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Alex Pereira of Brazil punches Jamahal Hill in the UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
UFC 300

The Bigger Picture | UFC 300

Addressing Some Of The Key Takeaways From Saturday’s Historic Event at T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas

After more than a dozen years covering this sport and having been in attendance for some truly memorable and historic moments during that time, it’s rare that I’m rendered speechless after an event, but that’s what happened on Saturday night.

UFC 300 was even more spectacular than anyone could have imagined, with tremendous championship performances, a moment for the ages courtesy of Max Holloway, and so much to unpack that it took me most of Sunday to process my thoughts and figure out just what to discuss here because the options were so vast.

This was a magical night that served as yet another reminder of why I love this sport and its athletes so much.

Now let’s get into it.

Unprecedented Pereira

Alex Pereira of Brazil reacts to his knockout of Jamahal Hill in the UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Alex Pereira of Brazil reacts to his knockout of Jamahal Hill in the UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

What Alex Pereira is doing is, frankly, preposterous, and the fact that he’s now starting to add style points and a little personality to things makes it even more incredible.

“Poatan” didn’t just successfully defend the light heavyweight title against Jamahal Hill in Saturday night’s main event, he made another emphatic statement about the danger he presents to anyone that steps into the Octagon with him. The fact that the finishing sequence began with the champion waving off referee Herb Dean as he tried to pause the fight following a low blow is incredible, and Pereira gesturing at Hill as he lay on the canvas once the bout was halted served as a perfect bookend.

Alex Pereira Post-Fight Press Conference | UFC 300
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Alex Pereira Post-Fight Press Conference | UFC 300
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The champion is now 7-1 in the UFC, having won gold in two divisions and each of his last five wins coming against individuals that held championship gold at one point or another, and he’s done it all in less than three years. Everyone can be beaten and we’ve already seen Pereira stopped inside the Octagon, but he looks like an even more domineering force now that he’s competing in the 205-pound weight class and he has a real opportunity to lord over this division long term, if he so chooses.

RELATED: Alex Pereira Post-Fight Interview | Octagon Interview

But he could also venture up to heavyweight and seek to become the first person to win UFC gold in three weight classes. He has the size and frame for it — he’s an inch shorter in both height and reach than interim champ Tom Aspinall — and there is no reason to believe his thunderous power won’t translate up a division.

Whether he embarks on a quest to defend his title or chases after another one, what Pereira has done to this point in his UFC career is unprecedented and seeing how the next chapter unfolds is going to be thrilling to watch.

A Fight in Four Parts

Zhang Weili Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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Zhang Weili Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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The strawweight title clash between Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan felt like a four-part miniseries playing out inside the Octagon on Saturday night.

In Part I, Yan started well, flashing her speed and showing Zhang she was going to be in tough before the champion took the fight to the canvas and dominated, seemingly earning the finish with the challenger on the brink of unconsciousness at the close of the opening round.

RELATED: Zhang Weili Post-Fight Press Conference

In Part II, Zhang asserted her dominance, dragging Yan back to the canvas and punishing her, staying one step ahead at all times while chasing submissions and piling up meaningful offensive output. Once more, it seemed like the challenger was primed to be dispatched, but again, Yan endured.

 Zhang Weili of China and Yan Xiaonan of China exchange strikes during their strawweight championship title fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Zhang Weili of China and Yan Xiaonan of China exchange strikes during their strawweight championship title fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

In Part III, the challenger rallied, taking advantage of Zhang’s fatigue to snatch all the momentum and work her way back into the fight. The sharp, precise hands she flashed in the early moments of the contest returned and stung the champion, leaving many to wonder if a changing of the guard was in the offing.

In Part IV, Zhang showed her championship pedigree and big fight experience, recognizing her advantage on the canvas and selling out to get the fight there in each of the final two rounds to salt away a unanimous decision win.

For a fight that ended with lopsided 49-45 scores, this was a captivating battle between two outstanding talents, and a fitting entry into the UFC history books.

What to Say About Max Holloway?

Max Holloway Knocks Out Justin Gaethje, Wins BMF Belt | UFC 300
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Max Holloway Knocks Out Justin Gaethje, Wins BMF Belt | UFC 300
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There was no reason for Holloway to beckon Justin Gaethje to the center of the Octagon for a 10-second punch-up to close out their BMF title fight in the middle of the UFC 300 pay-per-view main card — he was up on the scorecards and seconds away from an outstanding win, but sitting on a lead has never been in Holloway’s character.

MORE MAX: Post-Fight Interview | Post-Fight Press Conference

So just as he did with Ricardo Lamas 101 numbered events early, “Blessed” called Gaethje forward, his foe obliged, and they started swinging, with the Hawaiian finding Gaethje’s chin and instantly finishing him.

People are rightfully going to talk about the finish and the “call to battle” from Holloway, but this whole performance was masterful. Not only did the former featherweight kingpin look better suited to his second appearance in the lightweight division during his UFC tenure, but he showed the kind of technical brilliance and mastery that made him such a dominant force during his march to the top of the 145-pound weight class and extended reign as its ruler.

Max Holloway reacts to defating Justin Gaethje in their BMF title fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Max Holloway reacts to defating Justin Gaethje in their BMF title fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

He used his length and varied his targets. His footwork was sharp, he was defensively responsible and showed good durability, and mixed in weapons we hadn’t seen him use too often in recent fights, like the spinning back kick that found Gaethje’s nose and left it shattered at the end of the first round.

Holloway stayed tight, stayed within himself at all times, chipping away, chipping away, chipping away until the opportunity presented itself for him to land something bigger, and then he did. It was that way throughout the fight.

Touch-touch-touch-POP! Touch-touch-POP! Touch-POP! POP!

This was the best Holloway has looked in quite some time, and that’s saying something because he once embarked on a 13-fight winning streak that included winning and successfully defending the featherweight title, and then styled on Calvin Katter in the first main event of 2021 on Fight Island.

On Saturday night, “Blessed” was indeed the best.

Quick Hitters

Arman Tsarukyan Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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Arman Tsarukyan Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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Arman Tsarukyan is going to be UFC lightweight champion at some point; it’s just unclear when he’s going to get the opportunity to fight for gold. The 27-year-old extended his winning streak to four with a gritty win over Charles Oliveira on the main card, and has consistently shown all the attributes and qualities you look for in a future champion.

Bo Nickal is an outstanding prospect, but people need to remember that he’s just six fights into his professional MMA career and give him time to progress. The former Hodge Trophy winner asked for that grace following his win over Cody Brundage on Saturday, and should be given it because given his skill set and clear talent, the unbeaten 28-year-old could develop into a legitimate middleweight contender with time.

Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic punches Aleksandar Rakic of Austria during their light heavyweight fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic punches Aleksandar Rakic of Austria during their light heavyweight fight at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The way that Jiri Prochazka fights is akin to the way I used to play fighting games at the arcade or on different gaming systems — he marches forward at all times, eschewing defense almost entirely in order to attack, confident he’ll do more damage when he lands. It worked against Aleksandar Rakic over the weekend, further adding to the former champion’s reputation as a beloved all-action fighter and must-see attraction.

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Kayla Harrison looked outstanding. We throw around terms like “elite” and “world-class” too casually in this sport at times, but the bantamweight newcomer is both of those things, and it showed in her defeat of Holly Holm. A championship fight before the end of the year feels undeniable at this point.

Kayla Harrison Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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Kayla Harrison Post-Fight Interview | UFC 300
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It’s time to find out if Diego Lopes is ready to be a title contender in the 145-pound weight class. The Brazilian blazed through Sodiq Yusuff, registering his third straight stoppage win in roughly 90 seconds and should land opposite a Top 10 opponent next time out. Could I interest you in a main event clash with fellow UFC 300 winner Aljamain Sterling, who looked good in his featherweight debut win over Calvin Kattar?

Renato Moicano and Bobby Green are everything you could want from veteran fighters still trying to push forward and deliver entertaining fights every time out. At some point, they have to share the Octagon together.

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Jessica Andrade remains a Top 5 talent wherever she competes, and became the female fighter with the most wins in UFC history by defeating Marina Rodriguez on Saturday.

Deiveson Figueiredo continued to look sharp in his new surroundings, submitting former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt in the opener. It’s time to pair him off with a Top 5 talent and figure out if he’s primed to contend in the 135-pound ranks.

One Last Thing

Daniel Cormier, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik react to the knockout of Justin Gaethje in the BMF championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Daniel Cormier, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik react to the knockout of Justin Gaethje in the BMF championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

A round of applause is in order for the entire production and broadcast teams because UFC 300 had that “massive event” feel from the outset, in large part because both of those units conveyed the magnitude and historic nature of the show the whole way through.

MORE 300: Renato Moicano Octagon InterviewDana White Post-Fight Press Conference | Diego Lopes Post-Fight Interview | Mark Coleman Backstage Interview

From the various throwback graphics and tremendous video packages to an excellent night on comms from Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, Daniel Cormier, and Megan Olivi, Saturday night was an absolute home run performance from those on the mic and behind the scenes, and I want to make sure to give them their flowers.

Megan Olivi announces the fights during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Megan Olivi announces the fights during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

And with that, I’m out.

See you again after UFC 301.

UFC 300: Pereira vs Hill took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 13, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass