Thursday, May 30, 2024

UFC 300 | The Crystal Ball: What next for Pereira, Zhang, Holloway & Tsarukyan

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Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Jamahal Hill. The Brazilian managed to knock the American down with a striking punch and then finished the fight with more punches on the ground. Pereira’s first title defense of his run at light heavyweight. Pereira has several options in the division, but would like to fight at heavyweight next month in Brazil. However, the UFC has already made promos and posters for that event and has also announced the main event. This makes staying in your own weight class the most logical.

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UFC 300 | Pereira knocks out Hill in the first round

Earlier in the evening, Jiri Prochazka won against Aleksandar Rakic. The Czech announced that he wanted a rematch against Pereira. Pereira himself said afterwards that he would prefer to fight someone he had not fought against yet. The most obvious option is former title challenger Magomed Ankalaev. The Russian won via knockout against Johnny Walker in January and has been in the waiting room for a title fight ever since. Afterwards, Pereira was more interested in a match against Ankalaev than a rematch against Prochazka. And that match against Ankalaev is in principle also the most interesting match in that division at the moment.

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UFC Vegas 84 | Ankalaev knocks out Walker in the second round

Zhang Weili

Zhang Weili won after five rounds via unanimous decision against compatriot Yan Xiaonan. However, one had to wonder if Yan would have ever been allowed to fight the second round as she was knocked unconscious at the end of the first round by a Rear Naked Choke from Zhang. However, referee Jason Herzog decided differently, allowing Yan to continue. Yan put up a more than decent fight for the remainder, but was ultimately no match for Zhang.

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UFC 300 | Zhang wins Chinese match against Yan and remains champion

There isn’t much left for Zhang to fight in the strawweight division. Although there is another challenge that perhaps has the best chance of winning in terms of style. Tatiana Suarez has been plagued by injuries throughout her career, but is tipped by friends and foes as the future champion of the division. The American is close to a title fight and could be a very interesting challenge for Zhang. In fact, that might be the match the UFC should make for Zhang’s next defense should she remain active in the division and not want to test herself at flyweight.

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UFC Nashville | Suarez also finishes Andrade and seems on his way to the title

Max Holloway

The star of UFC 300 was Max Holloway. The fighter from Hawaii collected $600,000 in bonuses by winning his Fight of the Night and the knockout in the last second of the fight against Justin Gaethje. He also won the BMF title. Holloway fought an excellent match and gave Gaethje little to no chance. With the victory over Gaethje, Holloway gave himself opportunities for both the featherweight and lightweight titles in the future.

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UFC 300 | Holloway knocks Gaethje out badly in the very last second

Holloway said he wants to return to featherweight to take on Ilia Topuria. ‘Blessed’ sees his chances now that Alexander Volkanovski, to whom he lost three times, is no longer champion. It basically seems like a no-brainer that the UFC Topuria vs. Holloway is going to do. Topuria previously said he had no interest in a fight against ‘old man Holloway’, but changed his mind last night and said that with the victory over Gaethje, Holloway will undisputedly be his next opponent. The UFC knows what to do.

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UFC 298 | Topuria severely knocks out Volkanovski and takes the title

Arman Tsarukyan

If Arman Tsarukyan was not yet seen as a legitimate top competitor, he proved last weekend against Charles Oliveira that he belongs to the absolute top of the division. The Armenian struggled in parts of the match (especially in the first round) against the former champion, but ultimately triumphed via split decision and then requested a title fight with champion Islam Makhachev.

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UFC 300 | Tsarukyan wins close fight against Oliveira

Tsarukyan and the audience were unaware at the time that Makhachev was already booked to face Dustin Poirier on June 1. As a result, Tsarukyan will have to choose to fight another bout or wait with the possibility that the UFC takes a different path and does not let him fight for the title. In principle, Tsarukyan could return to Abu Dhabi in six months to face either Makhachev or Poirier. It depends on what the UFC wants.

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UFC 294 | Makhachev knocks out Volkanovski in the first round

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