UFC 302: Islam Makhachev big favorite over Dustin Poirier

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