It could be argued that the very first fight to kick off UFC 300’s prelims — a bantamweight battle between former champions Cody Garbrandt and Deiveson Figueiredo, available to everyone with ESPN+ — was a bigger attraction than Saturday’s main event at UFC 301, which features Alexandre Pantoja defending the flyweight title against Steve Erceg.

That could be argued, alright, and whoever was arguing it would have a fair point, especially since UFC 301 costs approximately the same as UFC 300 (read: exactly the same).

But I’m not here to argue details. I’m here to wax romantic about Astro Boy, who is traveling 8,500 miles from Perth to Rio de Janeiro because, well, who could say no to such an offer? Because the timing worked out in his favor. Because he only made his debut a year ago and, I mean…none of it makes any real sense, which is a perfect set-up for a game that hinges so many fates to its own brand of chaos.

In a strange twist, Erceg ended up headlining UFC 301 because there weren’t a lot of options out there, not with the UFC’s big splurge to stack up its gala event from a few weeks back. Just by being Brazilian, Pantoja was an obvious fit for a card being held in Rio. He holds the belt and was available, which made him the only real candidate. Alex Pereira, who wanted to make a quick turnaround after knocking out Jamahal Hill at UFC 300, would have made the UFC 301 marquee glow, if only he were able.

He wasn’t.

But Erceg? He’s a long-necked Australian interloper who has exactly three fights in the UFC. Not even Conor McGregor was given a title shot after just three fights. In fact, poor undefeated Muhammad Mokaev couldn’t even get out of the prelims until his sixth UFC fight, and he’s in the same damn division!

Erceg won a kind of desperation sweepstakes that I’m sure not even he fully understands. Beating Matt Schnell isn’t usually a gateway to gold, at least not in most cases. But it was a knockout of Schnell that catapulted him into that contender spot on a PPV. Obviously, he has very different celestial governors than Matheus Nicolau, who dealt Schnell his previous loss and yet ended up — in a roundabout way — headlining the Apex show this past weekend.

Not Erceg. He gets to headline what easily could be dubbed UFC 300’s afterparty. UFC 301 is like the dancehall at daybreak. Just party balloons scattered about the floorboards and empty champagne flutes.

Sometimes you luck into spots when the UFC is in a pinch. Circumstances rule the fight game in ways that merit can’t touch, yet there is an ounce of magic for the souls that get tapped into action in such spots. Erceg has a chance to win the title and bring it back to Australia, to keep alive what Alexander Volkanovski and Robert Whittaker have started. He gets the chance to hold it and defend it for when the UFC ventures to Perth at UFC 305 in August.

(Perhaps that’s part of the reason why he got the nod to fight Pantoja, for the potential that he could return to Western Australia a local hero in late summer).

Personally, I love that Erceg gets his big break as a relative unknown. If you saw him in his debut against David Dvorak, you might’ve thought that he’d just woken up from a deep slumber. He doesn’t look like a killer. He looks like Ichabod Crane, which adds to his allure. It took him a few minutes to find his bearings against Dvorak, but when he did the low buzz that preceded him as the reigning Eternal MMA champion began to make sense. Each time out he has looked better and better, especially after traveling 48 hours to Vegas to flatten Schnell.

Now he’s being lowered into the cauldron of Rio, where Pantoja will have a partisan crowd at his back, chanting “Uh vai morrer, uh vai morrer!” as he makes the walk. Does any of this warrant the spending of $85 American dollars, especially coming off the heels of one of the most stacked cards on record? Don’t know, but if you’re Steve Erceg it’s one hell of a spot to find yourself in just a little under 11 months after debuting.

Listen to the UFC 301 predictions from the Ringer MMA show here.