UFC 301 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria: Payback Time for Brazil? (Saturday, May 4)

UFC 301 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria: Payback Time for Brazil? (Saturday, May 4) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC middleweight Michel Pereira of Brazil

Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria Odds

Pereira Odds-600
Potieria Odds+450
Over/Under1.5 (+114 / -146)
LocationFarmasi Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time10:30 p.m. ET
How to WatchESPN+ PPV
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via FanDuel. Bet on UFC 301 with our FanDuel promo code

Here's everything you need to know about the Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria odds at UFC 301 on Saturday, May 4 – our expert UFC prediction and pick.

The last time Ihor Potieria was in Brazil, he dispatched Brazilian legend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in Shogun's retirement fight, upsetting the always-vibrant Rio crowd with his post-fight celebration.

Something tells me his later explanation didn't win him many fans in Brazil either:

Ihor Poteira says he's a duelist and was showing Shogun respect with his post fight dance by not shooting him. Then he repeated the dance. pic.twitter.com/ObZz8dMB4n

— Oscar Willis (@oscarswillis) January 22, 2023

All of which I mention to shed some light on the matchmaking here.

"The Duelist" is a massive underdog in a fight that doesn't make much sense on paper, but it could perhaps serve as a form of catharsis for the fans.

Still, anything can happen in a fight, and to Potieria's credit, he looked much better in his last appearance at middleweight. And with UFC 301 opponent Michel Pereira a former welterweight, there's perhaps an argument to be made for the underdog.

Let's dig into the tape and see if it holds any water.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time10:407:08
Weight (pounds)186 lbs.185 lbs.
Reach (inches)73"75"
Date of birth10/6/19935/29/1996
Sig Strikes Per Min5.155.19
SS Accuracy54%50%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.715.01
SS Defense58%51%
Take Down Avg1.550.00
TD Acc55%0%
TD Def94%57%
Submission Avg0.70.0

Through his first four UFC fights, Potieria's only UFC win was the aforementioned putting-out-to-pasture of Shogun Rua. It's pretty easy to look past that one – Shogun was 41 at the time and a shell of his former self.

It seemed like the Ukranian fighter's time in the UFC octagon was coming to an end – until he dropped to middleweight. At his new weight class, Potieria had an impressive showing, dropping Robert Bryczek in the third round en route to a unanimous decision win.

We saw the best of Potieria in that fight. He's a high-volume striker who gets the most out of his reach by fighting from an upright stance. A southpaw, he uses long kicks from the left side at range to keep opponents at bay, and he then snipes with a powerful left hand when opponents rush in too aggressively.

His power is undeniable, and he has three knockdowns across six fights at light heavyweight, including the Contender Series. That he went on to lose a fight in which he scored a knockdown is also telling. Potieria offers very little in the grappling department offensively or defensively.

Crucially, his striking defense is also lackluster. He lands about the same volume of strikes as UFC 301 opponent Pereira – while absorbing an extra 1.3 per minute along the way. He frequently finds himself losing the lead-foot battle that's so crucial for lefty-vs.-righty matchups, letting his opponents fight from an advantageous angle.

I see that as Potieria's primary problem in this matchup. Pereira has largely abandoned the wild striking of his early UFC tenure, but his rapid footwork and stance-switching remain.

Coupled with an obvious speed and athleticism edge, he should be able find his way inside Potieria's guard quickly.

It's also a somewhat new weight class for Pereira. After missing weight for a planned welterweight matchup against Stephen Thompson, the massive Brazilian made the jump up to 185 pounds.

I typically don't love mid-career weight-class changes, but going up seems to fare better than going down. Pereira looks more than big enough for 185, and he has answered any questions about his power with two first-round finishes at middleweight. Plus, Pereira now has a further speed edge over larger and slower middleweights.

Pereira vs. Potieria Pick

Given Pereira's seven-fight winning streak and Potieria's one-fight "not looking awful" streak, the wide moneyline here makes sense. Based on Pereira's physique in his two middleweight bouts, I'm not even convinced Potieria will be the bigger fighter come fight time on Saturday.

It's also notable that both of those fights were against primarily southpaw fighters, and Pereira made short work of them. He seems to have no trouble dealing with the opposite-stance matchup given his unorthodox and dynamic movement.

I'm expecting something similar this time around. Potieria is at best a poor man's Michal Oleksiejczuk, whom Pereira demolished in 61 seconds on the feet. The Brazilian also has a massive grappling edge and could hit the "easy button" at any point by shooting for a takedown.

The one possible concern for Pereira is his cardio. Typically we think the reduced weight cut benefits fighters' cardio when they jump a weight class. However, carrying that extra muscle comes at a cost, and we haven't seen him extended at 185 yet. On the other side, Potieria's cardio impressed me at middleweight, and he likely has to do a lot more cardio to make the lower weight.

Therefore, I'm taking Pereira in Round 1 at +120 on FanDuel, but I will also be keeping an eye on the live markets. If Potieria survives the onslaught, he'll likely have massive odds after the first round.

The Picks: Michel Pereira in Round 1 (+120 at FanDuel) | Ihor Potieria live after Round 1

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