5 possible headline fights for UFC 300

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


April 13 marks what should be one of the biggest events in MMA history, as UFC 300 hits Las Vegas. The only issue is that, right now, the event doesn’t have a headline bout.

A number of high-profile fights have been announced for UFC 300, but nothing that stands out as a main event – so what could be that fight?

There are a number of options for the promotion, and while the likes of Conor McGregor and Jon Jones won’t be involved, they could still put together a huge headliner.

With that in mind, here are five potential headliners for UFC 300.


#5. UFC light heavyweight title: Alex Pereira vs. Magomed Ankalaev

It’s arguable that in terms of the champions who might be available to headline UFC 300, current light heavyweight kingpin Alex Pereira is the biggest star.

The former middleweight titleholder became the promotion’s latest two-division champion by knocking out former kingpin Jiri Prochazka in November, despite only having one previous fight at 205 pounds.

Theoretically, ‘Poatan’ should be ready to go again by April, and if that’s the case, the most logical challenger for him from a sporting perspective would be Magomed Ankalaev.

Sure, that’d mean leapfrogging Jamahal Hill, who vacated the title in his own right last year. But he won’t be ready to return until the summer, and when it comes to a huge event like this, needs must.

Ankalaev knocked out Johnny Walker this past weekend, hasn’t lost a fight since 2018, and some argue deserved to win the title when he went to a controversial draw with Jan Blachowicz in December 2022 anyway.

Okay, so the Dagestani isn’t the most marketable challenger, but Pereira’s star power as well as the event itself should sell the bout, and it’d probably prove to be a cool fight to watch anyway.

If Dana White and company want an easy option, then this is it.


#4. UFC interim heavyweight title: Tom Aspinall vs. Ciryl Gane

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Current interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall is currently backed into a corner somewhat. The native of the UK is desperate for a unification bout with reigning champ Jon Jones, but there are a few issues with that.

Firstly, Jones is injured and will be out for a lengthy while yet. Secondly, ‘Bones’ has set his sights on a fight with Stipe Miocic and seemingly isn’t interested in facing Aspinall. And thirdly, Dana White and company seem happy to let this happen.

If Aspinall can’t get a fight with Jones, then, the best way for the Mancunian to really sell himself as the world’s best heavyweight right now would surely be to defend his interim crown.

If he could do this in the headline bout of an event like UFC 300, then the spotlight would be on him like never before, and if he could win, that could be enough to entice Jones into facing him.

Who would be the best opponent for Aspinall in this instance? Probably former interim titleholder Ciryl Gane. The French striker is still ranked at No.2 in the division and is coming off a strong win over Serghei Spivac last September.

He’d definitely relish another crack at the gold, while if Aspinall could take him out with the same ease that Jones did, it’d only strengthen his claim as the promotion’s top heavyweight.

Sure, headlining a huge event like this with an interim title fight might feel weird, but it could also make sense, too.


#3. UFC middleweight title: Sean Strickland or Dricus du Plessis vs. Khamzat Chimaev

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This weekend’s UFC headliner will see a middleweight title bout between champion Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis. The fight may well end up being a war, meaning that any idea of the winner competing in April becomes impossible.

However, if the fight ends quickly, then there’s every chance that the champion, be it ‘Tarzan’ or ‘Stillknocks’, will want to compete on what should be 2024’s biggest event.

If that’s the case, then the biggest possible fight for them would undoubtedly be against Khamzat Chimaev.

One of the fastest rising stars in the promotion right now, ‘Borz’ last fought against former welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman in October, beating him over three rounds.

That win was rumoured to have been enough to cement a title shot for the Chechen, but a hand injury suffered in the fight meant that the shot went to du Plessis instead.

By April, though, Chimaev should be back, and a clash between him and either Strickland or du Plessis would be huge – and would definitely be enough to headline a colossal event like this.


#2. UFC welterweight title: Leon Edwards vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov

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The fight that has been linked with UFC 300’s main event the most is a welterweight title bout pitting champion Leon Edwards against No.2-ranked Belal Muhammad.

To a certain extent, the fight makes sense. Muhammad has not been beaten since 2019 and has won nine of his last 10 bouts. More importantly, the one fight he didn’t win was a No Contest with Edwards, prior to the UK-based fighter’s title win.

However, if we’re honest, Edwards vs. Muhammad 2 just doesn’t seem like the kind of big fight that could headline this April’s mega-event.

Sure, ‘Rocky’ has headlined big shows before and has been involved in plenty of big fights, but Muhammad isn’t all that exciting and doesn’t seem to have the fans behind him.

Therefore, if the promotion wants to headline with a welterweight title clash, they should pit Edwards against No.3-ranked Shavkat Rakhmonov instead.

‘Nomad’ is the hottest contender in the division right now, holding an unbeaten 18-0 record. He also defeated Stephen Thompson in December, making him fresher in the mind of the fans than Muhammad.

Most importantly, though, Rakhmonov is far more exciting than his title rival and could take off as the promotion’s next big star with a win.

Overall, ‘Remember the Name’ could probably afford to sit out and wait for his shot – leaving Edwards and the Kazakh native to duel it out in a huge bout in Las Vegas.


#1. UFC light heavyweight title: Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya

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As was discussed earlier, it feels like the most likely champion available to headline UFC 300 is light heavyweight kingpin Alex Pereira. And sure, it’s true that in the absence of Jamahal Hill, the most logical challenger to his throne is Magomed Ankalaev.

However, Ankalaev isn’t a huge star in his own right, and the truth is that the UFC has never really gone with the logical or sporting option if a better-drawing one is available.

With that in mind, why not offer a shot at Pereira to his old foe, Israel Adesanya?

Sure, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has only ever fought at 205 pounds once, and he’s also coming off the worst loss of his career at the hands of Sean Strickland last year. Adesanya has also stated that he wants to take some time off.

Despite this, could he really resist another crack at ‘Poatan’? The Brazilian is probably his greatest rival, as he holds three combat sports wins over ‘The Last Stylebender’ with Adesanya only holding one over him in return.

That lone win for Adesanya came in their last clash, though, and so it’s likely that Pereira would love to get one back over him.

The carrot for Adesanya, on the other hand, would be another win over his rival, plus the chance to become a double champion – something he narrowly missed out on back in 2021.

Whether ‘The Last Stylebender’ would really go for it is a fair question, but if the UFC wants a genuinely huge fight to headline the biggest show of 2024, this is it.

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