UFC 301 predictions & odds: Will Steve Erceg shock the world and become the new UFC flyweight champion?

A complete breakdown of every fight on UFC 301 complete with a preview and a prediction.
Steve Erceg
Steve Erceg / UFC
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UFC 301 takes place on Saturday, May 4 as the promotion returns to Brazil with flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja headlining the card. The event in total will feature 14 Brazilian fighters; one in each fight of the night. Pantoja will be featured in the main event against surprising contender Steve Erceg but many fans will have their eyes on the co-main event and the return of former featherweight king Jose Aldo. Known amongst fight fans as 'The King of Rio,' Aldo will be fighting in Rio de Janeiro for the first time since 2019.

Before the co-main event fighters walk out, five other ranked contenders will compete. Top 15 contenders Anthony Smith and Vitor Petrino will compete in the only light heavyweight bout of the night while ranked middleweights Caio Borralho and Paul Craig will open the pay-per-view main card.

Veteran and No. 13 ranked strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz will be the first fighter on the night with a number defending her position against 22-year-old Iasmin Lucindo. Three fighters will be making their UFC debut on the prelims of the event with Mauricio Ruffy, Dione Barbosa and Ernesta Kareckaite all walking out to the Octagon for the second time after earning their contracts on season seven of Dana White's Contender Series.

Before the fights begin, check out our predictions for all 14 fights at UFC 301 below.

Alessandro Costa (-148) vs. Kevin Borjas (+124) prediction

These two young flyweights are fairly similar in age and skill level but the level of competition for Costa has been much higher than Borjas. Costa is just 1-2 in the UFC but had his two losses against no. 3 ranked Amir Albazi and no. 10 ranked Steve Erceg, the man who will close the night competing for the divisional title. Expect the crowd to be on fire from the jump and will the first Brazilian of the night to victory to set the tone for the evening.

Prediction: Costa by decision

Ismael Bonfim (-500) vs. Vinc Pichel (+380) prediction

The last time Bonfim fought in Brazil, he nearly decapitated Terrance McKinney in one of the best debut knockouts in UFC history. That likely won't happen again but is additional proof that Bonfim loves fighting in his home country and performs significantly better with that advantage. In his four career losses, Bonfim has been submitted each time but now faces 41-year-old Pichel, who has never won a fight by submission. This is one matchup the UFC wants to see their young, explosive prospect bounce back.

Prediction: Bonfim by KO/TKO in round two