Best UFC 302 Main Event Betting Picks: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier

  • What: UFC 302 Main Event
  • Who: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier
  • Date: Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • Location: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
  • Time: Early Prelims (6:15 p.m. ET), Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET), Pay-Per-View Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
  • How to Watch:  Early Prelims (ESPN+) Prelims (ESPN2, ESPN+), Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)

The first of two UFC pay-per-view events for the month of June takes place on Saturday, June 1, when UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev puts his title on the line against Dustin Poirier. This bout marks the third time Poirier has fought for the undisputed UFC 155-pound crown. He was submitted in previous tries by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. Makhachev has successfully defended his title twice. Here is some background on the UFC 302 main event fighters before we look at the betting breakdown for the PPV card.

Islam Makhachev (25-1) is the protege of former UFC lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov. Makhachev lost his second UFC fight by knockout, but he is unbeaten since then, going 13-0. He is coming off back-to-back wins over UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in his two lightweight title defenses.

Dustin Poirier (30-8-0-1) is the No. 4 ranked fighter in the UFC lightweight division. A former interim champion at 155 pounds, Poirier is coming off a knockout win over Benoit Saint Denis.

Before we look at the best bets for the Makhachev vs. Poirier matchup on the UFC 302 PPV card,  check out the best UFC betting sites and where you can find the best odds on all the UFC fights.

UFC 302 main event: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier betting picks

To Win UFC 302 Main EventBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewMyBookie Review
Dustin Poirier+350+375+325+350
Islam Makhachev-450-500-450-526

Islam Makhachev betting breakdown

The defending UFC lightweight champion is often compared to his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and that makes sense. Islam Makhachev uses the same type of style as the ex-champ, but by no means is he a carbon copy of Nurmagomedov. Makhachev’s striking has improved a great deal since his early days with the UFC, as evidenced by his first-round knockout win over Volkanovski in October.

Makhachev is incredibly comfortable on the feet, but that’s not where the champion is at his best. No, Makhachev is one of the best grapplers in the game right now. He has a heavy top game, and he’s always looking to advance his position and secure a submission, and if that’s not in the cards, he can be active with his striking on the mat. His takedowns per fight might be low, but that’s because once he gets his foe to the mat, they are usually stuck there until the round ends.

Makhachev lands 2.46 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy of 60 percent. He only absorbs 1.27 significant strikes per minute, and his striking defense is 61 percent. The champion picks up 3.17 takedowns per 15 minutes and has a success rate of 60 percent. Makhachev’s takedown defense is 90 percent, and he averages 1.0 submissions per 15 minutes.

Islam MakhachevTO BEAT DUSTIN POIRIER
★★★★★
-450
Bet now

Dustin Poirier betting breakdown

One of the biggest worries in this fight when it comes to Dustin Poirier is preparation time. Poirier defeated Benoit Saint Denis on March 9. To turn around and get into a camp to face a much better fighter in Makhachev doesn’t give Poirier and his camp a lot of time to get ready for UFC 302. Poirier is a veteran, and his team is top-notch, but facing someone like Makhachev under less-than-ideal circumstances is a big ask for a fighter who has already fallen short in two previous UFC title fights.

A very good boxer, Poirier uses low kicks to his advantage. He is an exciting fighter, but he has had some real battles in the past, and time is starting to catch up with the UFC veteran. The ex-interim champ is a thoughtful but aggressive fighter who is well-trained. He uses a high striking output while mixing his wrestling and grappling skills when appropriate. He is defensively sound in the striking department, but when he finds an opening, he will pounce and increase his output and aggression, which can get him in trouble against a patient opponent with a high fight IQ. Poirier’s affinity for attempting guillotine chokes could get him in trouble against someone as skilled as Makhachev.

Poirier lands an average of 5.45 significant strikes per minute, and he has an accuracy rate of 51 percent. He absorbs an average of 4.36 strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 53 percent. Poirier lands an average of 1.33 takedowns per 15 minutes with a success rate of 36 percent. His takedown defense is 63 percent, and he averages 1.4 submissions per 15 minutes of action.

Dustn Poirier TO BEAT ISLAM MAKHACHEV
★★★★★
+375
Bet now

Best Bets: UFC 302 main event: Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier

The betting odds are very much in favor of the champion retaining his crown at UFC 302, and that’s likely to happen. The betting value in this bout comes down to how one thinks Makhachev will win. My betting pick is for Islam Makhachev to defeat Dustin Poirier by submission. For those looking for a value bet in favor of the betting underdog, picking Poirier to win by submission is the best choice.

Islam MakhachevTO BEAT DUSTIN POIRIER
★★★★★
-450
Bet now

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.