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Traditional Impact : 3 Martial Artists to Watch at UFC 300

Updated: Apr 15

UFC 300 Martial Artists

Black Belt Plus

In the electrifying realm of Mixed Martial Arts where every punch thrown and submission attempted is a testament to years of dedication and discipline, three extraordinary fighters stand out. Their journey from Kick Boxing, Judo and Shaolin Kung Fu to the grandeur of the Octagon is a saga of determination, skill, and unyielding passion.

Black Belt Magazine proudly applauds 3 Martial Artists turned MMA greats showcasing how their traditional training laid the foundation for their battle in MMA at UFC 300.

Martial Artists at UFC 300

Alex Pereira “Regarded as one of the greatest combat athletes of all time”

Pereira vs Hill UFC 300

Kick Boxing / BJJ 

Hometown: Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil Fighting out of Glover Teixeira Gym Bethel, Connecticut

9-2 MMA Record 

33-7 Kick Boxing Record 

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Alex Pereira's early life was shaped by the challenging environment of one of Brazil's infamous favelas. He made the tough decision to drop out of middle school to support himself, working as a bricklayer's assistant. Pereira's journey into kickboxing began as a means to overcome a drinking problem he had developed while working alongside his colleagues.

In 2009, Pereira commenced honing his striking skills at a local gym near his home, unaware of the remarkable path that lay ahead. Four years later, he entered the realm of amateur kickboxing, achieving a 2-1 record before transitioning to the professional circuit. His debut professional fight against Clei Silva saw him clinch the Brazilian 187 lbs Championship, marking the commencement of his decorated career.

Pereira continued his ascent, securing additional titles before making a transition to Glory. In just his second outing, he captured the promotion's middleweight title, a feat he went on to defend successfully five times. Notably, his victories over kickboxing sensation Israel Adesanya stand out as highlights of his Glory tenure, unknowingly foreshadowing their future rivalry in a different sport.

Currently competing in the Light Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Pereira boasts an illustrious career highlighted by his status as the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and former UFC Middleweight Champion.

His remarkable achievements have earned him widespread acclaim, with Pereira being the sole individual known to achieve two-division world champion status in both MMA and kickboxing. Esteemed figures within the industry, such as Joe Rogan in his podcast, acknowledge Pereira's stature as one of the greatest combat athletes of all time.

Pereira stands as the ninth fighter in UFC history to secure championship titles in two distinct weight divisions. Notably, he holds the distinction of being the first athlete to claim championship belts in both the middleweight and light heavyweight categories within the organization.

As a former Glory middleweight and light heavyweight champion, Pereira's unparalleled prowess is further underscored by his unique feat of simultaneously holding Glory titles in two weight classes, a feat unmatched by any other fighter.

With UFC 300 drawing near, anticipation is building for the headline event featuring the current UFC light heavyweight champion, Alex Pereira, defending his title against Jamahal Hill. Hill, a former champion who has yet to be defeated inside the Octagon, holds the esteemed position of being the No. 1 fighter in the UFC light heavyweight rankings.

Kayla Harrison: Judo Dojo to the Octagon

Holm vs Harrison UFC 300


Hometown: Middletown Ohio - Fighting out of Coconut Creek Florida

2019 and 2021 PFL Women’s Lightweight World Champion

2012 and 2016  Olympic Gold Medalist

16-1 MMA record

Kayla Harrison stands as a formidable force, with a journey marked by perseverance, dedication, and unparalleled skill. As a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, Harrison has long been recognized for her dominance on the mats. Now, as she prepares to make her mark on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stage at the upcoming UFC 300 event, the spotlight shines even brighter on this extraordinary athlete.

From Middletown, Ohio,Harrison quickly rose through the ranks, earning accolades and championships at every level of competition. Her relentless work ethic and unwavering focus propelled her to the pinnacle of the sport, culminating in back-to-back gold medal victories at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Kyla Harrison Judoka

The former training partner of fellow judoka Ronda Rousey then set her eyes on MMA and signed with World Series of Fighting which later became the Professional Fighters League. While at the PFL she would fight 16 times and win world titles in 2019 and 2021 suffering only losing one loss in 4 years. against the undefeated  Larissa Pacheco. She remained at the PFL until her final bout in 2023 with a win over Aspen Ladd. 

At this week's UFC 300, Harrison finds herself on the brink of another historic moment in her career facing the legendary Holly Holm,18-time boxing World Champion in three separate divisions, Holly is considered one of the greatest female boxers of all-time and former UFC Champion. 

Zhang Weili

Zhang Weili

Shaolin Kung Fu

Hometown: Beijing Fighting out of Las Vegas Nevada 

23-3 11 KO’s MMA record

Zhang Weili, a 31-year-old mixed martial artist hailing from Handan, China, has a remarkable journey in combat sports. Her passion ignited at the age of 12 when she immersed herself in Kung Fu and Chinese kickboxing, inspired by action films.

Transitioning to Beijing in her 20s, Zhang navigated through various jobs before embarking on her enduring and notably triumphant MMA career. In 2013, she marked her professional debut in the China MMA League, experiencing her sole loss in an otherwise impeccable 21-1 record. However, Zhang swiftly rebounded, ascending through the ranks of the Kunlun Fight Chinese Kickboxing League.

Zhang Weili UFC Champion

In 2017, she clinched the KLF Strawweight Championship and maintained her dominance with successful title defenses. Now, Zhang prepares for her next challenge against Yan Xiaonan (17-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in the co-main event at UFC 300, set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

This bout holds immense significance as it marks the first all-China title fight in UFC history, underscoring the prowess and global impact of Chinese martial artists like Zhang Weili.

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