Caio Borralho is the UFC 301 fighter to watch

Caio Borralho faces Paul Craig in a pivotal middleweight bout at UFC 301.
Nov 4, 2023; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Caio Borralho (red gloves) reacts after defeating  Abus Magomedov
Nov 4, 2023; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Caio Borralho (red gloves) reacts after defeating Abus Magomedov / Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC middleweight contender Caio Borralho's path to a potential title shot hits its biggest obstacle to date at UFC 301. Borralho, who has all of his five career UFC fights, will fight in a featured bout on the UFC 301 main card against Paul Craig. The former Dana White's Contender Series standout is knocking on the door of the middleweight Top 10 amidst an ongoing 14-fight winning streak. A victory over a proven veteran like Craig would almost certainly ensure a climb up the rankings.

Borralho is one of the most exciting middleweight prospects in recent UFC history. He has a high-octane style and has developed a well-rounded skillset to give his opponents headaches. Along with his elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prowess, Borralho has shown off one-punch knockout power that has made him a difficult puzzle to solve.

Borralho's MMA heroes included Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan, and Bruce Lee while growing up in São Paulo. After beginning his MMA training in his late teens, Borralho would make his professional debut against Cleiton Rafael in December 2014, earning a one-punch knockout. Borralho made the full-time move from welterweight to middleweight after his first five professional bouts.

The São Paulo native Borralho's lone career defeat came against João Carvalho in his second professional fight. Since then, he's passed each of his last 14 cage tests, amassing four submissions and four knockouts. Borralho first popped up on the UFC's radar when he earned a unanimous decision win over current Bellator contender Aaron Jeffery on DWCS in 2021.

Despite the impressive performance, the UFC matchmakers weren't completely sold on Borralho and invited him to a second appearance just weeks later. He responded by brutally finishing Jesse Murray to secure a UFC contract. Borralho has proved the matchmakers correct by earning recent UFC wins over Abus Magomedov, Armen Petrosyan, and Michał Oleksiejczuk.

Caio Borralho looks to extend UFC unbeaten streak at UFC 301

Borralho's momentum will face a fierce test against Craig, a fellow grappling ace who is looking to bounce back from his last performance. Craig lost to Brendan Allen in November by third-round submission after defeating André Muniz in his UFC middleweight debut.

One question mark linked to Borralho's UFC run is his strength of schedule so far inside the Octagon. He'll get a chance to further silence his detractors against Craig and prove he's a legitimate title threat. While a win over Craig will leave him a few fights away from a title shot, Borralho could get a five-round headliner as a reward.

The UFC middleweight division is in desperate need of new contenders, like Borralho, to take the 185-pound weight class into the future. Only four of the current Top 10 middleweights haven't fought for the belt at least once in their promotional tenures. Borralho could make a case for a fast track to the title, beginning with a win over Craig.

Caio Borralho career highlights

Borralho earned his first UFC finish by tapping out Oleksiejczuk in April 2023. The victory further proved Borralho's case as a potential dark horse in the UFC middleweight division.

Borralho made the most of his second chance on Dana White's Contender Series by smothering Murray in Oct. 2021. After dropping Murray with an overhand right in the first round, Borralho sealed a UFC contract by landing brutal ground-and-pound for the finish.


Next. 8 of the best UFC knockouts of 2024. 8 of the best UFC knockouts of 2024. dark