UFC 300 Preview: Figueiredo vs. Garbrandt—A Fight Poised to Shape Bantamweight Futures

The conversation surrounding the UFC 300 card truly being ‘the greatest card of all time’ has been interesting to say the least. Ever since the full card was announced, debates from both sides have been all over the MMA space. Could the fact that the opening fight of the night, Deiveson Figueiredo vs Cody Garbrandt, may have permutations on the bantamweight title picture in the near future put those debates to bed?

Since the fourth instalment of the Brazilians’ bouts with Brandon Moreno down at 125lbs, ‘Deus da Guerra’ has moved up to 135lbs and was victorious in his debut bantamweight outing against perennial contender Rob Font in an impressive showing in December last.

With that win, ‘Figgy’ finds himself ranked at number 8 in the official UFC bantamweight rankings and so, with a win on Saturday night, the former flyweight king could find himself potentially one win away from a crack at the bantamweight crown in the near future.

Garbrandt, on the other hand, enters UFC 300 on a two-fight winning streak after a decision win over Trevin Jones and a remarkable first-round knockout of Brian Kelleher in mid-December. The former champion has strung wins together for the first time since his initial rise to the summit of the bantamweight division in 2016 which culminated in one of the all-time great championship winning performances against Dominick Cruz.

Since then, ‘No Love’ has found himself navigating through tough losses, including three KO losses in a row where he lost the belt to rival TJ Dillashaw, suffered the same fate in their rematch, and was then knocked out by Pedro Munhoz.

However, it’s safe to say that Garbrandt looked somewhat back to his former self in those 2023 wins, showcasing his trademark swagger in both victories. The question is, will Figueiredo be too much of a step up in competition from Brian Kelleher? With a win, Garbrandt will undoubtedly shoot into the rankings, and it will spark conversations about intriguing matchups potentially in the top-10.

There is no debate that Figueiredo has faced stiffer competition recently, facing championship level fighters for pretty much the last four years of his career. Garbrandt has been trying to claw his way back to that level.

Figueiredo finds himself a sizeable favourite in this one, and based on the above, probably rightly so, but if ‘No Love’ can turn in a 2016-esque performance, Vegas is in for one hell of a curtain jerker on Saturday night.

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