UFC 302 Recap: Islam Makhachev submits Dustin Poirier in the fifth after a war

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

In the main event of UFC 302 the lightweight title was on the line. The champion and current P4P king Islam Makhachev (25-1) was looking to successfully defend his title for the third time as he took on former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier (30-8).

This was the first title defense for Makhachev against a true lightweight. After taking the belt from Charles Oliveira, Makhachev’s firs two title defenses came against former featherweight champ and P4P king Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev won a close decision against Volk then knocked him out in the rematch back in October.

Dustin Poirier earned this title shot off his performance at UFC 299. Coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje, Poirier stepped up to face Benoit Saint-Denis who was on an incredible run. Poirier knocked him out in the second round and with Makhachev needing an opponent for UFC 302, The Diamond got the call.

UFC 302 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 302 main event starts with a touch of the gloves. Makhachev immediately takes the center and Poirier throws a kick. Jab from Poirier and Makhachev is just feeling things out in the opening thirty seconds. Front kick from Makhachev and he throws a big shot over the top. Big combinations from both and Makhachev immediately shoots.

Big takedown from Makhachev and he’s immediately in half guard. This is a terrible spot for Dustin Poirier. Three and a half minutes left in the opening round and it’s all about survival right now for Dustin Poirier. Makhachev goes for a kimura and it’s deep. Poirier forces a scramble and is nearly out but Makhachev hops on his back.

Full body triangle for Islam Makhachev with half the round to work. This is an awful position for Poirier and he has to survive for two minutes. Makhachev is working for submissions here and Poirier is trying to stay patient with the best fighter in the world on his back.

Makhachev tries to fake going to the mount and nearly gets the choke. However, Poirier breaks it and stays safe. Thirty seconds left and Poirier is desperately wanting to here the bell. The crowd starts cheering to will Poirier on here. Ten seconds left and Poirier is going to survive. The round ends and it’s a dominant one for Makhachev at UFC 302 but a huge confidence boost for Poirier.

Round 2

Second round is underway and Poirier takes the center. Big leg kick from Poirier and Makhachev dives on the legs. Poirier scrambles and breaks free. The crowd erupts and they are back to striking. Big knee in a clinch exchange for Makhachev. Single leg attempt again for Makhachev and Poirier is able to defend it and keep it standing.

Big jab from Poirier in the center and a 1-2 from Makhachev. Step in elbow just misses from Makhachev. Both men trade shots in the center. Combination from Makhachev lands. Halfway through the round and it’s Makhachev who is doing better here in the standup in the second round. Poirier lands a jab.

Another nice combination from the champ and Poirier lands a jab. Looping shots from Makhachev and then he gets deep on a double leg takedown attempt with two minutes left in the round. Poirier is able to stay on his feet with 90 seconds left in the round. Uppercut in the clinch from Poirier and now a left. Sharp jab from Poirier and now a right.

Double jab now from Poirier and an uppercut from Makhachev. Big body shot from Poirier and a left over the top. 1-2 now from Poirier. Combination from Makhachev and Poirier lands some nasty body shots. Makhachev lands a takedown late in a close round. Could’ve gone either way but I think they’ll likely favor the champ at UFC 302.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 302 and things got real interesting after that second round. Makhachev starting the round with a little forward pressure. Makhachev gets popped with a jab. Huge knee and an uppercut from Makhachev. Poirier might be hurt here and Makhachev gets a body lock.

Up against the fence Makhachev gets a takedown and now he has the back. Three and a half minutes to work for Makhachev and Poirier is in all kinds of trouble here. Poirier has been here before and it’s never ended well for him in the third round of title fights with an elite grappler on his back.

Poirier is in desperation mode here. Makhachev switches from the back to top mount. Poirier kicks his feet off the fence and explodes back to his feet. The crowd goes crazy and Poirier lands a jab. Combination from Makhachev with 90 seconds left in the third round. Big leg kick from Poirier. Combination from Makhachev lands and Poirier fires back a jab.

Lead uppercut lands for Makhachev. Sharp jab from Poirier and another one. Left over the top from Poirier and both men land big right hands. The round ends and it’s 3-0 for the UFC lightweight champion.

Round 4

Entering the fourth and Poirier needs to keep this one on the feet as long as he can. He takes the center and lands a jab. Right over the top from Makhachev and Poirier lands a jab. Big shot to the body lands for Makhachev and Poirier with a nice jab. Makhachev shoots and Poirier defends the takedown.

Both men land big jabs. Another nice knee from Makhachev and he shoots for another takedown but Poirier keeps it standing. Three huge rights from Makhachev and now a left. Makhachev lands a huge shot and that might’ve rocked Poirier. Makhachev is on the legs again and this time he has him against the fence.

Thus far, Poirier hasn’t been able to stay upright against the fence. Halfway through the fourth and down goes Poirier. Poirier might’ve hurt his leg there in the grappling exchange per the broadcast. Two minutes left in the round and Poirier is trying to get back to his feet.

Switch from Poirier and Poirier gets away. Makhachev is split open now and Poirier lands a jab. Makhachev fires back a combination. Big combination now from Poirier and he lands to the body. Makhachev immediately shoots for another takedown. The round ends and Makhachev is a bloody mess and because of the damage, Poirier might’ve won the round but he’ll need a finish at UFC 302.

Round 5

Entering the final round and Poirier needs to go all out. Here we go in the fifth and final round. Poirier opens with a jab. Combination fired back from Makhachev. Leg kick from Poirier. Double jab from Makhachev. Takedown attempt from Makhachev and Poirier stays upright. Combination from Makhachev and he clinches.

Poirier breaks free but eats another shot from Makhachev. Big left over the top from Poirier and that definitely got Makhachev’s attention. Three minutes left and Makhachev desperately shoots but Poirier defends. Makhachev is able to keep Poirier’s foot. Makhachev gets him down and goes for a guillotine. He switches to a d’arce and it’s deep. Poirier taps and Islam Makhachev retains his UFC lightweight title.

Islam Makhachev def. Dustin Poirier by Submission – Round 5

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