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UFC 301: Pantoja vs. Erceg Fight Card Odds and Picks

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 10:42 am by Erwin Noguera

After the UFC 300, we are back into the cycle as we have our first numbered event since, and we are taking the trip to the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to sit down and get a nice spectacle with a good title fight and a lot of local talent to please a crowd known to be one of the most intense out there.

This numbered card is headlined by the clash between Alexandre Pantoja and Steve Erceg for Pantoja’s first defense in the Flyweight Division.

The co-main event is a bantamweight bout between Jonathan Martinez and the “King of Rio”, Jose Aldo, which is a fight for all locals to enjoy.

Besides the main event and co-main, all the fans should be eager for the event to go down, as each of the matches, between the 9 prelims and the 5 main card fights, will have a local fighter in them, which means the crowd will be hyped from start to finish!

You can check all the UFC/MMA bets, the analysis of each fighter, and the final bet you can make in these fights.

UFC 301: Pantoja vs. Erceg Fight Card Odds and Picks


Saturday, April 4th, at 6:00 pm ET

Moneyline odds

Alexandre Pantoja 1.51 / Steve Erceg 2.593

Jonathan Martinez 1.68 / José Aldo 2.21

Anthony Smith 4.845 / Vitor Petrino 1.189

Michel Pereira 1.162 / Ihor Potieria 5.28

Paul Craig 4.895 / Caio Borralho 1.185

Joanderson Brito 1.635 / Jack Shore 2.235

Karolina Kowalkiewicz 3.905 / Iasmin Lucindo 1.26

Elves Brener 2.795 / Myktybek Orolbai 1.44

Jean Silva 1.83 / William Gomis 1.94

Joaquim Silva 2.445 / Drakkar Klose 1.55

Mauricio Ruffy 1.454 / Jamie Mullarkey 2.685

Dione Barbosa 1.5 / Ernesta Kareckaite 2.566

Ismael Bonfim 1.173 / Vinc Pichel 4.835

Alessandro Costa 1.71 / Kevin Borjas 2.117

Where can I watch it?

UFC Fight Pass

UFC 301: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg

Why Bet on Alexandre Pantoja?

Pantoja is a fighter that you can pick against most opponents because he always gives convincing displays of a championship-caliber fighter, and has multiple paths to victory every time.

The current champion is coming off epic wins over Brandon Royval and Brandon Moreno and is not expecting to have issues as he comes into the octagon for his second defense.

The Brazilian is one of the most durable fighters in MMA history, having never been finished in 32 professional bouts – 14 of which took place in the UFC. 

Why Bet on Steve Erceg?

Erceg has managed to bag himself a title shot from 11th in the rankings, despite having only three fights in the company. 

Aside from fighters coming into the organization with a strong reputation in combat sports, or women’s divisions, we can’t think of a fighter who has made their way to a title shot quicker than Erceg has in recent years.

We don’t think you can look at his performance against Alessandro Costa or David Dvorak and come away with any conclusion regarding his chances against the Brazilian. One could guess you could take something from the opening five minutes against Schnell… but that’s still not a great comparison because Schnell’s biggest weakness is still Pantoja’s biggest strength.

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg Final Betting Analysis:

The champion is a fighter who weaponizes his durability by pushing a pace and creating chaos in which he knows he can be the more durable one. Aside from that, he’s also got an elite submission game, and his grappling is top-notch. His striking certainly isn’t bad either.

But that doesn’t sound as much of a nightmare for Erceg as it does for a lot of other guys. Steve’s done most of his work in the UFC on the feet, where he has shown some very impressive durability. 

As a result, people also forget that he’s primarily a grappler, having six submissions on his record. Of course, we do expect him to be inferior to Pantoja in both areas, but it’s unlikely we will see him getting steamrolled like Perez, Royval or Schnell did.

It’d be an interesting fight and a great defense for the champion.

UFC 301: Jonathan Martinez vs. José Aldo

Why Bet on Jonathan Martinez?

During the time that the King of Rio was away, Martinez won three fights inside the Octagon, finishing Cub Swanson and Adrian Yanez with leg kicks and decision-ing Said Nurmagomedov. 

Given his activity and the fact he is seven years younger than Aldo, we expected to see him given shorter odds than he’s currently getting.

Why Bet on José Aldo?

The 37-year-old former Featherweight champ last fought in the cage in 2022, losing a unanimous decision to Merab Dvalishvili, and announced his retirement after that.

Jose Aldo has been boxing, which gives some positive signs that he’s still keeping in some sort of shape – but he drew with Jeremy Stephens and beat two guys with combined pro records of 0-9-1. Hardly enough to believe he’ll be as sharp as when he was an active UFC fighter.

Jonathan Martinez vs. José Aldo Final Betting Analysis:

Unfortunately for Martinez, Aldo is not going to lose out to the leg-kicking game, instead he may be the one landing the significant leg strikes there. That kind of takes away one of Martinez’s most reliable weapons, which makes this one even more interesting.

Other than that, we genuinely don’t know what more to say. Logic and history tell us that the younger and more conditioned Martinez should win here, but if Aldo manages to find a special Brazilian doctor of some sort, or if he just ends up being fortunate that father time is generous to him, then the Jose Aldo we know and love should confidently beat Jonathan Martinez.

We are going with the latter idea just because we love to see Aldo in the cage.

UFC 301: Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino

Why Bet on Anthony Smith?

The UFC has granted quite a reward to Anthony Smith for his years of warrior spirit, company-first mentality, and contributions on the UFC analyst bench. This reward is a fight against one of the LHW division’s scariest upcoming prospects. How generous of them. 

Nonetheless, Smith is still talking crazy in interviews saying he’s close to a title shot with a win here.

Why Bet on Vitor Petrino?

Vitor Petrino had one of those questionable records coming into the UFC. People have tried to fade him with Anton Turkalj, Marcin Prachnio, Modestas Bukauskas, and most recentlyTyson Pedro. 

Petrino is just so physically imposing. Whether he’s using his wrestling or striking, it just always feels like his opponents are tentative that Petrino’s about to do something explosive and dangerous. It’s been quite impressive seeing him show off his wrestling ability, as most believed him to be a pure striker who would struggle on the ground.

Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino Final Betting Analysis:

Anthony Smith is a very interesting litmus test for any aspiring top 15’er though, because even though Smith is very shopworn and a bit mentally muddled, he is still a very well-rounded martial artist who is respectably skilled everywhere.

He can be out-grappled by a safe guard-chilling gameplan, or just by generally being a more powerful striker though, and these are two routes that Petrino can take. 

Whilst that’s enough to deem him the favorite against a declining Smith, this is enough of a step up in competition for the fans to enjoy seeing him struggle and fight for real in case he can’t find an early finish.

UFC 301: Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria

Why Bet on Michel Pereira?

Michel Pereira is one of the hardest non-heavyweight hitters in the UFC.

He is one of the biggest favorites on the card at UFC 301. And there’s no mystery as to why. Since finding a nice balance between being effective and being bats**t, he’s managed to build a seven-fight win streak.

Now he comes into the main card to hype the fans up for the home fighters that come up after him. 

Why Bet on Ihor Potieria?

Ihor Potieria is a bang-average fighter who isbeing used as a litmus test for a lot of unproven prospects. He’s very beatable and the perfect sacrificial lamb to get you an easy UFC win on your record. 

He was originally scheduled to face Shara Bullet Magomedov, who is the flavor of the month.Hell, they even tried to use him as a softball for 40-year-old Shogun Rua last year.

Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria Final Betting Analysis:

This fight makes absolutely no sense from a ranking perspective, but it makes all the sense in the world from a narrative and promotional perspective.

Potieria’s recent upset win over Robert Bryczek does demonstrate that he’s got SOME life in him though, but there’s a massive difference between Bryczek and Michel Pereira. Potieria isn’t overly interested in shooting for takedowns either, making this even more of a nightmare fight for him.

Certainly feels like he’s been brought down to Brazil as a live body for Pereira to wheel kick.

UFC 301: Paul Craig vs. Caio Borralho

Why Bet on Paul Craig?

Paul Craig has long been one of the most successful and inspiring UK fighters – and his fights at various UFC Londons have often been the highlight of the entire events. 

But in terms of in-cage ability…he’s as one-dimensional as it gets. His style is pretty much identical to Royce Gracie in the earliest UFC days. 

He has an elite submission game, but everything else in his skillset is hugely inferior, which will always limit him.

Why Bet on Caio Borralho?

 Caio Borralho is a severely underrated wrestler, and that is what makes him so great. We do not doubt that his wrestling is superior to Craig’s, which will result in more top-control time for the Brazilian. 

Of course, Caio is an elite BJJ fighter himself, so like Allen and Muniz before him, we are not worried about Craig’s offense from guard.

Paul Craig vs. Caio Borralho Final Betting Analysis:

The only other ways we could see Craig winning this fight are the same as the Muniz fight, via superior striking or cardio. Right off the bat, we don’t think Craig’s a better striker than Caio, and the aforementioned wrestling success should stop that from being the story of the fight if Caio approaches the fight intelligently.

But the cardio dynamic could be one to be wary of. We think the complaints about Caio’s cardio are vastly overdone – he’s won the third round on 11 of the 12 scorecards that have been submitted in his UFC career.

Caio should win this fight at least 80% of the time, so our betting pick is placed on him.

UFC 301: Joanderson Brito vs. Jack Shore

Why Bet on Joanderson Brito?

 Joanderson Brito is quite overrated. He’s so explosive and dangerous, that it makes up for some pretty significant flaws. He’s an awful minute-winner, and any opponent that can stay safe against him is likely going to win on the scorecards. 

Brito has bulldozed three opponents in R1, shown a moment of brilliance against Jonathan Pearce, and was out-hustled by Bill Algeo. That shows a 4-1 UFC record, but all we see is a guy who has lost more minutes in the UFC cage than he’s won. 

He’s also getting secondhand hype because he beat Diego Lopes on DWCS, and that guy is possibly the most exciting prospect in the UFC right now.

Why Bet on Jack Shore?

Shore has the grappling to give it a good go. Just like Jonathan Pearce before him, Shore can use his intense wrestling to stay safe from Brito’s striking. 

Jack Shore also has good BJJ, which makes us feel confident he can avoid Brito’s opportunistic but ultimately low percentage submission from the bottom – at least better than Pearce did.

Joanderson Brito vs. Jack Shore Final Betting Analysis:

The striking is where Brito has a big advantage, and his dangerousness will certainly show itself there in the early goings. Shore hasn’t fought any dangerous strikers in his UFC tenure so far, so it’s kind of hard to say how well he will fare in those striking moments.

This is one of those fights where breaking down the betting line from a probability perspective gives an uncomfortable feeling, however, you spin it. 

Brito has more ways to win and is somewhat of a fan favorite, so we can understand why he is lower than 2. However, it is also really easy to see the path to victory for Jack Shore.

We think Shore could easily do what Jonathan Pearce or Bill Algeo did. Brito is a boogeyman who is half the fighter he’s hyped up to be if he can’t find a finish, and we are betting on him being unable to finish here.

UFC 301: Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Iasmin Lucindo

Why Bet on Karolina Kowalkiewicz?

For KK this is the wake-up call she knew was coming eventually. KK’s resurgence has been such an inspiring journey, from getting brutalized, struggling badly with her mental health, taking time off, and coming back to string together four wins on the trot. 

That post-fight interview against Herrig was one of our favorite interview moments in UFC history.

But, having said all that, the UFC has been kind to her. They’ve given her competitive fights that she is capable of winning if she keeps herself together…but Diana Belbita, Vanessa Demopoulos, Silvana Gomez Suarez, and Felice Herrig are certainly a lower caliber within WMMA who have already shown us their ceiling. Iasmin Lucindo is a completely different fighter.

Why Bet on Iasmin Lucindo?

Lucinda is a prospect, pure and simple. She’s gotgreat striking and great BJJ. We said when she fought Jauregui in her debut that these two could easily meet again in the top five of the division in a few years, and we believe that her sophomore performance against Polyana Viana showed that. Viana’s badand it was the perfect matchup for her, but there’s reason to believe that this one could be too.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Iasmin Lucindo Final Betting Analysis:

Kowalkiewicz’s resurgence has relied on her fighting opponents who mostly want to strike, and even if not, the wrestling of these women has been at a level she could handle.

We just don’t expect that to be the case against Lucindo. Iasmin has an advantage in speed, and age/youthfulness as 16 years the junior. A fan has to know that plays a massive part in fights, and we expect it to be here.

Karolina isn’t particularly good on the mat if the takedowns land, but we just haven’t seen it for some time. If Lucindo gets top time, she will probably maneuver her way to submission with relative ease.

UFC 301: Elves Brener vs. Myktybek Orolbai

Why Bet on Elves Brener?

Brener steps into the UFC (possibly on short notice?) and gets a win as a massive underdog against Tukhugov, then pulls off another upset against Guram Kutateladze. 

His opponent pulls out of his third fight and they give him a guy with a 15-1 record. Now he’s 3-0 and you’d finally think they start to give him the chance to build up some hype…but then they go and book him against Myktkbek Orolbai.

The Matchmakers can’t seem to let him catch a break here.

Why Bet on Myktybek Orolbai?

 For those who haven’t seen Orolbai’s debut against Uros Medic last year, it was one of the best debuts of 2023. He stuck to the Serbian like glue and, despite some persistent get-ups, managed to find the submission relatively easily in what was a dominant performance.

Unfortunately, that fight was so one-sided that we don’t know anything else about Orolbai at this level, as his other recent bouts took place on LFA against guys with 18-14 and 10-7 records.

Elves Brener vs. Myktybek Orolbai Final Betting Analysis:

Elves Brener has continued to play spoiler so far in his UFC career and continues to be underrated by the books despite that. Does he deserve to be where he is on the odds here? Only if Orolbai is the real deal.

We will get our answers, but when it comes to the betting pick, we are going against the tide in this one, and putting our hope on Brener to continue being this weird dark horse in the division.

UFC 301: Jean Silva vs. William Gomis

Why Bet on Jean Silva?

Jean Silva is a very explosive Brazilian who trains with Caio Borralho’s Fighting Nerds. We saw him most recently when he obliterated the vastly inferior Westin Wilson, and God knows how that kid got asked to come to the UFC.

Before that, we saw Silva go 15 minutes on DWCS, and his style looks a lot less impressive when he can’t find a finish. There wasn’t much investment in striking fundamentals, everything was a big action with fight-ending intentions.

Why Bet on William Gomis?

 The Frenchman has a very underrated style, one that isn’t going to grab all the highlights or get him clamoring for a main event, but it’s still a very useful one inside the cage. 

He’s well-rounded andhas great kicks to compliment a very technical striking style that goes well with his long frame. I was made first aware of Gomis when he dismantled the overhyped Cage Warriors prospect Tobias Harila. 

Gomis was calm amongst the chaos and put in a professional performance that likely got the ball rolling to eventually earn him a UFC contract. The experience from that fight will serve him well here.

Jean Silva vs. William Gomis Final Betting Analysis:

William Gomis has the potential to win this one quite comfortably if he can play the “Matador” game. Whilst that sounds like we are gearing up to bet him, we are just calculating the risks for Silva. 

Furthermore, we are obviously in Brazil where we think the crowd can certainly emphasize the work that Silva does, which may twist the judges’ arms a bit more.

So there’s value on Gomis, but not enough to warrant a bet. We believe that he will be hitting the air for quite a bit in this fight, but he may do just enough to achieve victory here if he keeps going forward.

UFC 301: Joaquim Silva vs. Drakkar Klose

Why Bet on Joaquim Silva?

 Joaquim Silva has a similar level of experience, but his UFC record paints a different picture by comparison. The caliber of fighters he has lost two does vary, but a decision loss to Vinc Pichel, as well as being finished by Ricky Glenn and Nasrat Haqparast, doesn’t fill someone with confidence.

Silva’s most recent win came against 41-year-old Clay Guida, where he clearly lost a round and honestly could have lost the fight with a couple of adjustments. That was a terrible look for him.

Why Bet on Drakkar Klose?

Klose is a well-rounded fighter whose biggest issue had typically been his lack of finishing ability, but he’s still a very reliable fighter who will work hard for 15 minutes. 

He’s been in competitive fights with the likes of Beneil Dariush, Marc Diakiese, and Bobby Green in his time, and these bouts have spanned across all different realms of MMA. 

He’s never really done anything that will blow your hair back, but we think that makes him a bit underrated. 

Joaquim Silva vs. Drakkar Klose Final Betting Analysis:

Statistically, Silva has a negative strike differential, and most of the key metrics are inferior to Klose as well. There’s every chance that this one turns into a barn burner, which would suit the more dangerous Brazilian; but we fully expect Drakkar Klose to put on a typical 15-minute performance, where he settles down into his pace, and mixes in his superior striking and wrestling to coherently win rounds. 

It probably won’t be the most entertaining fight we’ve ever seen, but a commanding win is perfect for the record. A vintage Drakkar Klose performance is what we expect, and that means he gets the win here.

UFC 301: Mauricio Ruffy vs. Jamie Mullarkey

Why Bet on Mauricio Ruffy?

Mauricio Ruffy has won all of his professional fights via KO and has fought quite a few cans in his day. 

He is the favorite here and is very undeserving of that price tag against a guy with a decent amount of UFC experience.

Why Bet on Jamie Mullarkey?

Jamie Mullarkey is very unreliable, has a bad fight IQ, and just generally isn’t very good.Dude lost a striking fight to Michael Johnson and got KO’d by Nasrat Haqparast, two things we thought were very hard to do in this day and age.

Mauricio Ruffy vs. Jamie Mullarkey Final Betting Analysis:

Ruffy makes it to UFC proper after a technical knockout win on Contender Series last year. Mullarkey continues to collect frequent flyer miles here, coming off a technical knockout loss to Nasrat Haqparast in Dec. 2023.

With that on his record, we are expecting “One Shot” to showcase his nickname once again here, and get a quick finish in this fight.

UFC 301: Dione Barbosa vs. Ernesta Kareckaite

Why Bet on Dione Barbosa?

The hype in this fight is behind Barbosa as the hometown fighter and former Olympic athlete. Barbosa is the rightful favorite but may be slightly overpriced given that Kareckaite will be significantly larger with a five-inch reach advantage.

Why Bet on Ernesta Kareckaite?

Given that Kareckaite stuffed all three takedowns attempted on her on DWCS and has shown excellent distance management as a former kickboxer, Barbosa could be in for a long night if she cannot find success with her grappling early.

Dione Barbosa vs. Ernesta Kareckaite Final Betting Analysis:

There is not much to talk about in this fight in general, as both fighters are going to be making their UFC Debuts and have, in total, less than 10 professional fights when their numbers are paired together.

With both being so green overall, we have to put what we know into the table, and that is the height and reach difference, along with the takedown game from both sides.

It’ll be Barboza’s Olimpic Judo level vs. Kareckaite’s aggressive takedowns here, but the reach will help Ernesta have the striking edge over the local fighter.

We are putting our betting pick on the upset here, and bet against the local even though we believe things should be tight.

UFC 301: Ismael Bonfim vs. Vinc Pichel

Why Bet on Ismael Bonfim?

Ismael Bonfim returns from what was originally a massive upset at the hands of Benoit Saint-Denis last July, but thankfully for him the Frenchman’s performances since have helped that result age well, as he elevated himself to prospect status and faced Poirier.

We were sadly all aboard the Ismael Bonfim hype train, as we deemed his debut win over Terrance McKinney as arguably the debut of the year for 2023.McKinney’s been fraud-checked a fair bit since then so that win has coincidentally aged badly on the reverse. Nonetheless, we still think this Bonfim is good and will eventually turn into a top 15 fighter.

Why Bet on Vinc Pichel?

 Vinc Pichel is old but not particularly shopworn due to a lack of commitment to his MMA career. He’s a well-rounded guy who always seems to end up in grappling-based fights. 

Pichel has been competitive with the likes of Mark Madsen, Austin Hubbard, Jim Miller, and Roosevelt Roberts in recent years, which kind of paints the picture that he’s capable but limited.

Ismael Bonfim vs. Vinc Pichel Final Betting Analysis:

We think it’s fair to assume that Ismael Bonfim really should have Pichel covered here. He’s the way more dangerous fighter and will be the one having moments of success where he threatens to finish. 

Outside of some sort of massive cardio dump, we believe he is likely to either find a finish or competently win 2/3 rounds with relative ease.

UFC 301: Alessandro Costa vs. Kevin Borjas

Why Bet on Alessandro Costa?

Alessandro Costa is a very flawed fighter. Good skills across the board, but the guy’s volume is so… low. We did bet against him when he faced Steve Erceg, and that was most of the reason.

Why Bet on Kevin Borjas?

He faces Kevin Borjas, who we don’t know much about other than he isn’t as good of a striker as Joshua Van, which doesn’t tell us much at all. He did win a round in that fight, but that’s because Van is a bit of a slow starter and will take some time to get going.

Alessandro Costa vs. Kevin Borjas Final Betting Analysis:

From their previous fights, there is not much to expect from either side, but we are more unsure about Kevin Borjas, so our betting pick is placed on Costa to get the win. 

Pantoja vs. Erceg Betting Pick: Alexandre Pantoja

Martinez vs. Aldo Betting Pick: Jose Aldo

Smith vs. Petrino Betting Pick: Vitor Petrino

Pereira vs. Potieria Betting Pick: Michel Pereira

Craig vs. Borralho Betting Pick: Caio Borralho

Brito vs. Shore Betting Pick: Jack Shore

Kowalkiewicz vs. Lucindo Betting Pick: Iasmin Lucindo

Brener vs. Orolbai Betting Pick: Elves Brener

Silva vs. Gomis Betting Pick: William Gomis

Silva vs. Klose Betting Pick: Drakkar Klose

Ruffy vs. Mullarkey Betting Pick: Mauricio Ruffy

Barbosa vs. Kareckaite Betting Pick: Kareckaite

Bonfim vs. Pichel Betting Pick: Ismael Bonfim

Costa vs. Borjas Betting Pick: Alessandro Costa

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