UFC 300 – Rating the Main Card

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UFC 300 is just around the corner and the countdown is on. We’ve already looked at the preliminary bouts that are scheduled, rated them and given our opinion on them. So let’s look at the main card of UFC 300, supposedly, the biggest fight card in UFC history.

To stay consistent, we will rate each bout on a scale of 1-10. For context, six is an average score. The rating will take into account the competitive nature, ranking change potential, ‘star power’ of each fighter and overall excitement. The structure of the card is as per the UFC. Let’s jump into it!

UFC 300 – Rating the Main Card

Charles Oliveira vs Arman Tsarukyan – 9/10

This is as good a fight as fans can ask for. A lightweight title eliminator between two top contenders with exciting, fan-friendly styles and the potential for an instant classic. The former champion, Charles Oliveira will be looking to continue his title push having TKO’d Beneil Dariush in June of last year. Since then, the UFC finish record holder was scheduled to clash with Islam Makhachev in a rematch, however, suffered a cut, ruling him out. He’s 12-1 in his last 13, headlined four PPVs in his career and is guaranteed box office. He’s more than deserving of a shot at the title, but for the Brazilian, a title eliminator will have to do.

Arman Tsarukyan is the young up and comer who scored the biggest win of his career last time out as he knocked out Daruish in the first round of their Fight Night headliner. He’s more than deserving of an elite contender and in Oliveria, he has just that. He’s heavy handed, has a mauling wrestling game and is always keen to impose his will on his opponents.

This is a highly competitive bout, with both men’s styles gelling well together. Each man is also well known to the masses and the stakes of the fight itself are huge. The winner gets Makhachev, simple.

Bo Nickal vs Cody Brundage – 3/10

This is the lowest rated fight on the card because the outcome so inevitable. This fight isn’t scheduled to be very competitive and is very much an opportunity to showcase Bo Nickal to the masses. He’s got the potential to be a mega-star having gotten an opportunity on the Contender Series at 1-0. He’s good on the mic, has the confidence of a champion and could make real waves in the UFC. We know why this is on the main card, to try and push Nickal, however, it doesn’t deserve the place on the card.

Cody Brundage is 2-3 in his last five fights, with one of those wins coming as a result of a DQ. His last win saw him slam his opponent and consequently get the victory. It’s a highlight, which is arguably why he’s been given the chance to fight on such a big card. He’s never featured on a main card in the UFC, however, does have the chance to massively play the villain and kill the hype of Nickal.

The fight has no ranking potential, the excitement for the fight is very low as is the competitive potential, hence the low score. Why this fight is on the main card is certainly confusing. Possibly it’s because the UFC know that it won’t go long so they’re seeing it as a ‘time saver’ with the potential of multiple fights that could go 25 minutes each!

Max Holloway vs Justin Gaethje – 8/10

Another banger of a fight which is way above average. Both Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway have extremely fan-friendly styles meaning the hype around this one will be huge. Gaethje picked up arguably the biggest win of his career last time out when he head-kicked Dustin Poirier into the abyss to claim the BMF title in July of last year. He’s all action and embodies his nickname, ‘The Highlight’.

Max Holloway is also a massive fan favourite for his never say die attitude and relentless fighting style. His cardio, volume and determination are seemingly unmatched by many, however, he is stepping into Gaethje’s division. Holloway has dominated everyone at featherweight (not named Alexander Volkanovski) and his last two performances have been dominant.

Holloway’s lone jaunt up at 155lbs didn’t go to plan as he was outpointed by Poirier, however, he merely didn’t cut weight for that one, rather than looking to put on legitimate size. He’s had enough warning for this fight, so let’s hope that he has done it effectively.

The BMF title being on the line is what it is, the fight is awesome without it, it serves just to be an added trinket on a great fight.

Zhang Weili vs Yan Xiaonan – 7/10

The co-main event of UFC 300 sees an all Chinese affair as the strawweight champion, Zhang Weili takes on her countrywoman, Yan Xiaonan in a huge fight for not only the division but also for the country.

The champion is enjoying a three-fight run of dominant performances and last time out she battered Amanda Lemos over five straight rounds. Importantly, she’s improving fight on fight and looking better with every performance. She’s a huge star, especially in China and is also a fan favourite. The two women should put on a highly contested bout, especially as there is strawweight gold on the line.

Yan Xiaonan is more than deserving of a shot at gold. She’s won two straight and knocked out the former champion, Jessica Andrade last time out. She’s yet to cross over into the mainstream, however, with a win there’s no doubt she could become a megastar.

Not only are these women fighting for the belt, but they’re fighting for patriotic pride on top of that, which should make for a great fight.

Alex Pereira vs Jamahal Hill – 6/10

Average is exactly what this fight is and what this fight, unfortunately, deserves. The fight, as we know was rushed to be put together and for the biggest fight card in UFC history, this isn’t exactly what people had in mind.

Alex Pereira is a megastar, without a doubt. The Brazilian is a two-weight world champion with a highlight reel to match his feared reputation. His stand-up game is one of the best in the UFC without a doubt and as the reigning light heavyweight champion, he has a crown to defend.

Yes, Jamahal Hill is the former champion. Yes, he never actually lost the belt but relinquished it due to injury. Yes, he’s a heavy handed stand-up fighter who has scored seven knockouts in 12 wins, which would suggest a fan-friendly fight. However, the interest in this fight is minimal. Many are assuming that Pereira will go in there and run through Hill, which could easily happen, however, the American is full of confidence and has the chance to pull off a huge upset.

The fight itself isn’t bad, it makes sense for the current champion to meet the former champion, a man who never actually lost the belt but for UFC 300? Hill, unfortunately, isn’t extremely well known outside of the hardcore fans. He doesn’t ‘get over’ with the casual fan and ultimately, it’s a strange decision to have him co-headline the biggest UFC event in history.

We know that Pereira vs Hill wasn’t Dana White’s first plan for the UFC 300 main spot and it does feel like a fight that has been thrown together at short notice.

Let’s hope that the two men in the main event make us all eat our words and put on an epic fight, but as of yet, it’s the weakest five-rounder on the main card.

Overall Rating – 9/10

There’s one glaringly obvious reason as to why this card isn’t a 10/10 and we know what it is. Nickal has no place on the main card, however, has been gifted it. It isn’t his fault, of course, but as we know, he’s going to get the ‘Dana White push’. Aside from that, every fight on the main card is above average, aside from the headliner. With that being said, Hill vs Pereira could provide fireworks.

Is it the best main card we’ve ever seen? It’s certainly up there, but it isn’t in the top 5 ever, which is what it should be.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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