UFC 302 prediction, odds: Full main card picks for Makhachev vs. Poirier

UFC 302 prediction, odds: Full main card picks for Makhachev vs. Poirier

UFC 302 is live from Newark!

The Post’s Scott Fontana has had some excellent coverage related to this weekend’s UFC 302 card in New Jersey, and he will be in attendance for Saturday’s card to recap the event.

Islam Makhachev will defend his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 302 main event.

It’ll be a challenging fight for Poirier, who has become increasingly easy to take down as he’s gotten older.

Remember, he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s mentor, when Poirier was in his prime.

Now, Poirier is older, and while it’s impressive that he is still here, don’t expect a swan song Saturday night, MMA is a lot like “Game of Thrones.”

“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention,” Ramsay Bolton once said on the gamed HBO series.

It couldn’t be more relevant in MMA, a place where we have rarely seen careers end happily.

Below, we break down UFC 302 with fight picks and breakdowns, with the early prelims beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 before switching over to PPV at 10 p.m. ET.

UFC 302 odds, predictions

Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier

If you take the blinders off and look deeply at this fight, it’s really challenging to see Poirier winning.

Of course, anyone has a puncher’s chance in this high-variance sport, but Poirier is 35 and taking tons of damage.

He was also easily taken down by Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299 in Miami.

Poirier only defends takedowns at 63 percent and only 57.1 percent in his last three fights combined.

And take into account that Saint-Denis, Justin Gaethje, and Michael Chandler are not in the same stratosphere of wrestling as Makhachev.

Makhachev isn’t going to care to strike with him; it’s not in his DNA.

Dustin Poirier might have a great guillotine, but it’s a horrific strategy in MMA. Zuffa LLC
Islam Makhachev is an elite grappler. Getty Images

If you want to take a shot on Poirier swinging for the fences and landing, by all means, go ahead.

It can be had at +700, so no one will fault you on the prayer.

But there is no other path to victory for Poirier; even if people want to make jokes about his guillotine choke.

Makhachev’s submission price at +100 is a steal, considering Poirier’s poor defensive grappling.

Makhachev also has only one ground-and-pound TKO in his UFC career (Bobby Green), so I think his TKO price of 350 is a rip-off.

PICK: Makhachev by submission (+100, FanDuel)

Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa

It’s a five-round co-main event between Paulo Costa and Sean Strickland.

Strickland is the former champion at middleweight and basically turns every fight into a jab-fest, even a sparring session.

If this fight were three rounds, I’d be way more interested in backing the underdog, but Costa’s cardio is painful at times.

Remember that fight against Luke Rockhold––who was a shell of his former self–– and that one went three rounds where Costa nearly lost.

Paulo Costa’s performance against Luke Rockhold should stick in your mind before betting him here. Zuffa LLC

He has a ton of talent, but he might need new management for signing up for five rounds here.

Strickland can point his way to a decision if he wants.

But the best way to bet this fight is Strickland wins in over 2.5 rounds (+105, DraftKings) in case Costa quits once things start going sideways.

PICK: Strickland wins in over 2.5 rounds (+105, DraftKings)

Sean Strickland’s jab is his best weapon. Getty Images

UFC 302 full main card picks

  • Islam Makhachev (-600) vs. Dustin Poirier: Makhachev by submission (+100, FanDuel)
  • Sean Strickland (-265) vs. Paulo Costa: Strickland wins in over 2.5 rounds (+105, DraftKings)
  • Kevin Holland (-290) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk: Fights starts round two (-225) | over 1.5 rounds (-154) | Fight starts round 3 (+102) | Over 2.5 rounds (+148) | fight goes to decision (+190, ESPN BET)
  • Niko Price vs. Alex Morono: Either fighter by KO/TKO (+105, DraftKings)
  • Randy Brown (-180) vs. Zaleski Dos Santos: SGP: Brown ML + over 4.5 minutes (-110, DraftKings)

Get the lowdown on the Best USA Sports Betting Sites and Apps

UFC 302 prelim picks

  • Cesar Almeida (-115) vs. Roman Kopylov: Kopylov by decision (+410, BetRivers)
  • Jailton Almeida (-325) vs. Alexandr Romanov: Almeida by KO/TKO (+350, Bet365), great parlay piece at ML price
  • Grant Dawson (-500) vs. Joe Solecki: Can’t trust either one of these guys, pass.
  • Phil Rowe (+130) vs. Jake Matthews: Matthews ML (-150, Caesars)
  • Mickey Gall (+310) vs. Bassil Hafez: Hafez by decision (+175, BetMGM)
  • Ailin Perez (-185) vs. Joselyne Edwards: Perez by decision (+100, FanDuel)
  • Mitch Raposo (+230) vs. Andre Lima: Pass

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