes of Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font. Known as the King of Rio, Aldo returns to Brazil and looks for redemption in his home country.


Alexandre Pantoja vs Steve Erceg (UFC Flyweight Title Bout) - Pantoja had the best year of his life in 2023 when he defeated Brandon Moreno to become UFC Flyweight Champion at UFC 290 before successfully defending the belt against Brandon Royval at UFC 296. The Cannibal is currently unbeaten in his last five fights and has never been stopped in his MMA career. A win in his home country will se Pantoja joint second for most title wins in UFC Flyweight history as he looks to remain the champion of the division. 

Erceg last fought at UFC Vegas 87 when he knocked out Matt Schnell in the second round, earning his second knockout win in his MMA career. Astroboy has only had three fights with the promotion as he earned two unanimous decision victories in 2023 against David Dvorak at UFC 289 and Alessandro Costa at UFC 295. The #10 Flyweight contender has a chance of winning the UFC title as a big underdog, looking to do the unthinkable in the Farmasi Arena. 


Will Pantoja remain the champion or will Erceg shock the MMA community? Will Jose Aldo return to the UFC with a win?

What are your predictions?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram: undisputed._.mma

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1


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