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UFC 300 - The Most Stacked Card in Combat Sports History Delivers

The most stacked top-to-bottom event in combat sports' recorded history was as insane as it was entertaining

It's been a while folks, but after witnessing UFC 300, it's impossible not to want to talk about what was arguably the greatest card in combat sports' history.

Never has an MMA - or boxing for that matter - card been so stacked with top talent and thrilling matchups as UFC 300 was on Saturday.

The UFC of course has long stood out from boxing's model of very top-heavy cards by bringing full slates of exciting matchups to their big events, but even amongst stacked cards throughout the promotion's history (including the amazing UFC 299 just last month), 300 entered the next level.

What the three hundredth numbered event in UFC history lacked in casual-fan star power compared to its two prior centennial counterparts, it made up for by providing exciting match-ups filled with elite talent from the very first prelim of the night and a legendary showcase bout truly befitting the "honour" of a Baddest Mother Fucker belt.

Each centennial event has seen the UFC try to outdo itself - with the first one being by far the biggest pay-per-view event in UFC history until the advent of Conor McGregor, the double-zero events has become a milestone that the UFC seeks to mark with a mega-card.

The mythical UFC 100 was spearheaded by a hotly contested rematch between former (well, current again) WWE superstar Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir for Lesnar's heavyweight crown, with Canadian GOAT Georges St. Pierre lending his superstar status to the co-main event and a heated grudge match between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping serving as an unofficial "triple header" for the massive event.

It was a monumental card that lived up to the hype and ushered in a new era of fans to the sport, and one that was filled with unforgettable moments such as Henderson's brutal KO over Bisping and Brock Lesnar's epic post-fight speech following a drubbing of Mir.

With UFC 200 coming back in 2016, Dana White and co. tried to one-up themselves and once again stacked a mega-card, this time built around the massive rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones - unfortunately, Jones would infamously be pulled a day before weigh-ins after a failed drug test, turning what was supposed to be a celebration and an epic night of fights into a clusterfuck.

The deck was shuffled last minute and that unfortunately overshadowed much of the event itself; Miesha Tate versus Amanda Nunes was slotted up into the headline spot, with Brock Lesnar's surprise comeback fight forced to do the heavy lifting for the night's PPV buys. Daniel Cormier begrudgingly stayed on the card to face Anderson Silva in a non-title bout, who took the fight on just over a day's notice and had just recently had surgery to remove his gallbladder.

Even a technical masterclass from Jose Aldo in his rematch with Frankie Edgar couldn't save the card from being a disappointment compared to what fans had been anticipating for the months leading up to the card.

For UFC 300, though the card lacked the starpower of a Brock Lesnar or the heat of a Jones-DC-esque rivalry to bring in more hype from less hardcore fans, the abundance of former champions and fan-favourites really turned 300 into something special that has had longtime fans of the sport absolutely buzzing.

It came with a lot of hype and fortunately, unlike the last centennial event, it suffered no last-minute injuries, PED fiascos, or even weight misses - and then it managed not only to deliver on fans' hype, but to exceed it.

Not saying it was perfect, but one hell of a lot happened and it was filled with memorable bouts and epic moments - so without further ado, let's take a quick look at each bout and highlight what was good, what was bad, and what was ugly during the biggest event in UFC history.

Early Prelim 1, Bantamweight - Cody Garbrandt vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

Figueiredo finished Garbrandt via rear-naked choke late in round two

The Good - After a rather awesome opening promo that included the CG-opening video the UFC used to kick off their PPV events throughout the 2010's and then a throwback to the classic SEG days and the UFC 1 graphics, it was time to get down to business.

Kicking off a thirteen-fight event with two former champions and top-fifteen ranked fighters squaring off against each other is a bold move, and it certainly made sure seats for the entire card were filled from the sound of the first bell.

The bantamweight clash between former flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo and former bantamweight king Cody Garbrandt figured to be an exciting striker's delight match-up, and for a time this rang true.

Many fans figured that Cody (especially since there were $300,000 performance bonuses up for grabs) would once again eschew proper boxing form and let himself be involved in a brawl, which while entertaining, would likely end disastrously against a heavy hitter like Figgy.

Surprisingly, Garbrandt did no such thing and the supremely talented boxer was regularly getting the better of Deiveson on the feet.

Unfortunately, that advantage did not translate into the grappling department and after cracking the Brazilian with several heavy shots that appeared to rattle Figueiredo in the second round, the former flyweight king said "no more" and took Garbrandt to the canvas.

Despite moving up in weight, Figgy's speed disadvantage on the feet was overcome by his strength advantage on the floor, where he was able to control the scrambly Garbrandt with relative ease.

It may not have been as exciting as the striking battle, but it was certainly surprising to see Garbrandt being handled on the floor unlike he ever had been before, and subsequently he was forced to tap out once "Deus da Guerra" locked in the RNC.

The Bad - At the very least, Cody didn't take any real damage in his fight with Figueiredo and avoided suffering the knockout loss many feared he would - and he actually looked great on his feet.

Unfortunately, the loss makes him just 3-6 with four knockout losses and now one submission loss since he dominated Dominick Cruz nearly eight years ago to earn the bantamweight strap.

At 32 he still has time for one last push into contention, but it certainly doesn't look very likely that Garbrandt will ever recapture the form that saw him earn UFC gold.

Early Prelim 2, Lightweight - Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller

Green battered Miller en route to a unanimous decision victory

The Good - The veteran scrap between Bobby "King" Green and Jim "Fucking" Miller may not have had the divisional significance of almost any other fight on the card, but it was guaranteed to be a fun fight when the two UFC staples stepped into the Octagon.

For Miller, he would once again extend his commanding lead over the rest of the pack for the most fights in UFC history with a whopping 44, and he is the only fighter than can brag about being on all three centennial cards; that kind of longevity is certainly rare in such an unforgiving sport.

While he has always been known as a scrappy vet that's always looking for a finish, at 40 years old his competition as of late just hasn't been anywhere near the level of the #14 ranked lightweight Bobby Green, even if Green was coming off a brutal knockout loss.

Despite this, Miller caught Green early and had him stumbling off a counter in the opening minute. Green recovered and then quickly established what would become the story of the fight - his quick, precise boxing and occasional tricky kicks that pieced up the slower, less refined striker.

Though he was clearly outclassed on the feet, Miller has never backed down from a war and certainly wasn't going to on such a historic card - he may have been heavily outstruck for almost the entirety of the fight, but he still managed to have his moments, rocking Green in the closing seconds of the first round and then wobbling him once again in the later stages of the third despite being a battered mask of blood at that point.

On a normal night of fights, the two may very well have earned themselves the Fight of the Night honours, but as everyone knew, that award was already reserved well in advance for Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway.

The Bad - After taking so much damage at UFC 300 at the ripe old age of forty, it may finally be time for Miller to call it a career.

He's certainly had a long and successful career with the UFC, and should he decide to stick around he can still hold his own against a lower level of opponent, but at a certain point for most fighters it becomes a question of whether they want to be able to enjoy the rest of their life after fighting while they still can - that point seems to be coming close for someone like Miller.

He's still as tough as ever and hasn't seemed to show any signs of mental decline, but he's certainly no stranger to being on the receiving end of a beatdown and with nothing left to prove, it's hard to see a point in continuing to risk it at his age. Here's hoping the New Jersey legend hangs up the gloves in the near future, and if he wants to leave on a high note, is given much lesser competition for a proper sendoff.

Early Prelim 3, W Strawweight - Jessica Andrade vs. Marina Rodriguez

Andrade slugged her way to a split decision victory

The Good - An interesting matchup between the little juggernaut that is former strawweight queen Jessica Andrade and elite striker Marina Rodriguez, Rodriguez quickly established her sharpshooting boxing at range and gave Andrade a hell of a time early as she struggled to get inside or land anything significant.

A caught kick turned the tides however and as always Andrade proved a terrifying force on top as she inflicted damage on Rodriguez on the canvas and stole back the round, providing a clear path to victory moving forward.

Surprisingly, Andrade didn't seek to take Rodriguez back to the canvas in the second and instead continued trying to get inside on the taller, longer Rodriguez, who was more than happy to pepper her with long shots from the outside.

That is, of course, until Jessica did manage to start landing, at which point Rodriguez' entire demeanor changed as she was visibly hurt and took plenty of damaging shots with her back to the cage to end the round.

The third was largely the same with Andrade scoring some heavy, damaging shots in an effort to get her hands on that $300,000 bonus with a knockout, while Rodriguez managed to land more from the outside and avoided getting cornered like she had been late in the second.

The Bad - Rodriguez may have done enough to take the third round, but when the judge's scorecards were read, hearing that it was a split decision was somewhat baffling.

The fact that one judge scored two rounds for Marina was hard to justify, especially with current criteria heavily weighting damage - something that Andrade clearly had the advantage in throughout. Though she was certainly winning much of the second round, Rodriguez was very visibly hurt in the final minute and took a ton of heavy shots against the fence, something that virtually every fan watching the fight saw sealing the round in Andrade's favour.

There was a stronger argument for Andrade winning 30-27 than there was for Rodriguez to have picked up two rounds - luckily the rightful winner got her hand raised, but once again questionable judging reared its ugly head.

Early Prelim 4, Lightweight - Renato Moicano vs. Jalin Turner

Moicano TKO'd Turner late in the second round

The Good - If you like a good comeback and wildly bad fight IQ, this fight was for you.

"Money" Moicano had a bit of a scare in the opening stages as a body kick appeared to hurt the outspoken Brazilian, but immediately after he was able to get a hold of the lanky knockout artist Turner and got the fight where most felt he had to take to in order to come out on top.

"The Tarantula" impressed by avoiding any submission attempts and methodically working his way back to his feet, where once again he showed his superiority - ultimately dropping Moicano badly with a right hand near the end of the round.

Looking for the walk-off KO, Turner, well, walked off despite Moicano still being conscious, even if barely.

With Herb Dean informing him to keep fighting, Turner was more focused on protesting with the ref as a wobbly Moicano returned to his feet and looked like he was about to be stopped - but thanks to Turner's hesitation and ensuing lack of follow-up, the bell sounded to end the round and saved Moicano from a first round stoppage.

Following the adrenaline dump that must have followed, Turner simply never got back into the fight, getting taken down early in the second round where Moicano was able to secure dominant positions and started raining down punches and elbows, with one eventually hurting Turner and causing him to shell up until Dean stepped in to wave off the fight.

It was a good comeback victory for Moicano, who then delivered another of his hilariously aggressive post-fight interviews where he also informed Joe Rogan that the world's most famous podcast host had to come to his podcast on Monday.

The Bad - Jalin Turner had the fight all but won - Moicano was clearly out of sorts at the end of the first round, but instead of following up with a punch or two that would have definitely forced Dean to step in, he made a foolish mistake and allowed his opponent back into the fight.

The following seconds he took protesting to the ref instead of finishing the fight and then complaining cost him dearly and was just quite frankly, stupid.

Unfortunately it was likely due to the grossly late stoppage win he was coming off of, against one Bobby Green, who Turner had knocked out yet the ref that night had decided to wait until Turner had delivered several, nasty punches on Green's lifeless body before finally stepping in.

Likely not wanting something similar to happen again, Turner overcompensated and made himself look completely foolish, in the process reminding every other fighter a valuable lesson about finishing fights - you fight until the referee stops you, not when you decide it's done.

Main Prelim 1, Featherweight - Diego Lopes vs. Sodiq Yusuff

Lopes blasted and finished Yusuff in just 89 seconds

The Good - After a sick promo package that recreated the gladiator and "Face the Pain" PPV intro synonomous with the earlier days of the Zuffa-run UFC, the "main" portion of the prelims were set to begin with fireworks as surging prospect Diego Lopes faced legit #13 ranked Sodiq Yusuff.

What was expected to be a hotly contested scrap between talented featherweights turned into the Lopes show as he demonstrated ridiculous punching power and killer instinct.

He dropped the powerful Yusuff with a nasty uppercut in the clinch, hammering away in a frenzy before again sending "Super Sodiq" crashing to the floor with an uppercut from a collar tie position. Sodiq simply couldn't survive the onslaught and succumbed to strikes just 89 seconds into the fight, marking his first stoppage loss in the UFC.

Lopes has shown unreal finishing ability in his run with the promotion after taking on undefeated contender Movsar Evloev in his UFC debut, a fight he took on just a few days notice and he gave the now top contender all he could handle in a close decision loss.

With three straight finishes in under two minutes and having blasted the thirteenth ranked Yusuff, Lopes has certainly earned a crack at a top ten opponent and given their history and the fact Movsar certainly isn't getting a title shot anytime soon given his fighting style and a certain other performance on this card that will get first crack at champion Ilia Topuria, it makes a lot of sense to have Lopes and Movsar run it back sometime in the near future.

Main Prelim 2, W Bantamweight - Holly Holm vs. Kayla Harrison

Harrison demolished Holm en route to a second round rear-naked choke victory

The Good - The UFC's female bantamweight division is currently in shambles - with Amanda Nunes retired, there is a serious lack of elite talent in the division - the current title holder is Raquel Pennington, and its top contender Julianna Pena.

It's not exactly a shark tank to put it lightly and fan interest is near zero for any of the current crop of "top" bantamweights, so bringing a new name to the division was certainly necessary to take the once-premier women's weight class off of life support.

Kayla Harrison fit the bill as the former two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka and former multiple-time PFL tournament champion dropped all the way down to 135 (she normally fights all the way up at 155 and previously remarked she'd have to cut off her legs to make bantamweight) to make her UFC debut on Saturday.

Despite the massive weight cut, Kayla looked as physically strong as ever (more on that shortly) and used it to positively bully the 42-year-old Holly Holm, who hasn't exactly looked like a world beater over the last few years.

After an active first round, she still appeared very fresh heading into the second and finished Holly shortly thereafter, so it would appear the weight cut didn't harm her cardio (at least not too severely), a good sign for a fighter cutting a huge amount of weight.

Her dominant ground and pound and ridiculous physique have her an obvious favourite to capture UFC gold over current champ Pennington, which would at least breathe some new life into the weak division and give fans something to talk about.

The Bad - Holly Holm is known for sticking to a gameplan even if it means putting the crowd to sleep (which she has done on more than one occasion).

She may not be near the prime of her athletic career anymore, but one assumed the elder stateswoman of the Octagon would once again follow a strict gameplan like her usual self, which against Harrison, was undoubtedly "avoid locking up with the judoka at all costs", just like it was when she massacred Ronda Rousey in the cage a decade ago.

To everyone's surprise, Holly almost immediately entered the clinch against Kayla and attempted to be the aggressor there against the obviously superior grappler.

Thanks no doubt to the element of surprise, Holm did hit a nice reversal to briefly get on top of Harrison, but the UFC newcomer quickly rose back to her feet.

From there, Holly had double underhooks - surely, this was her opportunity to break away and get on her bike, returning to the obvious gameplan of playing the matador to Kayla's bull...right?

Instead, she bafflingly attempted a trip takedown.

To no one's surprise, this backfired and Holm ended up on her back getting beat up by the dominant grappler, where Holm had shown very little in the ways of defense at any point in her career. From there Holly was never was able to recover, and she found herself quickly swarmed again in round two and mauled into submission not even halfway through the round.

It was a bizarre and rather sad display of fight IQ from a woman who throughout her career was known for rigidly sticking to her gameplan in order to secure a W, and had clearly demonstrated the tools necessary in the past to avoid the kind of grappling-heavy attack Kayla was bringing.

At 42 years old, Holm being able to stave off her much younger, much more physically imposing opponent was always a long shot, but to see a fighter that had a clear potential path to victory so wantonly throw it away is always as disappointing as it is confusing.

Having lost three of her last four and not looking good even in that one win, Holm should clearly call it a day as her time near the top of the division is definitely over.

The Ugly - It's never a good sign when your commentators are openly comparing a woman's physique to that of a young Vitor Belfort, back from the "wild west" days of mixed martial arts when steroids and PED's were almost never tested for and even encouraged by one of the biggest organizations of the time (looking at you, PRIDE).

Almost every comment on every post involving Kayla Harrison on the UFC's social media is talking about her physique, and it's hard not to - in her prior fights at heavier weights, she at least had a bit of body fat to help make it a little less obvious she has clearly been geared up during her career.

She certainly isn't the only fighter to bear the signs of steroid use, but it's often considerably easier to spot in females and arguably gives an even bigger advantage than male usage.

It also doesn't exactly look good that Harrison finally made her move to the UFC just after the UFC's drug testing agencies were changed, after which many have pointed out that far less tests have been done so far than under USADA's watch, not that they were anywhere near proficient in terms of catching usage.

Ultimately PED usage is a problem that will never be solved fully, but when it's such an obvious case and is so crucial to a fighter's style, it doesn't exactly make the brand look good.

Her physique and size had already seen the entire MMA community calling for a fight with Cris Cyborg for years, one in which Kayla has incessantly stated she would dominate easily, yet we saw one of the clearest cases of a fight ducking in MMA history this year.

With the PFL's recent buyout of Bellator, Cyborg and Harrison were finally under one roof and contracts were on the table for the two to finally square off, with a guarantee of $2 million each, an amount certainly higher than what Kayla made in her UFC debut; it was also a one-fight contract so Kayla could have signed with the UFC right after anyway, regardless of how the fight played out.

Instead, Harrison made the surprise move to the UFC and announced she'd be cutting down all the way to 135, giving up a bigger payday against someone her own size in order to face a 42 year old and earn a title shot against...Raquel Pennington.

Considering Kayla is just two fights removed from losing to Larissa Pacheco and would undoubtedly get blasted on her feet by Cyborg, it was likely best for her brand to take the safest option, but it's certainly laughable that Harrison claims she is close to becoming the "greatest combat sports athlete ever" when at 33 years old, by far the biggest names on her resume now include a 42 year old Holm and UFC washout Aspen Ladd.

Main Prelim 3, Featherweight - Aljamain Sterling vs. Calvin Kattar

Sterling put the crowd to sleep and took home a decision win to zero applause

The Ugly - There was absolutely nothing good about this fight.

Aljo seemed determined to put the crowd to sleep and make even his diehard fans (of which I'm sure there's at least a couple out there, somewhere) hate him.

In his featherweight debut, the former bantamweight champion looked very slow on the feet, something that does not bode well for him if he can't find the takedown against his next opponent (whoever that may be) in such a stacked division.

He did manage to consistently take the fight to the ground, but there he looked to do no damage and was simply holding on to Kattar, who was unfortunately coming off of a major knee surgery and seemed to have zero ability to keep Aljo off of him.

When Dana White confirmed the performance bonuses were $300,000 at the press conference, Aljamain Sterling was amongst the loudest cheerers at the presser, which many fans questioned given he was almost assuredly not going to get one - despite being on such a big card and having a chance to appeal to the masses, he sadly proved those fans exactly right.

Main Prelim 4, Light Heavyweight - Jiri Prochazka vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Prochazka mounted a comeback and blasted his way to a second round TKO

The Good - This fight was an absolute banger and certainly deserved a main card slot.

Rakic, who is known for being terribly boring but having the talent to be a legit contender, took a page from Alex Pereira's book and committed fully to low leg kicks from the jump, something that Jiri and his obnoxiously wide stance proved highly susceptible to in his last outing against the afforementioned Poatan.

Jiri struggled to find his range and instead was clipped time and time again with heavy leather from the Austrian, his leg getting increasingly unstable with every minute that went by.

After the first round, it appeared that Jiri was simply outclassed.

But Jiri is not one to back down or be deterred.

Like a true samurai, Jiri's stubbornness was both a hindrance in his failure to adapt after the flaws in his game were exposed against Pereira, but also became his saving grace along with his ridiculous toughness and tenacity.

In the second, he simply ramped up the pressure, willing to eat heavy shots in exchanges and get his leg chewed up in order to try and land his own offense.

That perserverance paid off as he finally started finding Rakic's chin, and the difference between the two soon became apparent. Like a samurai facing a ronin, Jiri welcomed the war; he was unafraid to stand and trade until one man fell, whereas Rakic was more the athlete to Jiri's fighter, attempting to clinch after he was dazed on multiple occasions to get himself out of the fire.

Jiri allowed no such reprieve and instead just ramped up his assault, his finishing instinct once again on full display as he overwhelmed his prey and rocked Rakic, throwing his stumbling victim to the floor before pouring on a barrage that eventually forced the TKO stoppage.

It was one hell of a fight and one hell of a comeback, a performance which earned Jiri a cool $300k bonus and likely would have taken home the Fight of the Night too if it weren't on a card shared with Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway.

As entertaining as it may be, Jiri is certainly going to need to make some adjustments to his style going forward if he wants to seriously vye for a title again.

His susceptibility to leg kicks has really not been addressed whatsoever and simple toughness is not always going to work (just like it didn't against Pereira); his penchant for absorbing punches with his face is also not one that's going to serve his long term health. It's great to be a samurai warrior, but it's better to be able to speak when your career is over; perhaps in time Jiri can find the right balance.

Main Card Opener, Middleweight - Bo Nickal vs. Cody Brundage

Nickal earned a second-round rear-naked choke submission

The Good - Middleweight prospect Bo Nickal faced more adversity than he had in any of his prior five outings at UFC 300, with the 10-5 Cody Brundage coming out and throwing caution to the wind to try to take out the massive favourite.

Nickal of course managed to take Brundage down, but Cody's physical strength combined with the fact that he was by far the best wrestler Nickal had faced thus far in MMA (he was a successful wrestler at the high school level, and then became a two-time NCAA qualifier in college) had Nickal struggling to hold his prey down much less get any real effective offense going.

Bo was however undeterred and kept grounding the underdog, eventually taking his back and locking in a rear-naked choke late in the second round. It wasn't the quick finish he's used to having, but it was a valuable experience for the 26 year old prospect who up till Saturday had never had a fight last more than three minutes let alone enter the second round.

The Bad - This fight always stood out on this card and for all the wrong reasons.

The UFC no doubt wanted to provide a showcase opportunity for the budding middleweight prospect, and there's no bigger spot than on a card as big as UFC 300.

Placing him on the pay-per-view portion of the broadcast, however?

Well that just seemed insulting to the rest of the card, especially seeing as while he faced a slight bump up in competition, he was still expected to easily handle the middling Cody Brundage, a squash match on a card filled with great match-ups.

The fact that this was the opening fight on the historic pay-per-view was just silly when the prelims featured six former champions, and the UFC inadvertantly set their prospect up for failure - anything short of utter demolition was considered a disappointment, and fans took out the peculiar card placement on Nickal himself when it was the UFC that ultimately chose to put him on the PPV.

Though Nickal remains a top prospect, his performance still shows he has a long way to go before reaching the upper echelon of the division and perhaps the UFC should be a bit smarter about their attempts to manufacture stardom in the future.

Lightweight Contendership Eliminator - Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Tsarukyan won a contentious decision after a three round technical battle

The Good - It was back to great fights with high stakes as former lightweight king Charles Oliveira, AKA Charlie Olives, looked to earn a rematch with Islam Makachev by defeating the surging Georgian Arman Tsarukyan.

It looked like the elite lightweight tilt would be over before it even began as Charles locked up a tight guillotine choke very early on, one that had Tsarukyan in all sorts of trouble.

Incredibly, Tsarukyan defended perfectly and eventually escaped the locked-in submission, a rarity when the UFC record holder for most submission wins locks a hold of someone's neck.

Oliveira proceeded to land a few damaging shots from the top before Tsarukyan managed to reverse positions and land a few heavy elbows and punches of his own, marking a great back-and-forth opening round.

The second was clearly Tsarukyan's as he managed to take the former champion down and landed some solid ground and pound while Oliveira failed to find a submission or sweep, only for the Brazilian legend to grab hold of a triangle armbar right at the end of the round when time was too short to finish it.

It came down to the third and final stanza, where once again Arman was in control and landed a few solid shots on the ground, but this time, Oliveira managed to reverse his fortune and get on top, where he soon locked in a tight D'Arce choke which he held onto until the final horn.

The third really came down to how you value submission attempts, as though Arman had top control for a full two minutes and landed a few shots on top, he didn't really score damage in the round and Oliveira with his submission attempt was the only one that really threatened to finish the fight.

Ultimately, a 10-10 round and thus a draw would have even been more than acceptable, but such rounds are virtually never scored - ultimately, two of the three judges handed Arman the victory and thus the next crack at the lightweight title.

The Bad - Though it wasn't the kind of war as say Jiri vs. Rakic was, it was a high-level technical chess match that was entertaining while it lasted.

The unfortunate part was that it just didn't last long enough.

Such a high level fight in the lightweight division really deserved to be five rounds and undoubtedly would have headlined a fight night had it not been put on this stacked card.

After three rounds, there really wasn't a definitive answer as to who the better fighter was, ultimately leaving fans wishing we got to see ten more minutes of action to hopefully resolve the stalemate.

BMF Championship, Lightweight - Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway

Holloway scored a last-second faceplant KO to capture the BMF title

The Good - Man, what a fight.

This was one of those guaranteed-violence match-ups that fight fans live for, and boy did it live up to the hype.

Gaethje entered as a sizeable favourite given that it was contested at lightweight, with Holloway's last fight at 155, way back in 2019 against Dustin Poirier for an interim title, being everyone's idea of what Max looked like at the higher weight class.

Though he put on an amazing fight that night, he came up short and it was Dustin's noted advantage in punching power that made all the difference, with Max not really being known for power even at 145 as he has always been a volume striker.

Gaethje being arguably the hardest hitter at 155, along with Holloway's penchant for taking damage (even if his ridiculous chin had still kept him from ever even being dropped in his lengthy career) seemed to provide a bad recipe for Holloway in the BMF match-up.

Many fans feared that Holloway might be walking into a career-changing beating like the one Gaethje doled out on Tony Ferguson just a few years ago.

The Hawaiian sensation had other plans however, and as he pointed out after, his rematch with Poirier back in 2019 was on short notice and he didn't have time to properly prepare for the move up - this time, he did and it made a world of difference right from the opening bell.

Holloway certainly didn't look like the smaller fighter in the cage and what was more surprising is when the two started slugging in the middle of the Octagon, Holloway was tagging Gaethje with power shots that had the always-tough-as-nails Gaethje seemingly hesitating to engage.

Instead of employing his usual ultra-high volume approach, Max was instead landing crisp, powerful combos and getting out of danger before Gaethje's home-run swings could cause him trouble, with his speed advantage allowing him to get the better of exchanges. Gaethje's signature leg kicks were still finding their mark, but his normally imposing hands were failing to make any real impact.

As good as Max looked in the opening stanza, Gaethje has always been a fighter that gets better as the fight goes longer, but Holloway nipped that in the bud courtesy of one of his trademark spinning back kicks, a favourite of his since the early days of his epic run toward the featherweight title.

His quick spining kick typically targeting the midsection was the perfect weapon against a fighter that relied heavily on dipping down during exchanges, and sure enough, in the last seconds of the opening frame Holloway's spinning attack clipped Gaethje right on the nose and sent him reeling.

With his nose now badly broken and leaving him unable to breathe through it, it clearly had Gaethje in considerable pain and became problematic for his vision as his eyes continued to water, made worse early in the second round when he received not one, but two eye pokes in quick succession, one grazing each of his eyes.

Both times Gaethje took a quick moment to clear his vision and then demanded to continue fighting - with a badly broken nose already clearly causing him issues as he was awkwardly trying to avoid getting hit again on the beak, and then taking two eye pokes, many fighters may have used the fouls as a way out - but as Jon Anik likes to say, that is not the cloth from which Gaethje is cut.

Not even taking much of the time he was allowed, Gaethje returned to the fight and continued trying to find his range, swinging his thunderous right hand and thudding left hook but instead hitting largely air as Max landed heavy counters and angled out.

It was a striking masterclass from the former featherweight king, with Holloway chipping away with his crisp and surprisingly powerful boxing, mixing in beautiful uppercuts as Gaethje ducked down and continuing to land his spinning back kick to the midsection throughout.

After being shut out of the first three rounds, Gaethje, who had been fighting the last ten minutes without being able to breathe out of his nose, turned up the aggression in an effort to take back control. He saw his efforts finally start to pay off in the fourth as he became the first man to ever knock down Max Holloway in his 28-fight UFC career, having set the record by receiving nearly 3200 significant strikes without ever being knocked down (the next closest name had absorbed just over 1700).

Holloway was still in the driver's seat for much of the fourth, but the knockdown stole Gaethje the round and set up an epic, nail-biting finale as the always dangerous Gaethje was forced to kick his hunt for the finish into overdrive.

Gaethje's fourth round success was unfortunately for him short-lived, as Holloway took back control with aplomb and continued sharpshooting lightweight's heaviest hitter, with Justin growing increasingly desperate as the significantly damaged fighter knew he needed a knockout in order to retain his shiny platinum belt.

It was instead Max who neared a finish, as he staggered "The Highlight" with a combination and poured on the afterburners, pounding away as Justin retreated and briefly touched the canvas, backing himself into the cage with his forearm guard while Max then targeted his body with rib roasters.

The tough SOB refused to go down however, and threw Hail Mary's back to get himself off the cage, never once quitting on himself no matter how battered and hurt he may have been - even in a lopsided loss, he proved to be the epitome of a bad mother fucker.

With the seconds winding down in the epic five round war, Holloway then called for Gaethje to meet him in the middle and swing for the fences, something that has become Holloway's calling card at the end of the last rounds of his fights.

As always, Gaethje was eager to oblige as he ran to the middle, and the two literally began swinging for the bleachers to rapturous applause - it was a kind of insane, awe-inspiring spectacle that even bloodthirsty crowds many centuries ago in the Roman Colosseum would be astonished by.

But on this historic night, that wasn't the end of it.

Missing on his combination, Gaethje looked to throw one final uppercut in his frenzied, last-ditch attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. As he did so, he cared not one iota about defense, even as his mouth hung dangerously open thanks to his shattered nose.

A right hand from Max Holloway landed clean across Gaethje's jaw with just two seconds left in the fight, instantly shutting his lights off. Holloway let out an adrenaline-filled, hellacious roar even as Gaethje's lifeless body was still falling through the air, the unconscious warrior hitting the canvas at exactly one second left in the final round.

Max Holloway had not only become the first man to knock the ridiculously tough Justin Gaethje out, but he just created perhaps the greatest moment in MMA history.

It was the stuff of legend, the kind of thing that a movie could never capture because audiences simply wouldn't believe it possible.

A final second, buzzer beater knockout to end the Fight of the Year, one in which in the dying seconds, Holloway, who was easily up 3-1 on the scorecards and had won the fifth as well, invited his opponent to the center and risked it all to give him one last chance at victory, and himself one last chance at a show-stealing knockout.

It was the most unbelievable, most epic moment in a sport known for creating unbelievable, epic moments.

It was not only one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history, it was one of the greatest knockouts in combat sports history, and one of the most insane moments in sports, period.

If that wasn't worthy of being crowned the Baddest Mother Fucker in the world, I don't know what is.

The Bad - A fight like that, there really isn't anything to complain about; it was worth the price of admission on its own, to witness it as it unfolded a privilege that will forever live on as a core memory of anyone who saw it.

In the aftermath however, it's hard not to feel bad for Gaethje.

As Max said after the finish, Gaethje had everything to lose for this fight and put it all on the line for the fans.

He had secured his hard-earned shot at the lightweight title, ensuring a showdown with Islam Makachev in the near future and a chance to erase the memory of his failed title bid against Islam's mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Instead of waiting, Gaethje was offered a fight with Max Holloway - on such a big night, with such a willing dance partner he had so much respect for, and knowing how much the MMA community would love the match-up, Justin put his name on the dotted line and risked his shot at UFC gold to instead sign up for all-out war.

Holloway's brilliant back-kick broke Justin's nose badly just one round into the fight, and the resulting injury's severity harkened back to the likes of Rory MacDonald's badly broken nose when he faced Robbie Lawler nearly a decade ago in their epic welterweight title war back in 2015, with Rory eventually succumbing to the pain in the fifth round of that historic battle.

Despite the injury Gaethje valiantly fought back to the bitter end and even became the first man to force Max Holloway to touch the canvas.

He risked it all and once again at the end of a twenty-five minute war, he put it all on the line like he always does, wading into the fire that most fighters spend their career trying to avoid.

In the end he paid the price for taking such risks, becoming the victim of one of the craziest and most brutal knockouts you will ever see right in the center of the Octagon, a bitter reminder that as amazing as the sport is, it is also regularly relentlessly brutal and unforgiving.

Gaethje will need some well-deserved time off to heal up, and given his comments regarding it being his last run at the title, it may unfortunately be the last time we see Justin in the Octagon - hopefully, at least in the minds of us fans, he mounts up for at least one last battle, as there's still plenty of fight left in the old dog.

If he does decide to hang them up however, he certainly leaves the legacy of a true warrior behind; he gave everything he had into every one of his fights and left a piece of his soul in the Octagon every time he made the walk.

He went to war for the fans and time and again risked it all for our entertainment, delivering countless moments of beautiful destruction and bloody violence throughout his action-packed career - and for that he will always be remembered as one of the greatest legends in the history of mixed martial arts.

The Ugly - I've certainly criticized the UFC's stat-keeping in the past, and unfortunately this is yet another instance where they've proven clearly incompetent.

Justin Gaethje became the first man to knock down Max Holloway in the UFC when he did so in the fourth round, as we all saw - however, according to the UFC's official stats, the only knockdown of the fight occurred in the final seconds when Gaethje was knocked out.

Max may not have been really rocked as he immediately sprang back to his feet and certainly wasn't flash-KO'd like with many knockdowns, but it was a knockdown nonetheless and in a boxing or kickboxing match the referee would have rightly given him a count.

Even Max acknowledged this, as a reporter asked him about the UFC's stats showing it wasn't recorded as a knockdown, to which Max looked surprised and then said "yeah, that's right, it was just a slip" and laughed.

It's high time the UFC gets their shit together when it comes to stats - their "significant" strike counting is already broken as fuck, and now even knockdowns aren't being recorded accurately, leaving the authenticity of all their stats in question, something that you simply don't see with other sports and certainly not at the highest levels.

W Strawweight Championship - Zhang Weili vs. Yan Xiaonan

Zhang scored a lopsided decision over her fellow countrywoman

The Good - Before the night, many fans joked that this fight served as a breather between the two biggest fights fans were excited for, and in reality, after the final seconds of Holloway-Gaethje, we really needed a moment to catch our collective breath.

Despite the lengthy card, the UFC kept a brisk pace and really put other events to shame (particularly boxing with their ridiculously long breaks between fights and 20-minute walkouts/anthems), so much so that it was almost too much action for one night.

For an intermission however, Weili vs. Xiaonan was surprisingly fun in the early going, as a scramble-filled first round culminated with Zhang taking Yan's back and locking in a rear-naked choke as the seconds ticked away to end the round.

It appeared as if Yan would survive as the horn blew, yet when Zhang sat her up, it became clear Yan was unconscious, returning to a dazed state after she hunched over Zhang's leg as Weili got up to make her way to her corner.

She half-woke up and got to her feet in a wobbly daze, the ref not recognizing that Yan had gone out for a second and was trying to figure out what was going on.

Yan managed to get back to her corner and was woken up by her team and the cutman, the shock of the missed submission win adding quite a bit of drama during a time MMA fans could barely handle any more.

She came out for the second regardless which saw Weili dominate with her grappling and the champ landed plenty of ground and pound, but Yan looked to play spoiler in the third, dropping Weili while catching a low kick and securing plenty of control time and some ground and pound of her own.

Throwing naked low kicks seemed to be something Weili was determined to do even though she kept getting them caught and was taken down or dropped every time she did it, but her grappling advantage proved to be simply too much for the challenger as she took the last two rounds and won a lopsided decision.

The last couple of rounds were thankfully at a much slower pace, which if you were watching the event as it unfolded, was needed to give us all a chance to get our bearings again before the main event started.

The Bad - Jason Herzog really messed up at the end of the first round by not realizing that Yan was out.

Normally he's a solid ref, and mistakes happen, but in this case one would think someone cage-side with the commission would have stepped in and told Herzog to check out the replay - while Weili ended up winning anyway, had she lost the fight she would have legitimate grounds to file an appeal since she should have won via technical submission.

Light Heavyweight Championship - Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill

Pereira posterized Hill in just over three minutes

The Good - The main event can make or break any card and is the last impression the fans are left with before they leave the arena or turn off their TV - even for a card that was as epic and action-packed as 300, a dull main event would have left a sour taste in everyone's mouth and would drag down what was otherwise one of the greatest nights in UFC history.

Luckily, Alex Pereira, AKA "Poatan", is a man who always delivers.

The main event may not have been some crazy superfight booking or superstar-powered mind-blower of a match-up like Dana White had initially kept promising, and it certainly wasn't a fight that was pulled out of left-field - after all, it was well-established that Poatan's first title defense was slated to be against the last 205-pound champion Jamahal Hill as soon as he was ready following the injury he suffered last year - but like most of 300's match-ups, it was an exciting fight on paper that had a high potential for violence.

Pereira of course has turned into one of the UFC's most beloved and credentialed fighters after just two and a half years with the promotion.

Transitioning from his highly successful kickboxing career that saw him earn titles in two weight divisions with Glory, Pereira was still relatively unknown thanks to kickboxing's rather niche following, and yet in in the span of 12 months from his UFC debut late in 2021, Pereira would defeat his old rival Israel Adesanya and capture the middleweight crown.

A rematch that looked to be far more dominant from Pereira turned shocking when after having his leg chewed up, Izzy caught Poatan loading up while looking for the kill and knocked him out cold in the second round. Despite the two being 1-1 in the UFC and Pereira holding two victories over Adesanya in kickboxing, Izzy cared not for a rematch and instead Poatan moved to his more natural weight class of 205 pounds.

There, he made a quick turnaround and with a win over top-ranked Jan Blachowicz earned a crack at the vacant 205-pound title opposite former champ Jiri Prochazka, where he made UFC history and captured a second belt just 24 months after his promotional debut.

That belt of course had been vacated by one Jamahal Hill, who had viciously battered Glover Teixeira over the course of 25-minutes while Pereira, serving in the corner of his mentor and longtime friend Teixeira, watched hopelessly ringside.

Poatan's death stare toward Hill following the fight had fans anticipating Pereira's move up to avenge his mentor even back then, and just over a year later, sure enough, Pereira was there to avenge Glover, despite now already being the champion himself.

The fight's odds were close due to most people believing Hill could give Poatan problems if he was able to successfully mix in takedowns and turn it into a full MMA fight, but Hill was adamant that he could defeat the mighty striker on the feet (and some fans and even other fighters echoed this sentiment); his dismissive attitude towards Poatan's kickboxing past however was the kind of hubris that the internet doesn't forget.

Fight week started cordially enough as Hill created a rather wholesome moment with his opponent, seeking out Pereira and asking him to sign a sweater for the event that he was getting all the fighters to sign, and he even asked what Poatan's now famous "Chama" catchphrase meant as the two exchanged a handshake and took pictures.

That mutual respect was quickly tossed out the window however as Hill talked shit and tried his best to intimidate the stone-faced champion at the pre-fight press conference, destroying the friendly vibe that had come earlier in the week and ultimately drawing the wrath of a vicious demon named Poatan.

Just over two years after his debut, Pereira was walking out to defend his light heavyweight title for the first time on the baddest card in UFC history in front of a roaring crowd, many of whom had been relentlessly saying "chama" and annoying any non-MMA fans in the vicinity all week (I know I was).

True to his word (and definitely not the smartest strategy), Hill opted to stand and strike with the Brazilian powerhouse, but like all of Poatan's fights, his deceptively powerful, no-windup leg kicks quickly left their mark on his victim's lead leg.

Hill had promised that he had a plan for those low kicks, but for as long as the fight lasted, that plan did not appear to work - though he did manage to move his leg out of the way a couple of times, the rest of Alex's kicks all landed flush on Hill's lead leg.

Poatan was also landing solid shots to Hill's body, sniping his flabby midsection while Hill simply couldn't find a way to close the distance, his long one-two's easily avoided by the champion thanks to the exaggerated distance he had established while he was still in range to land his crippling low kicks. Hill seemed to really have no answer for the Brazilian champion on the feet, not an encouraging sign especially if he was truly deadset on purely striking with Pereira.

And then, rather quickly, shit got crazy.

Hill managed to land his first (and only) significant shot on Poatan - unfortunately it was a low blow, a kick that loudly clanged off Pereira's cup. As Herb Dean stepped in to call a timeout and allow the champ time to recover from the accidental foul, Pereira instead held out his hand in the most commanding way possible and kept Dean back - if I can be an interpreter for a moment, I believe his body language said "hold on brother, I'm about to take this man's soul".

The fight continued and just a few seconds later, Alex launched his perfect left hook - despite virtually no visible hip rotation, the Brazilian legend somehow generates an unreal amount of power in his lead hook, so much so that even partially landing it with only his lower knuckles across Hill's mouth was enough to send the former champion falling to the canvas with his eyes rolling into the back of his head.

A few follow up shots had Hill momentarily unconscious and Herb finally saved "Sweet Dreams" from taking a much longer nap in the cage.

Pereira then followed up his brutal finish by turning Jamahal into a meme, highlighting just how easily he had defeated the former title holder and the champ made sure to rub it in after Hill had opted to disrespect him.

Not only that, but he had beat up his "older brother" Glover, something that Pereira surely thought of when he sent his deadly left hook flying in Hill's direction.

It was another insane moment in a night filled with them, and the perfect way to close the show on the UFC's most stacked card ever.

Here's to the next one hundred UFC pay-per-views, may they be even greater than the last.


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