UFC 302 First Look: Makhachev vs. Poirier Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions

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Top UFC Pick: Under 2.5 Rounds (-155) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, needs to reinforce its roof this weekend because it’s about to be blown off when the UFC lightweight championship is up for grabs.

The reigning, defending, 155lb titleholder, Islam Makhachev, will trade leather with Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier in this weekend’s main event, and I’m back to assist with all your betting needs.

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC 302 main event clash between Makhachev and Poirier, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC first look betting picks, predictions, and analysis.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more betting advice! Today, our expert covered the Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos and Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa bouts.

UFC 302 Information

  • When: Saturday, June 1, 2024 – 06:00 PM ET
  • Where: Prudential Center, New Jersey
  • Scheduled Bouts: 12
  • Main Event: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier
  • Moneyline Probability: Makhachev – 86.7% (-650) Poirier – 16% (+525)

Dustin Poirier vs. Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev

Often referred to as the second coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the current lightweight champ, Islam Makhachev is close to breaking the all-time title defense record at 155 pounds, and the competition hasn’t even been close thus far.

With fifteen UFC bouts under his belt, the Dagestan representative has won all but one of those contests. He currently rides a 13-fight win streak and has recently evolved into a finishing machine, winning 6 of his last 7 fights via KO/TKO or submission.

Furthermore, Makhachev holds a resume that isn’t to be messed with. Dominant wins over Dan Hooker and Charles Oliveira and back-to-back victories over Alexander Volkanovski, including a highlight reel head kick knockout over the Australian legends, have positioned him as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet… Inshallah!

Makhachev Best Moneyline Odds: -650 at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier

Will the third time truly be a charm for Dustin Poirier? The man who’s graced the UFC octagon with his elite MMA skills since 2011 steps into his trilogy of title opportunities this weekend, but he previously couldn’t succeed on the big stage as Khabib and Oliveira both prevented the Louisiana native from achieving his end goal… championship status.

Outside of title bouts, Poirier has been a menace for this, expecting to use his legendary name as a stepping stool. After 13 years of service for Dana White and co, “The Diamond” has won 22 of the 30 fights he’s competed in, with a 50% KO/TKO rate and an 18% submission clip to boast about from those successes.

Poirier recently defied the odds (+175) against Benoit Saint-Denis and flatlined the French up-and-comer with a vicious right hook, but can Lafayette’s finest once again thrive in the underdog position when faced with the number-one-ranked fighter across all weight classes?

Poirier Best Moneyline Odds: +525 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

UFC 302: Tale of the Tape

UFC 302 Skillset Analysis: Styles Make Fights

Khabib, as the coach and long-time training partner/friend of Makhachev, will undoubtedly be the primary comparison for Poirier’s chance of victory this weekend because of how similar the fighting styles will match up.

However, it could be argued that Islam poses an even bigger threat to “The Diamond” than Khabib, as we’ve watched an evolution in his striking of late. For example, in a striking war, nobody expected Volkanovski to be the fighter on the wrong side of a KO loss.

Behind a striking threat, it’s no secret that Makhachev's Greco-Roman wrestling, judo offensive, and all-around grappling skills are elite. With a 60% takedown defense throughout his UFC career to date, Poirier is no stranger to fending off the takedown. Still, there are levels to this, and should the underdog make the grappling mistakes we’ve seen him do in the past, it’ll represent a low fight IQ when considering the wrestling prowess of the lightweight champion.

Poirier is expected to be the more proficient and precise striker, so keeping this fight on his feet is likely his greatest path to victory. However, even in those situations, Poirier has made so many poor decisions in the past that he’s untrustworthy, even at the beautiful underdog price we’re receiving.

That said, the skills Poirier ends possess are capable of defeating any 155-pounder on any given night. When you consider this with the juiced -650 moneyline price on Makhachev, the outright market simply isn’t worth the risk, and it should be a stay-away price for any serious bettors.

Under 2½ Rounds: The UFC 302 Best Bet Formula

The available UFC odds at the top sportsbooks have placed a lopsided price on Makhachev, which isn’t a price point we should consider. So, when searching for a fair set of odds, the under 2 ½ rounds at -155 is certainly something we can get behind.

Poirier is a warrior renowned for leaving it all in the octagon, whether successful or not. “The Diamond” has barely seen the judge’s scorecards during his pro career, including 30 fights in the UFC, where 21 of those contests ended via KO/TKO or submission.

Oppositely, Makhachev’s rise through the rankings did involve a handful of decisions, but since 2021, he’s won six of seven fights via KO/TKO or submission, and three of his four most recent wins ended in under two and a half rounds.

Two explosive styles and a history of fights ending before the halfway point of the second round lead us to one obvious betting pick: simply back the under 2½ rounds this weekend and anticipate a violent outcome from two proven finishers who are no strangers to getting the job done fast.

UFC Pick: Under 2.5 Rounds (-155) at Heritage Sports [1.55u to win 1u]

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Under 2.5 Rounds (-155)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.