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UFC 301 Odds & Picks | Pantoja vs. Erceg


Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: May 2, 2024

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UFC 301 will have a heavy Brazilian influence with all five bouts on the main card being represented by at least one Brazilian fighter, and it all goes down this Saturday in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The main card kicks off with a middleweight bout between Paul Craig and Caio Barralho, followed by another middleweight clash between Michel Pereira and Ihor Potieria.

Then, light heavyweight contenders Anthony Smith and Vitor Petrino go toe-to-toe, followed by a bantamweight bout between Jonathan Martinez and José Aldo.

UFC 301’s main event will be a flyweight title fight with Alexandre Pantoja putting his belt on the line against Steve Erceg.

Often in mixed martial arts, one fighter is the hammer and the other is the nail. Just a one-sided drubbing with one fighter being driven into the canvas.

For UFC 301, bettors must attempt to be the hammer against the sportsbooks this weekend, and nail down some solid and well-informed bets.

Let’s dig into these UFC 301 main card bouts and find some worthwhile bets to hammer down.

All bouts have a tale of the tape, with the best odds included!

Paul Craig vs. Caio Barralho

186 lbs.Weight186 lbs.
76 inchesReach75 inches
+425 DraftKingsBestOdds-550 Caesars

The biggest notable difference in these two fighters’ games is the clock.

Caio Borralho is quick and has plenty of stamina, and this enduring style has resulted in seven of his nine fights going the distance.

For Paul Craig, every single victory he has achieved in his career has come in the Octagon by his own hands, not the judges’ hands.

The moneyline for this bout is lopsided heavily in Borralho’s favor, and rightfully so, considering the younger fighters record and the fact that Craig is coming in to UFC 301 losing three of his last four fights.

Borralho is 7-0 in the UFC, winning five of those bouts by unanimous decision.

With Borralho’s stamina and Craig’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background, I see this one going the distance as well, with lots of takedowns and action on the ground.

The juice is not worth the squeeze on Borralho’s moneyline, so I’ll back Borralho’s victory to come from the judge’s table. 

Pick: Borralho – To Win By Decision/Points | Best Odds: (+195) FanDuel

Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Potieria

186 lbsWeight187 lbs.
73 inchesReach75 inches
-550 bet365BestOdds+500 BetMGM

Michel Pereira is on a seven-fight win streak, last taking down Michal Oleksiejczuk by submission, one second after the first minute of the first round at UFC 299.

Although this dance routine from Pereira may have made bigger headlines at UFC 299.

Look at that footwork, people.

Ihor Potieria is filling the spot originally slated for Makhmud Muradov, and Potieria is a heavy underdog on short-notice.

In his short run in the UFC, Potieria is 3-3, and only his last fight (victory over Robert Bryczek) went the distance. Potieria is regularly in a slugfest, and that may not suit him in this matchup against a solidly balanced Pereira.

If this one goes to the ground at all, Potieria is in serious trouble.

Pereira has won in different ways, and with his last seven wins as an example, he’s won two by submission, one by KO/TKO, one by split decision, and three by unanimous decision.

Once again, the lopsided moneyline has me looking elsewhere for value in this fight.

The versatility of Pereira has me backing the Brazilian by way of knockout, and just for my own fun, I’ll say that Pereira wins with a kick to the head.

As we’ve seen, Pereira has quick feet.

Pick: Pereira – To Win By KO/TKO | Best Odds: (-115) FanDuel

Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino

205 lbs.Weight205 lbs.
76 inchesReach77.5 inches
+420 FanDuelBestOdds-500 bet365

This light heavyweight bout continues the trend of lopsided moneylines at UFC 301.

For Anthony Smith, he’s dropped three of his last four fights, two by way of knockout, so Smith may be in the twilight of his career.

Vitor Petrino’s career is on an opposite trajectory, holding a record of 11-0, including a five-match win streak in the UFC.

Petrino has won two of his five matches with a punching knockout, proving to have some of the heaviest hands in UFC’s light heavyweight division.

Four of Smith’s last five losses have come from knockouts and considering the work of Petrino, I’m expecting Smith to get knocked down and to stay down.

Petrino puts another man to sleep at UFC 301 and remains undefeated.

Pick: Petrino – To Win By KO/TKO | Best Odds: (+110) FanDuel

The line for Petrino to win by KO is juiced to -110 on other books. At -110, a $10 wager would only win $9.09, whereas at +110, a $10 wager would win $11.

Always shop around for the best odds!

Jonathan Martinez vs. José Aldo

136 lbs.Weight136 lbs.
70 inchesReach70 inches
-150 BetMGMBestOdds+140 Caesars

Ring Rust Alert: Jose Aldo has not stepped into the Octagon since UFC 278 in August of 2022.

Aldo did come out of retirement to take this fight, so it may be fair to say that Aldo will be rusty.

Take any retiree and throw them back into the workforce and there is bound to be some rust, especially when that retiree’s former line of work was throwing and taking punches for a living.

Aldo shouldn’t be taken lightly though, as he once held the UFC featherweight title belt for 1,848 days over seven title defenses; one of the longest title runs in UFC history.

Aldo’s opponent, Jonathan Martinez, is in the midst of a six-fight winning streak, with his last victory coming against Adrian Yanez, knocking out his opponent with kicks to the legs.

Six of Aldo’s last seven fights have gone the distance, but with Martinez chopping away at the 37-year-old’s foundation, I don’t see this fight lasting long.

It’ll be nice to see Aldo in the Octagon again, even if it ends in a Martinez victory.

Pick: Martinez Moneyline | Best Odds: (-150) BetMGM

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg

125 lbs.Weight126 lbs.
67.5 inchesReach68 inches
-185 BetMGMBestOdds+162 bet365

UFC 301’s main event will have Alexandre “The Cannibal” Pantoja defending his flyweight belt against Steve “Astorboy” Erceg.

Pantoja took the UFC flyweight title from Brandon Moreno (21-8-2) at UFC 290 in a split decision, and completed his first title defense at UFC 296, defeating Brandon Royval (16-7-0) by unanimous decision, but Pantoja will have a real challenge on his hands against the up-and-coming Aussie.

Erceg has yet to lose any of his three bouts in the UFC, and Erceg is coming off a recent knockout of Matt Schnell on March 2nd.

Pantoja has knocked out Schnell before too. You can decide on which knockout of Schnell was better here:

Pantoja has rattled off five straight victories, and he has yet to lose any by knockout, so this one looks to be going the distance.

As strikers, both fighters stack up closely on paper, with each landing and absorbing a similar number of strikes, but Pantoja has the edge in the grappling and takedown game.

Pantoja has pulled off four UFC victories by submission, three with a rear naked choke, and if this one goes to the ground, Erceg could be in trouble.

Fortunately for Erceg, he has a strong takedown defense.

The belt could change hands here if it turns into a full-blown striking match, and I’ll be sprinkling a wager on Erceg to pull off the upset, but I wouldn’t say that’s the best bet.

Ultimately, I believe the best bet for this main event will be that it goes the distance.

Pick: Fight To Go The Distance – Yes | Best Odds: (+125) bet365


About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and enter...

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