Video Credit: CBS Sports

New FSM Essential Recap: UFC 302 – Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier

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UFC 302 concludes in Newark, New Jersey, after 12 fights of violent entertainment

 

Through 12 matchups at UFC 302, nine went the distance and were left to the judges’ decisions. Only three fights on Saturday night were decided by finish, with all three finishes coming from submissions. Despite the lack of knockouts, UFC 302 still supplied multiple thrilling moments that brought the New Jersey crowd to their feet.

Whether it was Kevin Holland snapping his two-fight losing streak by snapping Michal Oleksiejczuk’s arm in the first round or Sean Strickland capping off the co-main event with a fury of head kicks to secure the split decision victory over Paulo Costa, UFC 302 had plenty of sensational fights that made for a great fight night in the Garden State. Possibly the most enticing moments of UFC 302 came in the headlining fight of the night as two of the best 155-pounders in the world faced off for the title of undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

 

Main Event – Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier

 

UFC 302 - Makhachev vs Poirier | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

Though many were hoping to finally see redemption for Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (30-9, 1 NC) in his third attempt for the lightweight title, the reigning champ and pound-for-pound number-one fighter in the UFC proved too much for the “Diamond” to overcome.

With a fifth-round D’Arce choke, Islam Makhachev (26-1) submitted Poirier to seal his third-title defense, tying the UFC lightweight record with legends BJ Penn and Makhachev’s coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Saturday night’s win also gave Makhachev his 14th straight victory, setting the record for the third-longest winning streak in UFC history. With only Anderson Silva (16) and Kamaru Usman (15) having longer streaks, Makhachev has set himself up to claim the record as soon as possibly next year.

UFC 302 was a career night for Makhachev as the reigning lightweight champion showed the versatility and dominance that earned him the number-one ranking as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC.

The champion started the fight standing and exchanging shots with Poirier before attempting his first take-down of the bout. Makhachev successfully brought Poirier down and manhandled the former Lightweight interim champ for most of the first round up to the horn.

In the second round, Makhachev turned Poirier’s offense against him. As Poirier attempted to throw a kick, Makhachev caught the leg and used Poirier’s bad position to score another takedown. Poirier managed to get back to his feet and to stuff another takedown attempt by Islam. But, the reigning champion would take Poirier down one more time in the final seconds of the second round.

In the third, Makhachev continued to show his wrestling dominance. After standing and throwing shots with Poirier to start the round, Makhachev scored another takedown, forcing Poirier to the canvas and keeping him there until Poirier managed to get back up to his feet with two minutes left. The Louisianna native then managed to land multiple shots at Makhachev before the end of the round.

The fourth round proved to be Poirier’s best, as the former interim champion defended multiple takedown attempts and landed multiple effective shots at his opponent. During the final moments of the round, Poirier landed a sharp elbow to Makhachev’s face and left a leaking gash on the champion’s forehead going into the final round of the night.

 

UFC 302 - Makhachev vs Poirier | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

In the fifth round, Makhachev finally took over the fight to keep the decision out of the judges’ hands. After taking a solid kick from Poirier and failing to take him down to the canvas, Makhachev was able to get Poirier’s leg and forced him down to the canvas. From there, Makhachev took Poirier’s back and got his neck and arm into a D’Arce choke. Despite his best efforts, Poirier couldn’t escape from the hold and was forced to yield the victory to Makhachev.

After the fight, Makhachev was swarmed by his corner as his training partners and coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov, embraced the reigning champion. During the celebrations, Nurmagomedov took the time to check on Poirier. As the first opponent to defeat Poirier in a title fight, Nurmagomedov showed the same respect and admiration for Poirier as he did when the two fought for the lightweight title back in 2019.

After losing a third title fight, Poirier acknowledged in the post-fight interview that Saturday night was probably his last chance at becoming an undisputed champion. When asked if he was considering retiring, Poirier admitted that he didn’t want the sport to decide the end of his career and said he would take time to consider whether he would retire.

Following his 14th straight victory, Makhachev stated his desire to strengthen his already impressive legacy in the UFC by becoming a two-division champion and competing for the welterweight title in his next fight. The current welterweight champion, Leon Edwards, is scheduled to fight Belal Muhammad in the main event at UFC 304 on July 27th. Depending on the outcome of that fight, whether Leon Edwards defends his title or Belal Muhammad becomes the new champion at welterweight, either fighter will have a hell of a challenge coming their way if the lightweight champion gets his wish.

 

UFC 302 Main Card results, highlights:

 

  • Middleweight: Sean Strickland def. Paulo Costa by split-decision
  • Middleweight: Kevin Holland def. Michal Oleksiejczuk via submission (armbar) at 1:34 of R1
  • Heavyweight: Nico Price def. Alex Morono, by unanimous decision
  • Welterweight: Randy Brown def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via unanimous decision

 

UFC 302 Prelims card results, highlights:

 

  • Middleweight: Roman Kopylov def. Cesar Almeida, by split decision
  • Heavyweight: Jailton Almeida def. Alexandr Romanov by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:27 of R1:
  • Lightweight: Grant Dawson def. Joe Solecki, by unanimous decision
  • Welterweight: Jake Mathews def. Phil Rowe, by unanimous decision

 

UFC 302 early prelims card results, highlights:

 

  • Welterweight: Bassil Hafez def. Mickey Gall, by unanimous decision
  • Women’s Bantamweight: Ailin Perez def. Joselyne Edwards, by unanimous decision
  • Catchweight (130lb): Andre Lima def. Mitch Raposo, by split decision

 

Check out franchisesportsmedia.com for all your latest combat sports news and events. Be sure to tune in to The Main Event every week as Griffin Kemp and Kalani Lua provide the latest updates in MMA/Boxing.

 

-Griffin Kemp – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Griffin on Twitter – @Griffinkemp51

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