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UFC 301: Pantoja vs. Erceg Betting Preview & Picks | Johnny Covers

Jack Shore (+124) vs. Joanderson Brito (-148)

The final fight on the prelims presents a light heavyweight matchup between two guys that have the potential to be the future of the division in Jack Shore versus Joanderson Brito. We last saw Brito in November, a second-round submission of Jonathan Pearce for his fourth straight win, all of which came inside two rounds. 

As for Shore, a win in March of last year saw him rebound nicely from the first loss of his career the summer prior, as he comes into this fight having won six of seven with the UFC. A former Cage Warrior stud, Shore is a grappling specialist and has finished four of his past seven via submission. 

Relatively even on the feet, with Shore even having the slight edge, I think we see Shore’s dominance on the mat prevail in this one. 

Pick: Jack Shore (+124 at BetMGM Sportsbook)

Jonathan Martinez (-162) vs. Jose Aldo (+136)

Jumping up to the co-main, the pride of Brazil Jose Aldo steps back into the octagon for the first time in nearly two years, taking on a young up-and-comer in Jonathan Martinez. Having last fought in the UFC (loss to Merab Dvalishvili, August 2022), Aldo went the route of boxing in the time since with three matches in 2023. 

He’ll now step in against a hungry young dog in Martinez, who has now six straight with two of his past three coming in the second round via leg kick. Steadily facing better fighters, his second-round finish of Adrian Yanez was his best win today in October. 

While Aldo has the experience edge and certainly the home crowd behind him, I think the speed and power of Martinez will be too much for him in this one. 

Pick: Jonathan Martinez (-162 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Alexandre Pantoja (-185) vs. Steve Erceg (+154)

The flyweight belt will be on the line in Saturday’s main event, as champion Alexandre Pantoja will put his belt on the line for the second time since claiming it from Brandon Moreno in July. In his first title defense, Pantoja pieced up Brandon Royval, earning a dominant decision win. 

Speaking to the shallowness of this division, Erceg will get his title shot in just his fourth UFC fight, most recently TKO’ing Matt Schnell in March for the opportunity. With a turnaround of just over a month, I don’t see Erceg rising to the challenge, however. 

If Pantoa can execute his game plan of getting this one to the ground, I see him controlling this one early and often. 

Pick: Alexandre Pantoja (-185 at Caesars Sportsbook)

Johnny Covers

Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping UFC for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as Oddschecker, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, Yardbarker, and many more. Johnny runs giving out free UFC analysis and picks on every card, going 56% in 2021, 65% in 2022, and trending at 60% for 2023. He has also made multiple appearances on UFC's official betting show "On the Line" along side head MMA oddsmaker at Circa Sportsbooks Nick Kalikas and professional sports bettor Gianni the Greek .