UFC 302 Tips - Makhachev to grind Poirier down

There's another action-packed UFC card to look forward to this weekend, where lightweight champion Islam Makhachev defends his title against former interim champion Dustin Poirier.

On the undercard, there are two middleweight contests as Sean Strickland tackles Paulo Costa, while Michal Oleksiejczuk will do battle with Kevin Holland.

At heavyweight, Jailton Almeida will take on Alexander Romanov, in what promises to be an explosive fight.

Best bets

  • Islam Makhachev by submission @ 22/25
  • Sean Strickland v Paulo Costa - Fight to go the distance @ 13/10

Islam Makhachev by submission @ 22/25

Champion Makhachev is the heavy favourite for this week's contest in New Jersey, but he will need to be switched on against fan-favourite Poirier.

The former interim champion should provide a stern test, but he has lost two of his previous four fights in the UFC.

Makhachev has won 25 of his 26 MMA fights, while 11 of those have been won by submission.

Poirier has lost eight times in his career, three of which have come via submission, with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Charles Oliveira and Jung Chan-sung all getting the better of him.

His ground game is certainly his biggest weakness, and it should only be a matter of time before Makhachev finds a gap and exploits it.

Sean Strickland v Paulo Costa - Fight to go the distance @ 13/10

Five months after he lost his world title to Dricus du Plessis, American Strickland returns to the octagon looking to prove a point.

After three sensational wins in a row, Strickland turned his career around, especially after he beat Israel Adesanya on points at UFC 293 in Sydney.

However, Du Plessis got the better of him in Toronto in January, and Strickland will need to prove that was a one-off.

Costa is 6-3 in the UFC, but he has lost three of his last four, including a defeat to Adesanya in September 2020.

Robert Whittaker got the better of him in February in Anaheim, but he has only been stopped once as a professional.

Both men are durable and tough, and while Strickland should have enough to come out on top, the value is in the fight reaching its conclusion.

Costa and Strickland are likely to trade, but the latter is not known for his finishing. His Brazilian opponent has a strong chin, and all three of his previous fights have gone to the scorecards and a repeat of that certainly looks good value this weekend.

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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