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Makhachev v Poirier fight preview & betting picks | UFC 302

Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier

UFC 302 Main Event Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Makhachev -625 at Bovada | Poirier +450 at Bovada
When Saturday, June 1 – main card from 10pm EDT
Where Prudential Center – Newark, United States
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

The main event for UFC 302 at the Prudential Center in Newark pits lightweight champion Islam Makhachev against MMA legend Dustin Poirier. Online bookmakers have installed Makhachev as a short-priced favourite, but Poirier is a warrior who has faced elite opponents for more than a decade and will be hoping to shock the sporting world once again.

Makhachev v Poirier fight analysis

Islam Makhachev UFC

Islam Makhachev


Dustin Poirier UFC

Dustin Poirier

25-1-0 MMA record 30-8-0
32 Age 35
5’10” Height 5’9″
155lbs Weight 155lbs
70.5″ Reach 72″
Russia Nationality USA

Islam Makhachev (25-1-0) is universally considered the best active pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. The 32-year-old captured the lightweight crown in 2022 with a submission victory over Charles Oliveira and has defended the title twice against Alexander Volkanovski. The Russian’s sole defeat occurred in 2015 when inexplicably knocked out by the unheralded Adriano Martins, who went winless in his next six bouts.

Makhachev is a devastating wrestler with punishing ground-and-pound and an excellent submission game. His skills are still improving, and six of his last seven victories have come via stoppage. Makhachev’s striking game has noticeably tightened, and he is coming off a first-round head-kick knockout win over Volkanovski. His only apparent weakness may be a lack of cardio due to difficult weight cuts.

Dustin Poirier (30-8-0) is an MMA legend who has appeared in some of the highest-grossing UFC events ever staged. He famously stopped golden boy Conor McGregor twice in 2021, but his recent form is well short of what would be expected going into a title fight. The 35-year-old has produced two wins and two losses since the victories over McGregor and appears to be nearing the end of a long and prosperous career.

Poirier is a tight and technical striker with a solid ground game, but his primary attribute is an ability to fight through adversity. His best chance is most likely to arrive late in this bout — if he can survive the early onslaught of a younger and more gifted opponent. If it all went to script, Poirier would tire the champion with moments of boxing intensity and repeated low kicks to prevail via knockout in the fourth of fifth round.

Makhachev v Poirier fight predictions

On form, this fight appears to be a mismatch. Poirier was almost written off before his last bout but managed to claim an unlikely KO stoppage win over French kickboxer Benoît Saint-Denis. Makhachev’s team may have selected the American based on a large fan base that should translate into healthy pay-per-view numbers, but the champion looks unlikely to be tested.

Makhachev should be able to at least break even on the feet and have a decisive edge in the wrestling and grappling departments. A submission win to retain the belt appears the most likely outcome.

Islam Makhachev by submission


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