UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

min read
Dustin Poirier, left, fights Charles Oliveira during a lightweight mixed martial arts title bout at UFC 269, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
(AP Photo/Chase Stevens)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel May 29, 2024, 7:43 PM
  • Islam Makhachev defends his UFC lightweight title for the third time this weekend against No.4-ranked contender Dustin Poirier.
  • Both are coming off knockout victories from their previous fights.
  • Makhachev is the betting favorite at -500, and Poirier is the +425 underdog.

For the third time in his reign as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev is set to defend his belt once more, this time against the No. 4-ranked contender Dustin Poirier in the headliner of UFC 302 this Saturday inside the Prudential Center in Newark.

Makhachev and Poirier are coming off incredible knockout victories in their previous outings. The former beat Alexander Volkanovski in October via head kick, and the latter knocked out Benoît Saint Denis in March with punches.

The defending champion, though, is still the -500 heavy favorite in online sports betting through the UFC odds to successfully defend his title against the challenger, who is the considerable +425 betting underdog.

Islam Makhachev Recent Fight Results

Makhachev made his octagon debut in May 2015 and only dropped a fight once in 15 matches. That defeat came against Adriano Martins in October 2015 with a first-round knockout. But after that loss, he terrorized the division and won 13 straight fights.

The Dagestani star seized the UFC gold in October 2022 when he submitted Charles Oliveira in the second round of their championship fight at UFC 280. Then, Makhachev fended off Volkanovski twice in February and October last year to remain king of the 155-pound weight class.

Dustin Poirier Recent Fight Results

Poirier is a UFC veteran with 29 fights and 13 years of experience competing inside the octagon. He was a former featherweight fighter who eventually moved to the lightweight division and became a top contender in the stacked weight class.

“The Diamond” won the interim lightweight title in April 2019 against Max Holloway via unanimous decision, which opened him the opportunity for the title. However, in his first two attempts at the championship, he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov (in September 2019) and Oliveira (in December 2021).

After that second title loss, Poirier won two of his next three fights by beating Michael Chandler (third-round submission in November 2022) and Saint Denis (second-round knockout in March). His loss during this stretch was courtesy of Justin Gaethje, who handed him a second-round knockout in July.

Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier: Tale of the Tape

Islam MakhachevDustin Poirier
Reach70.5 inches72 inches
Leg Reach40.5 inches40.5 inches
Fighting StyleSambo Jiu-Jitsu
Finishing Rate56%77%

Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier: Fight Analysis

On paper, Makhachev and Poirier’s physical attributes are almost identical because they are only separated by an inch in height and 1.5 inches in reach. Both have the same leg reach at 40.5 inches, but Poirier is three years older at 35 than Makhachev, who is only 32.

Stylistically, this feels like a repeat of the showdown between Poirier and Nurmagomedov in 2019 because Makhachev is Nurmagonedov’s protege and their fighting style of combat sambo is quite similar.

On the other hand, Poirier is a fighter with a solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu background but packs elite-level boxing that makes him a well-rounded fighter in the striking and grappling departments. This difference in approach is very evident in their method of victory.

Makhachev’s wins were 44% submissions, while Poirier’s 53% were via TKO/KOs. This difference continues in the significant strikes and grappling numbers. Poirier lands far more significant strikes per minute at 5.45 against Makhachev’s 2.46 per minute.

But Makhachev is way ahead in takedown average per 15 minutes at 3.17 versus Poirier’s 1.33, 60% takedown accuracy against Poirier’s 36%, and 90% takedown defense compared to Poirier’s 63%. These numbers are the reason why they are expected to have a contrasting fight plan.

For Makhachev, he needs to secure the takedown and work his way into submission, just like Nurmagomedov did five years ago. Despite Poirier being a BJJ practitioner, he’s still having difficulty stopping takedowns and defending submissions.

Poirier must keep the fight standing and be the aggressor in the opening phase. This is the best window for him to land a solid punch on Makhachev and rock him early. This way, he can establish dominance in the striking area and potentially get an early finish.

Official Prediction: Submission victory for Islam Makhachev.

Build a Parlay at BetMGM

BetMGM is the premier online sportsbook for parlays.

With thousands of events each year, there are endless combinations for parlay bets. Whether you like NFL moneylines, NBA spreads, MLB run lines, or anything else, there are opportunities for everyone.

Visit the sportsbook for updated odds, the best sportsbook promos — including BetMGM’s welcome offer — and more.

BetMGM First Bet Offer $1,500
About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.