UFC 303: UFC 303 takeaways- No theatrics needed, Alex Pereira is MMA's bigge...

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Published Time: 30.06.2024 - 06:04:06 Modified Time: 30.06.2024 - 06:04:06

In Pereira's postfight interview inside the cage, commentator Joe Rogan was already trying to sell the heavyweight move, which could catapult "Poatan" toward an unprecedented achievement. In just nine trips inside the Octagon, he has already captured the championship at middleweight and light heavyweight. No one has ever won UFC belts in three weight classes. UFC 303, Alex Pereira, Jiri Prochazka, alex pereira vs jiri prochazka, pereira vs prochazka 2

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On Saturday morning, he was going to the fights as a fan. By Saturday night, he was in the co-main event and had a strong final round as he sought to pull off what would have been a remarkable upset in a fight he had no being in.

As for Lopes, he could have pulled out of this fight at any time. He could have shot down the weight limit for his fight with Brian Ortega being bumped up to 155 pounds on Friday morning. When Ortega fell ill and had to pull out, Lopes didn't have to risk facing another opponent, especially one as tough as Ige, at a catchweight of 165 pounds. But he did it.

Winning and losing don't necessarily matter as much as the guts it took for both fighters to keep this co-main event together and deliver an exciting fight for the fans.

Ige has now etched his name in the history books and established a legacy that will be remembered. Whatever he wants next, give it to him -- so long as it doesn't interfere with Lopes' plans.

Ian Machado Garry continues to rise up the welterweight ranks as he earned another impressive win at UFC 303. Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Okamoto: The UFC has orchestrated Ian Machado Garry's career beautifully. Truly. And Machado Garry has repaid the UFC by evolving and turning himself into a proper welterweight contender. He has taken appropriately timed steps up in competition, and it hasn't always looked like a walk in the park, but that might be a good thing. A close split decision win against Geoff Neal in February and another close one on Saturday against Michael Page -- these experiences are valuable to his overall arc, and he has maintained his perfect record even in these close ones.

That said, there is no building now. Machado Garry has entered the echelon of the division where it's going to be hard to find holes to exploit. As good as it's been to see him come out of these challenging situations on top, there's also something to be said those challenging situations themselves. Machado Garry has not always looked supremely comfortable in different facets of these fights. He has overcome that with self-belief, excellent decision-making and very good skills, but again, there won't be such clear paths to victory against future competition.