UFC: UFC 302: Islam Makhachev big favorite over Dustin Poirier

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The main card at UFC 302 will get under way at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The card features a light heavyweight bout between two southpaws in Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA), the current champion making his third title defense, is coming off a knockout victory over Alexander Volkanovski last October. Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked Poirier (30-8; 1 NC) is a former interim champion who scored a knockout win over Benoit Saint-Denis less than three months ago.

Makhachev enters as the decided favorite at -450 by BetMGM. However, the underdog Poirier has been backed by one-sided action at +325 with 92 percent of the total bets and 76 percent of the money. There has been speculation that this could be the final fight for the 35-year-old Poirier.

“I hope he does not retire after this fight,” Makhachev said. “He’s one of the biggest names in the sport. That’s why I respect him. He’s had a lot of crazy, crazy fights in this sport.”

The most popular prop for UFC 302 has been Poirier at +650 to win by KO/TKO or disqualification. The next most popular has been Poirier at +325 to win by submission.

Mentor and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov will be in Makhachev’s corner Saturday night.

“This means a lot,” Makhachev said. “He gives me good advice in a lot of fights. Against Gleison Tibau, he told me I should try and land a left hook. I did and I finished him. Against (Dan) Hooker, he gave me very good advice and I finished him by armbar.

“The good news, everybody was happy when Khabib said he would be in the corner. Everybody understands.”

The other fights on the UFC 302 card:
Sean Strickland (-210) vs. Paulo Costa (+175)
Michal Oleksiejczuk (+165) vs. Kevin Holland (-200)
Alex Morono (-275) vs. Niko Price (+210)
Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (+135) vs. Randy Brown (-165)
Roman Kopylov (-130) vs. Cesar Almeida (+110)
Alexandr Romanov (+225) vs. Jailton Almeida (-285)
Joe Solecki (+260) vs. Grant Dawson (-300)
Jake Matthews (-150) at Phil Rowe (+135)
Bassil Hafez (-275) vs. Mickey Gall (+210)
Joselyne Edwards (+210) vs. Ailin Perez (-275)
Andre Lima (-200) vs. Mitch Raposo (+170)

–Field Level Media

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