Alex Pereira and Zhang Weili Defend UFC World Championship Titles | UFC 300

Published On: 4/15/2024

A historic night for mixed martial arts is in the books!

A historic night for mixed martial arts is in the books! Monster Energy congratulates 36-year-old Brazilian MMA athlete Alex Pereira on defeating Jamahal Hill to retain his UFC Men’s Light Heavyweight title at UFC300 in Las Vegas. In the night’s headline fight, the reigning champ lost no time by knocking out the challenger at 03:14 minutes of round one.

In the night’s Co-Main event, Energy’s 34-year-old Zhang Weili(25-3) from Handan, China, successfully defended her UFC Women's Strawweight Championship against fellow Chinese athlete Yan Xiaonan in a five-round battle by unanimous decision victory (49-45, 49-45, 49-45).

UFC 300: Pereira vs. Hill was contested in front of a live crowd of 20,000 spectators inside sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The historic event showcased twelve current or former champions on the card and drew celebrity guests such as boxer Mike Tyson, entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, actors Jared Leto, David Spade, and Miles Teller, and a full house of UFC fighters, Champions and Hall of Famers.

With five fights on the Main Card and stacked Preliminary and Early Prelims cards, the Main Card was broadcast live to fans worldwide on ESPN pay-per-view, and preliminary fights streamed on ESPN+.


Men’s UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Pereira Defeats Hill, Defends Title


Energy levels were riding high for the night’s headline fight. Monster Energy’s Pereira (10-2) stepped into the Octagon for his first defense of the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title after claiming the vacant belt from Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295 in November 2023. This marks the former UFC Middleweight Champion's second career UFC championship belt, and he had no plans of letting it go in Vegas.

Pereira’s opponent, American Jamahal Hill (12-2) had previously owned the UFC Light Heavyweight belt briefly after defeating Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 in January 2023. But after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in July, Hill was forced to release the title, setting the stage for Pereira’s championship run and Saturday night’s title fight for the 205-pound belt.

From the start, both fighters circled to gauge their striking distance. Pereira kept using his legs to find the right range against Hill’s unorthodox stance. Once he found it, the action moved quick.

The fight’s pivotal scene unfolded when Pereira checked an accidental kick below the belt from Hill but refused the referee’s offer to stop the fight. Keeping the action going, Pereira dropped Hill to the canvas with a precisely aimed left hook. The Brazilian immediately pursued with heavy ground-and-pound until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:14 minutes of Round 1.

“I want to keep defending this belt,” said Pereira in his post-fight interview in Las Vegas, expressing plans to fight again on May 4 at UFC 301 in his native Brazil. “I talked a lot about fighting in Brazil. I won this fight. I’m not hurt. Nothing happened. I know there needs to be a lot of promotion behind a fight, but I want to fight at heavyweight.” Stay tuned!

Saturday’s first-round knockout and title defense mark another statement victory for Pereira, who has already claimed two UFC championships over the course of 12 professional fights and is now on a three-fight win streak.

Pereira is a former WGP Kickboxing Middleweight Champion of the World. He held Glory MMA Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion titles and ranks as a Glory MMA Hall of Famer. The Brazilian made his UFC debut in November 2021 at UFC 268 and soon claimed the UFC’s Middleweight Championship title by defeating Israel Adesanya at UFC 281.


Women’s UFC Strawweight Championship: Zhang Defends Belt Against China’s Yan


In the night’s Co-Main event, Monster Energy’s 34-year-old Weili (25-3) from Handan, China, set out to defend her UFC Women's Strawweight Championship belt after previously defending the title for the first time against Amanda Lemos at UFC 292 in August 2023.

In the first all-Chinese championship fight in UFC history, Weili faced 34-year-old breakout talent Yan Xiaonan (18-4) from Liaoning, China. Yan had earned her shot at the title by achieving wins against Mackenzie Dern and a first-round knockout of Jessica Andrade.

When the action unfolded in the Octagon, neither fighter knew they were headed for a five-round slugfest that would push both Zhang and Yan to the limits. At the start, Zhang dominated her challenger and rag-dolled Yan across the Octagon on the strength of her wrestling. In a controversial scene, Zhang caught Yan in a rear-naked choke towards the end of Round 1 until the bell, leaving her apparently unconscious and delayed in returning to standing.

“I really thought that she was out. I didn’t know when the bell rang how the referee was going to handle that. But she bounced back very quickly in the second round,” said Zhang after the fight.

Impressively, Yan remained in the fight and survived another close brush with TKO defeat in Round 2. Yan suddenly shifted the momentum in Round 3 to pressure Zhang with takedown attempts and knocking down the champ two times with strikes. But as the fourth round opened, the reigning champion asserted her dominance and controlled Yan while retaining the upper hand in grapples and exchanges.

When the 25-minute rollercoaster battle subsided, the judges proclaimed Zhang Weili the winner by unanimous decision (49-45, 49-45, 49-45) to retain her UFC Women's Strawweight Championship.

“Xiaonan is an amazing fighter, and she’s so tough,” Zhang said at UFC 300. “I have so much respect for her, and I want her and I to become friends after the fight. Thank you to everyone for supporting us Chinese girls.”

Asked about her future plans, Zhang said, “I definitely want to build my legacy. I still feel I’m some way to become a legend. I still have a lot to learn.”

Zhang previously held the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship from August 2019 until April 2021, making history as the first UFC Champion from China.


Prelim Card: Brazil’s Diego Lopes Scores Brutal Knockout Against Sodiq Yusuff


Earlier on the Prelims Card, all eyes were on 29-year-old Monster Energy fighter Diego Lopes (24-6) from Manaus, Brazil. In 2023, Lopes caught the attention of UFC fans worldwide by taking out Movsar Evloev in a short-notice fight, then stacking first-round stoppage wins over Gavin Tucker and Pat Sabatini before the end of the year.

In one of his toughest tests to date, the young Brazilian faced Nigerian Sodiq Yusuff (13-4). The graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series came to Las Vegas looking for a win after suffering a loss to Edson Barboza in October 2023. But Lopes had other plans.

The explosive opening round saw both fighters engage with aggression, but it was Lopes who broke through with a brutal uppercut that dropped Yusuff straight to the mat after less than one minute into the round. Lopes swooped in for the submission, but Yusuff narrowly escaped.

Not for long: Only seconds later, Lopes cracked Yusuff with another uppercut. This time, Lopes left no openings and sealed the win by raining ground-and-pound until the referee broke up the fight, announcing Lopes as the winner by TKO at 1:29 minutes of Round 1.

“I know that this a very important fight for me. I knew Sodiq is a tough fighter. I have the best coaches in the world and the result could not be any different,” said Monster Energy’s Lopes at UFC 300.

Lopes has now earned 15 first-round finishes in his professional MMA fights. For his next fight, the Brazilian called out Movsar Evloev. Stay tuned!