UFC 302 Main Event Preview and Prediction: Islam Makhachev – Dustin Poirier

MMA: UFC 280-Oliveira vs Makhachev
Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 302 the lightweight title is on the line. The champion and current P4P king Islam Makhachev (25-1) will look to successfully defend his title for the third time as he takes on former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier (30-8).

This will actually be Makhachev’s first title defense against a true lightweight. After defeating Charles Oliveira to become the lightweight champ in 2022, Makhachev first defended his title against the then featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev was supposed to face Oliveira in a rematch last October but ended up facing Volkanovski a second time on short notice and he knocked him out in the first round.

Dustin Poirier is earning this shot after his incredible performance at UFC 299. Poirier was coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje and was at a crossroads in his career. He took a fight against the very dangerous Benoit Saint-Denis and knocked him out in the second round. That performance was enough to earn him a shot against the lightweight champ.

UFC 302 Prediction

Islam Makhachev has said all week that Dustin Poirier does struggle against fighters like himself and that’s true. Historically, Poirier has struggled against guys who love to use their wrestling. He struggled in the first round against Benoit Saint-Denis. Poirier struggled when Michael Chandler used his wrestling and we all know how the Islam Makhachev fight went.

That said, the UFC 302 main event starts on the feet as does every round. Makhachev and his team have suggested that they are better than Poirier wherever the fight goes and I don’t believe that. Dustin Poirier is the much cleaner and more polished boxer. I also believe that Poirier has more power in his punches than Makhachev does.

If I’m in Makhachev’s corner, I’m suggesting the path of least resistance. Don’t play the striking game with Poirier. I think Poirier is going to be aggressive in this one and I think he’ll try to make it a dog fight. For some reason, my heart keeps telling me that Dustin Poirier is going to shock the world and become UFC lightweight champion.

However, my brain is telling me that the belt stays in Dagestan. I just think the grappling is going to be too much and Makhachev will ultimately get a submission in the second round.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Submission – Round 2

Mentioned in this article:

More about: