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Russia's Islam Makhachev reacts after his Lightweight bout as we look at our Makhachev vs. Poirier UFC 302 fight preview
Russia's Islam Makhachev reacts after his Lightweight bout against Australia's Alexander Volkanovski during UFC 294 on October 22, 2023. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace via. AFP

Before enjoying UFC 302’s headlining lightweight championship bout featuring Makhachev vs. Poirier from Prudential Center, take a look at our Makhachev-Poirier prediction based on the odds from our best UFC betting sites.

Islam Makhachev is set to put his lightweight strap on the line for the third time on Saturday. After two defenses against Alexander Volkanovski, Makhachev squares off against Dustin Poirier at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Makhachev earned the belt with a submission victory over Charles Oliveira in late 2022 and enters this fight on an impressive 13-fight win streak, with eight of those victories via stoppage.

Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier (22-7) will stand across from him in the Octagon on Saturday. His last attempt at the lightweight title was in late 2021 when Oliveira submitted him.

The fan-favorite has alternated wins and losses in his last four fights, but he returned to the win column at UFC 299 in March with a knockout victory over Benoit Saint-Denis, earning another shot at the undisputed lightweight championship.

To accompany our UFC predictions and expert picks, here is our best Makhachev vs. Poirier prediction and UFC picks (odds via our best sports betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Makhachev vs. Poirier prediction and pick

Makhachev vs. Poirier fight analysis

As much as we’d all love to see Poirier donning the lightweight strap before he calls it a career, the 35-year-old’s dream isn't likely to be realized at Makhachev’s expense. 

The blueprint to a Makhachev victory has already been drafted by cornerman and fellow sambo stylist Khabib Nutmagomedov, who dominated Poirier en route to a tapout victory back in 2019 at UFC 242. Boasting first-rate wrestling, ruthless top control, and a varied submission arsenal, Makhachev should waste little time imposing his will and getting the fight to the mat and up against the cage, where he’ll handcuff Poirier and advance position in pursuit of a tapout.

Granted, Poirier remains an elite lightweight with at least a puncher’s chance and underrated scrambling ability, but he’s been out-grappled by superior mat technicians before, and with a significant strike defense of over 60 percent, Makhachev won’t make an easy target while the pair remain upright. All this to say, expect Makhachev to do what he does best and deprive Poirier of his ever-elusive feel-good moment.

Given Makhachev’s lengthy win streak, Poirier’s loss to his teammate, and the latter’s reputation for faltering when the stakes are highest, the lines on this matchup are predictably lopsided, with FanDuel listing a straight Makhachev victory at a whopping -650 as of Friday morning. The lines at our remaining top sportsbooks only offer slightly better value, as BetMGM leads the pack at -588 on a successful title defense for the champ.

Best odds: Makhachev moneyline (-588 via BetMGM)

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Makhachev vs. Poirier best bet

Tasked with an excellent and ever-game striking technician in Poirier, Makhachev would be a fool to keep this matchup standing. The defending king’s grappling stats are frightening, as he averages 3.17 takedowns per 15 minutes, scores on 60 percent of his attempts, and boasts a handful of tapouts over his current winning streak.

Once the action hits the mat, look for Makhachev to make Poirier wear his weight and pepper him with ground-and-pound for a stanza or two before wrapping up another dominant effort with an arm-triangle choke for a 12th career victory by submission.

Unlike the moneyline on Makhachev, a tapout win for the defending titleholder offers solid value for such a heavy favorite. As of Friday morning, the lines on a Makhachev submission top out at -130 with DraftKings, and you’ll find the best value at a respectable -105 at bet365.

Best odds: Makhachev by submission (-105 via bet365)

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Makhachev vs. Poirier odds

(Odds via BetMGM as of Friday)

MakhachevMethod of victoryPoirier
-588Win outright+425
+275Win by KO/TKO/DQ+650
+500Win by unanimous decision+1400

Makhachev vs. Poirier tale of the tape

5 foot 10Height5 foot 9
155 lbs.Weight155 lbs.
70.5 in.Reach73 in.

Makhachev vs. Poirier fight info

  • When: Saturday, June 1
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
  • How to watch: ESPN+, PPV
  • Favorite: Makhachev -588 (via BetMGM)

Makhachev-Poirier pick made Friday at 10 a.m. ET

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