UFC 300 – Rating the Preliminary Bouts

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UFC 300 is set to go down on April 14th, live from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. Headlining the blockbuster card is a light heavyweight title bout between Alex Pereira and Jamahal Hill. The whole card is stacked from top to bottom and we will take a look at the preliminary card in more detail.

Stacked with legends, up-and-comers, debutants and former champions, 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 Preliminary Bouts

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Cody Garbrandt – 7/10

This is a good, competitive fight that has implications in the bantamweight division, features two stars and is exciting. As we know, these two men were previously booked for the flyweight title back in 2020, however, Garbrandt had to withdraw from the fight with a torn bicep. Since then, No Love has gone 2-2, but most importantly, got back to his blistering best with a first round knockout of Brian Kelleher last time out.

Deiveson Figueiredo is 3-2 since then and made a successful start to life at 135lbs with a dominant victory over Rob Font in December. He’s ranked #8 as it stands, however, would benefit from another signature win at bantamweight to really put his name in the title picture. A win over a former champion and fan favourite does just that.

With a combined 31 finishes, these two men are all action and more often than not put on an exciting show. Questions will be asked and certainly answered when these two throw down in Vegas, making it an above average fight.

Bobby Green vs Jim Miller – 5/10

It’s a nostalgic fight for sure. It’s one for the romantics as Jim Miller competed at UFC 100, UFC 200 and now will compete at UFC 300. The fight itself isn’t a bad one, it’s competitive because both men are at a similar point in their careers. Bobby Green is clinging on to his #14 lightweight spot having lost to Jalin Turner last time out in devastating fashion.

Jim Miller is seeing somewhat of a career revival with five wins in his last six, including two finishes in his last two bouts. With that being said, neither man is going to be keeping Islam Makhachev up at night. The starpower of each man isn’t there to the ‘casual’ fan, but there is a potential for a rankings change.

Jessica Andrade vs Marina Rodriguez – 6/10

This is a fun, competitive bout. We have a former champion in Jessica Andrade look to make it two straight after a big performance last time out taking on fellow country woman, Marina Rodriguez, who also looks to make it two straight. It’s certainly a well matched, closely contested fight at a weight class that is fairly shallow. #4 Andrade could find herself in the title picture with a big win here, especially with the belt being competed for on the same card. For #6 Rodriguez, it would likely take one more win to get a title shot.

As far as star power, none of these women are superstars or potential super stars. Andrade has the more potential as she has the highlight reel with multiple big knockouts on her record, whereas Rodriguez is more of a point fighter, especially in her UFC career. This fight could easily be a Fight Night headliner, so as a preliminary fight on a mega card it is average. The overall excitement level is mid-level as there could be championship consequences.

Jalin Turner vs Renato Moicano – 7/10

Another above average fight takes place in the lightweight division. The final fight announced on the card is between ranked 155ers Jalin Turner and Renato Moicano. These two men are all action with all 14 of Turner’s wins coming via finish and 10 of Moicano’s 18 wins being via finish.

This is a fan-friendly scrap which has ranking implications and is highly competitive. Although the star-power of both men may not be there for the casual viewer, a simple highlight package of each man’s achievements allows them to ‘get over’ with ease. Moicano is active on social media meaning that he will do a good job of promoting the fight itself and Turner is all business as soon as the cage door closes. Another fight which could easily be a Fight Night headliner so to have it on the preliminary card is an asset.

Sodiq Yusuff vs Diego Lopes – 6/10

Again, this is an average fight but does feature two exciting fighters. The fight is certainly competitive with one man (Yusuff) ranked and Lopes coming for that ranking spot. Again, this could easily be a Fight Night headliner in another universe, but as a preliminary bout, it’s a good fight. What really makes this fight exciting is the style of each man.

The heavy hands of Yusuff make him a must-watch, however, he is coming off a loss last time out. Lopes, on the other hand, is one of the most exciting fan-favourite fighters to burst onto the roster in recent times. Despite losing his promotional debut on short notice to Movsar Evloev, Lopes bounced back in emphatic fashion, picking up back-to-back first-round finish victories. His two UFC wins earned him performance of the night bonuses, proving just how good he is.

Lopes certainly has star power potential but as of yet, hasn’t crossed over into the mainstream. The overall excitement for this bout is high, however, and this is largely due to the return of Lopes against a highly talented opponent in Yusuff.

Holly Holm vs Kayla Harrison – 8/10

There’s a reason that this one is ranked highly and with the greatest of respect to the former champion, Holly Holm, it isn’t because of her. The long-awaited and long-overdue debut of Kayla Harrison is what makes this fight above average. The signing of a megastar (albeit outside of the UFC) can never be a bad thing, especially if you’re the UFC. They either get a legitimate star and potential title contender in Harrison, or they prove that the UFC is the elite organisation and no one from ‘outside’ can compete with the best.

There’s also a competitive nature to this one. Holm is a hall of famer in the world of boxing and more than likely a UFC hall of famer. She’s a former champion, has a number of good wins to her name as well as highlight finishes on her record. She’s a multiple time UFC title challenger in various different weight classes so will provide an extremely tough test for the former two-time PFL season champion.

What makes this one so intriguing and such a potentially exciting fight is the multiple questions that need to be asked before the bout starts. Will Kayla Harrison make the 135lbs limit? With a win, does Harrison thrust herself straight into the title picture? With a loss, does Holm hang them up? All will be revealed at UFC 300.

Calvin Kattar vs Aljamain Sterling – 8/10

This is potentially the best fight on the entire preliminary card. Very rarely do we ever see a former champion (a fighter than only lost his belt in his previous fight) feature on the prelims, but that is what we’ve got here. Aljamain Sterling, the former bantamweight champion and many people’s pick for bantamweight GOAT, will move up in weight to clash with top contender, Calvin Kattar.

This one should be competitive and provides a lot of questions. Kattar is coming off a long lay-off due to injury, but again, there’s a reason that he’s been given a spot on UFC 300. He’s all action, exciting and extremely dangerous on the feet. He has lost his last two, however, and will be fully focused on getting back in the win column. Standing in his way is Sterling, a man who is long overdue a move up in weight to 145lbs. He suffered a knockout loss to Sean O’Malley last time out and is now risking it by going up in weight.

The two men have reasonable star power and with a win, Sterling could insert himself right in the mix at featherweight. A well above average fight for sure.

Jiri Prochazka vs Aleksandar Rakic – 8/10

After stating that we rarely get a champion who has just lost his belt competing on the prelims with Aljo, we have a similar case headlining the prelims. Jiri Prochazka, the former light heavyweight champion will meet Aleksandar Rakic having lost to UFC 300 headliner, Alex Pereira last time out in a vacant title bout. Prior to that, he put on top performance after top performance with three straight finishes and four post-fight bonuses. He was enjoying a 13-fight winning run before he ran into Pereira.

Rakic has been the nearly man on a number of occasions, losing out just when it matters most, however, a win over the former champion will boost his title hopes for sure. With two top-five-ranked light heavyweights, the overall excitement is huge as is the competitive nature. Prochazka has headlined two PPVs and Rakic has headlined two fight night cards, so the UFC are clearly keen on both men, meaning that their star power must be high.

It’s a great fight and deservedly on such a big card. It’s a loss to the main card without a doubt.

Overall rating – 8/10

On the prelims, we will see six former UFC champions, the debut of Harrison (who just happens to be an Olympic gold medallist) and the legend that is Jim Miller. Not bad at all!

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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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