What’s Next: UFC 300 Winners

Alex Pereira UFC 300
Alex Pereira, UFC 300 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC 300 is in the books and against all odds and the wrath of the Fight Gods, the event somehow not only met expectations but arguably surpassed them. Even more impressive, the card held together, with not a single cancellation to be found.

Some big performances closed out the night, from the insane last second KO of Justin Gaethje by Max Holloway, to Alex Pereira pushing away ref Herb Dean (who was attempting to call a low blow endured by ‘Poatan’) so he could decimate Jamahal Hill.

What comes next for the main card’s big winners? Our take is below.

Alex Pereira

The light heavyweight king made his first title defense in UFC 300’s main event when his patented left hook knocked Jamahal Hill stiff. Due to taking next to zero damage in the fight, the champ immediately asked to be given a fight next month in his home country of Brazil, at heavyweight so he does not have to cut. In the past there were rumblings about Pereira fighting Tom Aspinall for the Brit’s interim heavyweight belt, but Aspinall has his heart set on a date at UFC 304 in Manchester, his home city.

The UFC could still give him a fight in Brazil though. Jairzinho Rozenstruik would be a good opponent, a ranked heavyweight coming off a win who is also a former kickboxer, though not of Poatan’s pedigree. Rozenstruik is from the neighboring country of Suriname, as well. It makes sense, but the most likely outcome is still that Pereira defends his belt presumptive number one contender Magomed Ankalaev next, later this year.

Pereira’s Next Fight: vs Magomed Ankalaev

Zhang Weili

Strawweight champion Zhang Weili won the first all-Chinese title fight in UFC history by dispatching Yan Xiaonan by a 49-45 decision. Xiaonan made it interesting with some sharp counters when Weili threw kicks, but the powerful wrestling of the queen was too much, as Zhang even almost submitted Yan and almost TKOed her with ground strikes.

The strawweight division is somewhat lacking for contenders at the moment. Jessica Andrade won her second fight in a row on this card, but ahead of her has to be Tatiana Suarez, who submitted Andrade last year. The wrestling prodigy has not competed since then, but her 10-0 pro record, ‘Ultimate Fighter’ title, and 7-0 UFC record, including two submission wins since her return from injury last year, means she’s as deserving contender as there is.

Weili’s Next Fight: vs Tatiana Suarez

Max Holloway

“To be the best you got to beat the best, and the best is Blessed.” Those words ring true now more than ever, as Max Holloway staked his claim as one of the BMFs of human history, not just of the UFC today, with his epic, buzzer-beater knockout of Justin Gaethje as the two made a gentleman’s agreement to stand and trade for the final seconds of their fight. Holloway now becomes the BMF belt-holder but clearly has his eyes set on a different prize, a realer one: his old featherweight championship.

Alexander Volkanovski was Max’s Achilles Heel, but Volk was dethroned by Ilia Topuria earlier this year. Among contenders, Holloway clearly has the strongest case even though the Gaethje bout was at 155-lbs; his wins over Arnold Allen and ‘Korean Zombie’ hold a lot of weight. Evloev and Ortega wait in the wings, but their runs are less impressive and they do not have the legacy as a champ – an all-time great champion at that – to push them into a title shot. Holloway VS Topuria for the rumored Spain card later this year would be blockbuster, especially if made at Topuria’s local stadium of Santiago Bernabeu, the famous home of Real Madrid FC.

Holloway’s Next Fight: vs Ilia Topuria

Arman Tsarukyan

Armenia’s pride and joy notched his biggest career win by split decision at UFC 300 as his dominant wrestling and ground elbows outweighed Charles Oliveira’s close submission attempts in the judges’ eyes. He was offered a title fight against Islam Makhachev at UFC 302 immediately after his win, but seven weeks turnaround was too soon. Still, he is the clear number one contender after Justin Gaethje lost, so he should wait for his title shot against the winner of Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier.

Tsarukyan’s Next Fight: vs winner of Makhachev/Poirier

Bo Nickal

After three wins by finish against lower tier opponents in the UFC it is time for a step up in competition for the All-American and national wrestling champion. An appropriate step up would be a middleweight like Christian Leroy Duncan, who is a dangerous striker, solid wrestler, was a Cage Warriors champion, is on a two fight winning streak, and is 3-1 in the UFC overall. CLD looked better than ever in his last fight and would perhaps give Bo Nickal his first real test in MMA.

Nickal’s Next Fight: vs Christian Leroy Duncan