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UFC 300 Prelims Preview And Predictions

UFC 300 Prelims Preview
It is time to preview the UFC 300 prelims. The card is stacked and features sensational fights on the prelims that should have fans excited. (Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC 300 Prelims Preview and Predictions

UFC 300 is here. The card is arguably the most stacked event in the company’s history. The event includes title fights, champions, fan favorites, ranked fighters, entertaining scraps, and more. The stacked lineup of fights extends past the main card and features sensational fights on the prelims and early prelims. In honor of the historic card, the Vendetta Sports Media preview series will cover the main card, prelims, and early prelims.

Join Vendetta Sports Media as we preview and predict the UFC 300 prelims. You can find out prediction records below.

James: 35-27

Garrett: 36-26

Jerry: 27-29

Anthony: 31-31

No. 13 Sodiq Yusuff vs. Diego Lopes- Featherweight Bout 

James: The UFC 300 prelims begin with a featherweight scrap between Sodiq Yusuff and Diego Lopes. This fight should be an entertaining matchup as both fighters are violent and dangerous. Yusuff is 6-2 in the UFC with his only losses coming against Edson Barboza and Arnold Allen. Lopes is 2-1 in the promotion. In his debut, he took on Mosvar Evloev on short notice and proved to be a UFC-caliber fighter despite dropping the fight. In subsequent bouts, he picked up consecutive wins while being an entertaining fighter with dangerous finishing skills.  

Yusuff is a powerful striker who looks to get in his opponent’s face and land counters. This is a strong game plan because he is comfortable sitting in the pocket and looking for impactful shots. Yusuff lands great counter hooks and big leg kicks when his opponent commits to shots. In addition, he can use the threat of his power to make his feints effective and open more windows for strikes. 

Lopes has finishing skills on the feet and ground. Lopes throws massive shots on the feet and he has knockout power. On the ground, he chains submissions and constantly threatens opponents. Most importantly, Lopes spends the entire fight hunting for a finish. That puts his opponents in danger for 15 minutes. 

This fight promises violence and creates an interesting clash of styles. In the early moments of this fight, Yusuff and Lopes both have extreme amounts of finish potential; however, Yusuff tends to tail off as the fight progresses. Similarly, he has shown that his chin can be questionable at times. Still, I am picking him to win this fight. Lopes’ constant strive for violence is concerning in this matchup because he will leave himself open to get hit. If Yusuff lands clean shots, he can finish the fight early. I will take Yusuff by first-round knockout

Garrett: Lopes via TKO

Jerry: Lopes via KO/TKO

Anthony: Yusuff via decisison

No. 5 Holly Holm vs. Kayla Harrison- Women’s Bantamweight Bout 

James: The UFC 300 prelims play host to a women’s bantamweight bout between Holly Holm and Kayla Harrison. Holm is one of the most accomplished female fighters of all time. In the UFC, she was the first fighter to beat Ronda Rousey and won the women’s bantamweight title as a result. Overall, she has gone 8-6 with a no-contest in the promotion. On top of that, Holm had an outstanding boxing career and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The UFC legend will be the opponent for Harrison’s promotional debut. Still, she has a decorated combat sports resume. Harrison is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo. In MMA, she has gone 16-1 while fighting outside of the UFC. All but one of those bouts came in the PFL. 

Holm, 42, has significantly changed her fighter style to lengthen her fighting career. In her prime, she was a great striker who could compete from the outside with boxing combinations and impressive kicks. Recently, she has focused on controlling fights in the clinch. If possible, she likes to get fights to the ground as well. 

Harrison’s MMA game is understandably tied to her judo background. The game plan is to get to the clinch and work to the ground. At times, she will shoot traditional wrestling takedowns. That is a nice wrinkle in her skills. Most of the time, Harrison can get the fight to the ground because she has great clinch technique, but she is also ridiculously strong. Once she gets on top, she uses strikes to deal damage and attack submissions. 

Harrison’s weight cut is one of the most important aspects of this fight. In Olympic career, she competed at 172 pounds (78 kg). In MMA, she has mostly fought at 155 pounds while dropping to 145 pounds on a few occasions. This fight will be at 135 pounds. It is going to be important to watch to make sure she makes weight. 

This fight greatly favors Harrison. If the weight cut does not completely tank her fighting ability, she is in a good spot. Harrison will hold a massive size advantage and should dominate in the clinch. The only path to victory for Holm is to strike from the outside while using her footwork to evade Harrison for 15 minutes. It is hard to see. I expect Harrison to get on top and deal out damage. I will take Harrison by second-round knockout

Garrett: Holm via TKO

Jerry: Harrison via decision

Anthony: Harrison via decision

No. 8 Calvin Kattar vs. No. 2 (BW) Aljamain Sterling- Featherweight Bout 

James: At UFC 300 Aljamain Sterling will make his long-awaited featherweight debut against Calvin Kattar. Sterling won the bantamweight title and racked up three defenses before losing the belt to Sean O’Malley. Now, he is up a weight class and is looking to work his way to a new title. Kattar is looking to get back on track after dropping three of his last four fights. That does not sound great, but the context surrounding those losses is forgivable. Kattar lost to Max Holloway, dropped a razor-close decision to Josh Emmett, and injured his knee against Arnold Allen. That said, this fight is crucial as he cannot afford to drop another fight. Additionally, it will be his first fight since tearing his ACL against Allen. 

Sterling is an outstanding grappler with a great combination of wrestling and BJJ. This allows him to use his takedowns, get to the body triangle, and land submissions. On the feet, Sterling is unorthodox, throws with a ton of volume, and has a lot of different weapons. Although, he does not hold much power and often throws himself out of position which makes him very hittable. 

Kattar made a living in the UFC with his boxing. In pure striking battles, he puts his hands together and lands strong boxing combinations. Kattar loves to throw his straight and jab while adding other punchers off those shots. Typically, that includes body shots, uppercuts, and hooks. The best strike in his combinations is his straight right hand. If Kattar lands that shot, it lands hard and does damage. Plus, he throws lethal elbows. It is not the biggest aspect of his game, but he can knock fighters out with those shots. 

This fight is filled with questions. How does Sterling’s cardio and chin look at featherweight? Will Sterling match the physicality of a big featherweight? At 36 years old, is Kattar the same fighter after suffering an ACL tear? These are questions we will not have an answer to until fight night. 

It is hard to be confident in either fighter in this matchup. I will lean with Kattar. I greatly respect his boxing and believe he will land a big strike at some point in this fight. Furthermore, his physical size can help him in grappling exchanges. I will take Kattar by second-round knockout

Garrett: Sterling via decision

Jerry: Sterling via submission

Anthony: Kattar via decision

No. 2 Jiri Prochazka vs. No. 5 Aleksandar Rakic- Light Heavyweight Bout 

James: The UFC 300 early prelims close with a light heavyweight bout between Jiri Prochazka and Aleksander Rakic. Prochazka is looking to get back on track after hitting a rough patch in his career. The former champion vacated the title after suffering a shoulder injury. In his return, he lost to Alex Pereira and failed to recapture the belt. Rakic was a surging prospect who made his way to the top of the light heavyweight division. That climb was stopped against Jan Blachowicz when he tore his ACL in the third round of their fight. In this fight, he gets another high-profile chance that could place him in title conversations. 

Prochazka is one of the most unorthodox fighters in the sport. This is because of his striking approach. Prochazka moves in an unorthodox fashion and he throws strikes from a wide variety of angles. This works because his chin and cardio allowed him to get into brawls. Eventually, he finds a way to land a shot that changes the fight. The issue is that Alex Pereira showed that he struggles defending leg kicks and attacking his legs reduces the effectiveness of his unorthodox style. 

Rakic likes to use his long weapons to strike from the outside. That largely consists of a strong leg kick and straight punches. In the past, he has shown that he can take his leg kick high and land a knockout. Plus, he has shown solid takedowns and can win fights with top time. 

I like Rakic to pick up a win on the UFC 300 prelims. I have serious concerns with Prochazka’s leg kick defense and believe his style falls apart when his legs are damaged. Rakic throws a good amount of leg kicks and should be able to hurt Prochazka’s legs. I also believe his length and wrestling can help him win minutes. I will take Rakic by decision

Garrett: Prochazka via TKO

Jerry: Prochazka via KO/TKO

Anthony: Prochazka via KO/TKO

***

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