Pereira favored over Hill in UFC 300 main event

Pereira favored over Hill in UFC 300 main event

We finally have a main event for UFC 300. The promotion announced Saturday that Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira will take on Jamahal Hill in the first defense of his light heavyweight belt on April 13 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

DraftKings opened Pereira as a -162 favorite late Saturday night. The number dipped down to as low as -135 Sunday afternoon but, as of Monday morning, it was back up to -162.

Hill, the 32-year-old former 205-pound champion who relinquished his belt after sustaining a torn Achilles while playing basketball last July, was a +136 underdog.

The 36-year-old Pereira (9-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) won his first three UFC bouts, including a first-round KO win over Sean Strickland, to earn a shot at Israel Adesanya’s middleweight championship at UFC 281 in November of 2022. Pereira had already beaten ‘The Last Stylebender’ twice in kickboxing and he improved to 3-0 vs. Adesanya by beating him via fifth-round knockout as a +170 underdog.

Adesanya was granted an immediate rematch and finally defeated Pereira by second-round KO on April 8 of last year at UFC 287.

After that loss, Pereira decided to move up to light heavyweight. He had a chance to get into the 205-pound title mix quickly when he was booked to face former LHW champ, Jan Blachowicz, at UFC 291 last July.

Pereira edged Blachowicz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) as an even-money underdog. Then when Hill vacated his belt, Pereira was given a title shot against Jiri Prochazka in the UFC 295 co-main event this past November.

Pereira beat Prochazka via second-round KO as a +150 underdog.

Hill (12-1-0-1 MMA, 6-1-0-1 UFC) is on a four-fight winning streak. He took his only career defeat when he was submitted by Paul Craig 119 seconds into their UFC 263 battle on June 12 of 2021.

Hill got back into the win column with a 48-second KO win over Jimmy Crute. He earned a Performance of the Night bonus in the win over Crute and bagged another extra $50,000 with a POTN bonus in his first-round KO win over Johnny Walker in February of 2022.

In August of 2022, Hill beat Thiago Santos via fourth-round KO in a main event spot that was dubbed the Fight of the Night.

When Prochazka sustained a shoulder injury that prompted him to vacate the belt late in 2022, Hill and Glover Teixeira were booked to collide for the LHW strap. Hill won a UD over Teixeira (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) in the UFC 283 main event on Jan. 21 of 2023.

According to UFC President Dana White, there’s only one fight left to add to the UFC 300 card. It won’t be Leon Edwards’s next defense of his welterweight belt, although White said that Edwards happily accepted three different potential opponents to face at UFC 300.

White said this past Saturday night that the UFC 300 co-main event will be the women’s strawweight scrap between Yan Xiaonan and Zhang Weili, who will be defending her belt as a favorite in the -333 to -375 range.

White has said that the show’s curtain jerker will be a bantamweight bout between Cody Garbrandt and Deiveson Figueiredo. That fact speaks to the depth of the card in that two former champions are slotted as the opener of the Early Prelims. Garbrandt is a former bantamweight champion, while Figueiredo is a former flyweight champ.

Figueiredo won his 135-pound debut in December when he captured a UD victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Rob Font.

As of Feb. 19, Figueiredo was installed as a -340 favorite vs. Garbrandt, who was a +270 underdog. The 32-year-old Garbrandt has recovered from a 1-5 slump to win back-to-back fights for the first time since 2016.

The other two fights on the Early Prelims include a featherweight contest between Diego Lopes (-162 favorite at DraftKings) and Sodiq Yusuff (+136) and a women’s bantamweight contest between Holly Holm and Kayla Harrison, who will be making her promotional debut in what’s also her first appearance at 135 pounds.

The three other main card fights are Max Holloway vs. Justin Gaethje (for the BMF strap), Aljamain Sterling vs. Calvin Kattar and Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan.

Sterling, the former bantamweight champion, is making his featherweight debut vs. Kattar, who is returning from a torn ACL sustained on Oct. 29 of 2022 in a loss to Arnold Allen.

We hit on a few other UFC 300 scraps and the odds for those matchups in this piece last month. Also, you can read about this past Saturday’s UFC 298 results here.