UFC 300 Best Bets: Our Favorite Picks for Alex Pereira vs Jamahal Hill & More (Saturday, April 13)

UFC 300 Best Bets: Our Favorite Picks for Alex Pereira vs Jamahal Hill & More (Saturday, April 13) article feature image

Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira

Check out our UFC 300 best bets with our top picks for the Saturday pay-per-view event in Las Vegas with the Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill title fight.

UFC 300 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Preliminary-card bouts are available on ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET) and ESPN (8 p.m. ET) before the five-fight main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET (cost: $79.99).

UFC 300 boasts one of the deepest fight cards in MMA history. The landmark event features three title fights – two of them official and one of the "BMF" variety – plus 10 other matchups. In fact, 12 of the 26 fighters on the UFC 300 fight card are current or former UFC champions, including two in the very first fight.

So, where is the betting edge? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's UFC 300 projections below using odds from DraftKings.

*UFC 300 odds for matchups as of Saturday evening and via DraftKings. Bet on UFC 300 with our DraftKings promo code!

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Sean Zerillo: Holly Holm vs. Kayla Harrison

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:25 p.m. ET

Kayla Harrison (-455), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, is a similar stylistic matchup to the opponent whom Holly Holm (+350) made her name off of: Ronda Rousey.

Still, that fight was nine years ago, and Holm – now 42 – has become more reliant on grappling at this stage of her career.

Harrison is 10 years younger than Holm, and when there is at least a decade age gap between UFC combatants, the younger fighter has won 70% of the time at average odds of -138, or 58% implied, 12% above expectation.

Moreover, Harrison should be significantly stronger, heavier and more physical than Holm, and she may only need one takedown to finish the fight. If Harrison gains mount, look for her to leverage up and land elbows, a strike that's banned under the PFL ruleset but which she deployed aggressively in Invicta FC.

Holm has shown solid takedown defense (78%) throughout her career. Still, her athleticism has severely declined relative to her peak, and her bottom game – once she's put flat on the mat – is a deficiency relative to her overall skill set.

However, Holm is the more technical striker and may have the cardio advantage if this fight extends; Harrison is cutting significant weight to make this debut because the UFC has disbanded its featherweight division, and there's a potential that she gasses out badly – and gets finished – in the second half of this fight.

As a result, though I project value on Harrison to win inside the distance (projected +106, listed +130), I'd prefer to bet the fight to end inside the distance (projected -123, listed +100) at -110 or better.

The Pick: Holly Holm vs. Kayla Harrison Doesn't Go to Decision (+100 at BetMGM)

Billy Ward: Jiri Prochazka vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET

Given the tumultuous past few years of the light heavyweight division, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Jiri Prochazka’s bid to reclaim the title he never lost ended in (mild) controversy last November.

Prochazka was competing with current champion and UFC 300 headliner Alex Pereira in his first fight back from a significant shoulder injury. After winning the first round, he ate a left hook, shot for a takedown, and then collapsed following a series of elbows from Pereira.

At least that’s what Marc Goddard saw. Based on Prochazka’s immediate protests following the stoppage, he might’ve just slipped and fell awkwardly.

Either way, in a slightly different universe, Prochazka (-102) is defending his title in the main event on Saturday. Instead, he’s on the prelims against Alexander Rakic (-118).

Rakic is returning from an injury of his own, a torn ACL nearly two years ago against Jan Blachowicz. That could be a big factor here since the easiest path to victory against the awkward Prochazka is by flattening his tires with leg kicks.

Rakic’s injury seemed to be at least partially caused by Blachowicz repeatedly checking his kicks, and he could be reluctant to go back to that well. There are other stylistic difficulties too, including Rakic’s typical reliance on his reach advantage – which he won’t have over Prochazka.

The other flaw I noticed when breaking down tape on Rakic is his tendency to drop his right hand on the follow-through from his punches. Normally he gets away with that by keeping the distance, raising his guard once his opponent gets in close.

That’s not a good plan against the longer Prochazka, whose awkward striking angles can surprise opponents when they feel like they’re in a position of safety.

The combination of the styles involved and the injury factor on Rakic is enough for me to take Prochazka even with the line moving his way this week. I’d bet him down to -120 or so, after which I’d look for his inside-the-distance odds as an alternative.

The Pick: Jiri Prochazka (-100 at bet365)

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Tony Sartori: Zhang Weili vs. Yan Xiaonan

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 p.m. ET

Saturday's UFC 300 co-main event features champion Zhang Weili (-520) defending her strawweight title as a heavy favorite against the No. 1-ranked contender, Yan Xiaonan (+390). If you want to back Weili as such a massive favorite, then most of us will need to look at the prop market to avoid paying nearly five dollars on the moneyline.

Oddsmakers are expecting this fight to reach the championship rounds, with the odds set at -168 for that market. The question then is whether or not Xiaonan can hang on for those final two rounds if she is getting worked, which will likely be the case given the near-five-dollar price tag on the heavy favorite.

Xiaonan is an extremely tough and durable fighter, and I think the main reason Weili's decision odds are paying out +215 is that we saw Xiaonan get finished in the second round by Carla Esparza a few years ago. However, that is the only time she has been finished by KO/TKO in a career that spans more than 15 years and includes 21 professional fights.

Additionally, it's not like she got starched in that loss. Rather, Esparza had Xiaonan's arms pinned in a crucifix so that the former was just reigning down punishment until the ref decided enough was enough. Don't get me wrong, it was a proper stoppage, but that means she has never been truly "chinned" across her entire career, and I believe she can survive against Weili as well.

Xiaonan went the distance in a five-round bout against Mackenzie Dern, proving she can make it to the judges' input in a 25-minute affair. But, at the end of the day, Weili is just the better fighter in every aspect of this matchup.

I don't think we will see as lopsided of a result from Weili as we saw in her latest unanimous decision title defense victory over Amanda Lemos, but I think it will go relatively similarly.

The Pick: Zhang Weili by Decision (+215 at BetRivers)

Dann Stupp: Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:55 p.m. ET

It just seems like this is too much, too soon for Jamahal Hill.

In Saturday's main event, Hill (+120) has a chance to reclaim the belt he never lost when he fights recently installed light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira (-142).

Even under ideal conditions, it'd be hard to accurately predict this potentially volatile title fight. But "Poatan" to the head, I think Hill still faces a bit of an uphill battle and tops Pereira only about 40% of the time (fair odds of -150).

Therefore, having to pay only -125 odds on Pereira – the best available line at the time of this writing – is already a value proposition for us. But when you factor in Pereira's Achilles injury and the accelerated timeline for his return to the cage from such a serious injury, it's hard to feel super confident in him, as my colleague (and superior bettor) Billy Ward pointed out.

Additionally, as Sean Zerillo mentioned, Hill's footwork can also be a mess (and his foot injury isn't likely to help matters). Against a dangerous kicker and puncher like Pereira, it could be just the small crack in Hill's armor that the champ needs.

I know no one wants a "tune-up fight" for an ex-champ who never lost his belt in the cage. But I'd feel so much better about Hill's chances against Pereira if he had a post-surgery win under his belt already and proved his foot is ready for some of the sport's hardest hitters.

I'm going to put a unit on Pereira for now, and I may add more if the line improves as fight time approaches. Additionally, I'll be perusing the prop markets to look at some finish/inside-the-distance options, though those markets have already been pretty tapped.

The Pick: Alex Pereira (-125 at DraftKings)

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