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Top Reasons to Catch UFC 302


Order Now! UFC 302 “Makhachev vs. Poirier” Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+

This has all the earmarks of a last-hurrah scenario for Dustin Poirier.

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The American Top Team ace will challenge Islam Makhachev for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown in the UFC 302 headliner this Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Poirier fought for the 155-pound title on two previous occasions, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019 and Charles Oliveira in 2021. The championship window seems to be closing on the Lafayette, Louisiana, native, who turned 35 in January. Poirier enters his latest assignment on the strength of wins in nine of his past 12 outings. He last fought at UFC 299, where he punched out Benoit St. Denis in the second round of their March 9 firefight and authored the 23rd finish of his illustrious career. Makhachev, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the sport’s premier pound-for-pound fighters. The longtime Nurmagomedov protégé steps back into the spotlight with a remarkable 13-fight winning streak in tow, his run highlighted by his defeating former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in back-to-back appearances. Makhachev, 32, has secured 16 of his 25 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

In addition to the Makhachev-Poirier showdown, here are two other reasons to catch UFC 302:

Out of the Ashes


It was fun while it lasted for Sean Strickland. The unapologetically polarizing 33-year-old Californian draws his first assignment inside the Octagon since he surrendered the middleweight title in a contentious decision loss to Dricus Du Plessis, as he he locks horns with Paulo Costa in the co-main event. Strickland’s reign atop the 185-pound division covered just 132 days. The Xtreme Couture export holds a 15-6 record inside the Octagon, with wins over Israel Adesanya, Nassourdine Imavov, Jack Hermansson, Uriah Hall, Brendan Allen and Court McGee. On the other side of the equation, Costa has lost three of his past four bouts after starting his career with 13 straight victories. The former Jungle Fight champion last suited up on Feb. 17, when he was outstruck by a 95-67 margin and dropped a three-round unanimous decision to Robert Whittaker at UFC 298.

Heavy Lifting


While Jailton Almeida may have lost some of his shine, he remains one of the most promising young heavyweights on the planet. The 2021 Dana White’s Contender Series graduate looks to bounce back from his first defeat in six-plus years when he locks horns with Alexander Romanov in a compelling three-round showcase. Almeida, 32, has recorded 15 wins across his past 16 starts. However, the ex-Thunder Fight champion finds himself on the rebound following a second-round knockout loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299 on March 9. A potent offensive force, Almeida has delivered 19 of his 20 pro victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 14 of them inside one round. In his path stands Romanov. The powerfully built Moldovan has compiled a 6-2 mark since he linked arms with the UFC in 2020. He last fought at UFC on ESPN 48, where he took a three-round unanimous decision from Blagoy Ivanov on July 1.

Order Now! UFC 302 “Makhachev vs. Poirier” Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+
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