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UFC 301 Tips – Pantoja vs Erceg

Headlined by Steve Erceg challenging Alexandre Pantoja for the UFC Flyweight Championship, the UFC 301 card showcases five great fights that include the likes of Jose Aldo, Paul Craig and Anthony Smith.

UFC 300 Tips

Alexandre Pantoja (c) vs Steve Erceg

Career Records:

Pantoja – 27-5 (8 wins by KO/TKO)

Erceg – 12-1 (2 wins by KO/TKO)

Last Bouts: 

Pantoja def Royval – Decision (unanimous) – UFC 296, December 2023

Erceg def Schnell – KO (punches) – UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Gaziev, March 2024

Analysis: 

As the UFC heads to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Alexandre Pantoja will be looking to defend the UFC Flyweight Championship against Australian contender Steve Erceg from Perth, who is coming off a ‘Performance of the Night’ showing against Matt Schnell.

Fighting in an orthodox stance, Erceg has been 3-0 in the Octagon since joining the UFC, which has included two ‘Performance of the Night’ bouts. One of the best boxers in the promotion, the Australian is a great striker and will be looking to win via KO/TKO. This has seen him land 4.57 strikes per minute and average 1.69 takedowns per 15 minutes.

Considered the underdog, Erceg will face title-winner Alexandre Pantoja. The overall favourite, the Brazilian fighter, is more known for his submission and takedown game, so if Erceg remains on his feet, a win for him is inevitable.

Ahead of the match between the two fighters, former UFC Featherweight Champion and one of the best Australian MMA fighters of all time, Alexander Volkanovski predicted Erceg would take the win.

“I think [Erceg] gets it done. I think he brings the belt back home to Australia,” he said on Fox Sports Australia.

“That’s what we wanna see, and that’s what’s gonna happen. I think he can get it done in the third round – a finish. I’m just gonna say a finish in the third round.”

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Jonathan Martinez vs Jose Aldo

Career Records:

Martinez – 19-4 (9 wins by KO/TKO)

Aldo – 31-8 (17 wins by KO/TKO)

Last Bouts: 

Martinez def Yanez – TKO – UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza, October 2023

Aldo def by Dvalishvili – Decision (unanimous) – UFC 278, August 2022

Analysis: 

In Jose Aldo’s return match in the UFC for the first time since losing to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 278 in 2022, the Brazilian will be back in the Octagon for the first time in nearly two years in his home country. His return will see him take on Jonathan ‘The Dragon’ Martinez, who is on a six-fight win streak at the moment.

Arguably the biggest fight of Martinez’s career, ‘The Dragon’ has one of the best left-legs in the promotion, amazing footwork and will use his speed around the Octagon to his advantage. This will see him likely hide his kicks behind his punches.

However, while Martinez has won his past six fights, Jose Aldo is not to be underestimated. He is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time and the best Brazil has to offer, with a stupendous striking game. The 37-year-old will be looking to use all the tools at his disposal; he has a great history in Muay Thai and an incredible defensive game.

Ahead of the match between the two fighters, former UFC Featherweight Champion and one of the best Australian MMA fighters of all time, Alexander Volkanovski predicted Aldo would take the win.

“I think Aldo gets it done,” Volkanovski said on Fox Sports Australia.

“I think he’s still – that fast twitch is still there, same technical guy we’ve always seen. He’s still boxing…Martinez is obviously on a win streak, but I’m gonna back the local hero José Aldo.”

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Anthony Smith vs Vitor Petrino

Career Records:

Smith – 37-19 (20 wins by KO/TKO)

Petrino – 11-0 (7 wins by KO/TKO)

Last Bouts: 

Smith def by Rountree Jr. – TKO (punches) – UFC Fight Night: Song vs Gutierrez, December 2023

Petrino def Pedro – Decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Gaziev, March 2024

Analysis: 

The fight between Anthony Smith and Vitor Petrino will showcase two different types of fighters through their form and record. A 56-fight MMA veteran, Smith has struggled recently, having only won one of his last four fights in the Octagon, whereas Petrino remains undefeated as an MMA fighter and has emerged victorious by KO/TKO in seven of the last 11 matches he has taken part of.

Petrino, the 26-year-old Brazilian, has recorded four consecutive victories, with two of those coming via stoppages. Moving up the rankings, ‘Icao’ has good fundamentals as a fighter and is an incredible athletic prospect. With a well-rounded fighting game and perfect stamina, Petrina is likely to record an early stoppage against his opponent. With Smith struggling to fight, a Petrino victory via KO/TKO is in the works.

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Michel Pereira vs Ihor Potieria

Career Records:

Pereira – 30-11 (2) (11 wins by KO/TKO)

Potieria – 21-5 (10 wins by KO/TKO)

Last Bouts: 

Pereira def Oleksiejczuk – Technical submission – UFC 299, March 2024

Potieria def Bryczek – Decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Pyfer, February 2024

Analysis: 

Set to be one of the closest fights on the card, with no sure-fire winner, Michel Pereira and Ihor Potieria will go head-to-head and throw everything at each other, from punches to kicks to takedowns and submissions.

Pereira will enter the fight having won his past seven in a row, while Potieria will step up to the challenge on short notice after taking the place of the injured Makhmud Muradov. Only competing recently at UFC 299, it’s hard to see him physically matching up to his opponent. Pereira is likely to finish as the winner, having beaten good competition recently, and while he may be considered as a wildcard he always manages to emerge victorious when considered the favourite of the bout.

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Paul Craig vs Caio Borralho

Career Records:

Craig – 17-7 (1) (4 wins by KO/TKO)

Borralho – 15-1 (1) (4 wins by KO/TKO)

Last Bouts: 

Craig def by Allen  – Submission – UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Craig, November 2023

Borralho def Magomedov – Decision (unanimous) – UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs Lewis, November 2023

Analysis: 

With only one loss to his name and winning five consecutive fights in a row,  Borralho will be eager to extend his perfect form in his native country of Brazil. A former member of the Contender Series with a record of 2-0, Borralho is the heavy favourite going up against the 17-fight UFC veteran Paul Craig.

While it is hard to predict what to get when it comes to Craig, due to his unique fighting style, such as swingingly wildly or pulling takedowns and submissions out of nowhere, the veteran will enter the bout with everything he has. However, with the home cheers and crowd behind him, Borralho is likely to end this match either quickly via a KO/TKO or by decision having gone the distance. Borralho is a submission master and is coming off a victory over Magomedev in last November.

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