Makhachev-Poirier, Strickland-Costa top-bill UFC 302

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Makhachev-Poirier, Strickland-Costa top-bill UFC 302
Islam Makhachev (left) and Dustin Poirier.

MANILA, Philippines – Islam Makhachev versus Dustin Poirier.

Both mixed martial arts fighters have beaten a who’s who on their way to the top of the UFC lightweight division.

Makhachev has been at the forefront of this Russian invasion of the UFC. Aside from the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov, has there been any one more fearsome than Makhachev, who has convincingly beaten some future Hall of Famers (in their prime we must stress) in Alexander Volkanovski, Charles Oliveira, and Bobby Green?

The 32-year-old Russian, who totes a 28-5 record, has 11 wins via submission and five via knockout and is on a 13-fight win streak. 

The UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter is out to defend his lightweight belt for a third time against fourth-ranked challenger Poirier in the main event of UFC 302 slated for Sunday, June 2, at the Prudential in Newark, New Jersey. 

Poirier comes in with a 30-8 record with significant wins over Conor McGregor, Benoit Saint-Denis and Michael Chandler. 

He is Makhachev’s opposite with his knockout power. He has 16 wins by KO and seven through submission, including 13 first-round finishes. 

For the 35-year-old Poirier to have a chance against this Russian wrecking machine, he must do major damage and get Makhachev out early. If the fight goes longer, then he sails into the Russian’s territory where he only gets stronger. 

Makhachev is patient and smart. If Poirier can frustrate him early that changes the game. However, right now, all bets are on Makhachev to roll into his 14th straight triumph.  

In the co-main event of UFC 302, former middleweight champion Sean Strickland (28-6) takes another step toward a title shot when he battles unpredictable but rising star Paulo Costa (14-3). 

Strickland is coming off a loss to Dricus du Plessis, who took his title in UFC 297 in a split decision. While Costa, 1-3 in his last four bouts, is much better than that poor run. He waxes hot and cold but struggles against fighters who are relentless in taking the fight to him (see those defeats to Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori). Strickland fights at a pace Costa likes — slow and easy. 

Nevertheless, expect this to be a slugfest as both fighters like the stand-up game and each owns 11 knockouts.

UFC 302 will be televised live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports channel on Sky Cable and Cignal as well as on the Blast TV streaming application on Sunday. The preliminary rounds begin at 6:30 a.m., with the main card coming on at 10 a.m.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with