UFC 302: Best betting props, parlays and picks

UFC 302 goes down this Saturday (June 1, 2024) at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The main event sees ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier challenging Islam Makhachev for the UFC Lightweight title. This is likely the last chance for the ever-popular Poirier to lift a UFC title (without the interim tag, that is). The co-main event features two of UFC’s most outspoken fighters, with Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa tangling in the Middleweight division.

The “Prelims” are headlined by Middleweights Roman Kopylov and Cesar Almeida. There’s also Niko Price vs. Alex Morono at Welterweight. And we have “Early Prelims” for this one, too. Mickey Gall and Bassil Hafez get the call to headline that portion of the card.

As always, there’s lots to bet on this card, and we’ve got odds for all the fights below.

UFC 302’s Dustin Poirier when he fought at UFC 299.

UFC 302 headliner Dustin Poirier showed he could still crack at UFC 299.
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

UFC 302 Main Card Money Line Odds

Islam Makhachev (-625) vs. Dustin Poirier (+455)

It’s no surprise that Islam Makhachev comes into this one as a heavy favorite. His opponent, Dustin Poirier, is coming off an impressive win over Benoit Saint-Denis (check it out here), but his title shot at UFC 302 feels like it was earned based on his legacy rather than his recent form (he’s 2-2 since his double wins over Conor McGregor in 2021). Poirier is also a name that is expected to sell pay-per-views for the UFC, more so than give the champion a real run for his money.

Makhachev will be looking for his third UFC title defense. However, this will be his first defense opposite a bona fide Lightweight. Makhachev’s two previous defenses were both against Alexander Volkanovski. The first was a close, albeit unanimous decision, at UFC 284. The second was an emphatic KO win at UFC 294 (watch it here). Those wins stretched Makhachev’s winning streak to thirteen fights and improved his overall record to 25-1; the only blemish being a shock KO loss to Adriano Martins back in 2015 (here, if you’ve forgotten).

Other than wins over Charles Oliveira and a rising Arman Tsarukyan, Makhachev’s record is a little light on Lightweight royalty (something we used to say about his mentor and cornerman Khabib Nurmagomedov back in the day). So I can see people talking themselves into believing Poirier is one of, if not the, best fighters Makhachev has ever fought. And it’s not like Poirier is over the hill. He’s only 35, just three years older than Makhachev. Though, Poirier’s years in the UFC have taken more out of him than Makhachev’s have.

The narrative of Poirier claiming an improbably UFC title to crown off his action-packed and largely feel-good career might be a powerful motivator for betters here, with folks willing to risk a little to make a whole lot on a Poirier punch finding its home and putting the champion on his skates.

My head tells me Makhachev will get takedowns whenever he wants (60% accuracy vs. Poirier’s 63% defense) and will lock up an arm triangle somewhere in the third round. However, as some one who would love to see Poirier lift a legit title belt, I’ll be staying away from this one and merely hoping we see some history on Saturday night.

UFC 298: Volkanovski v Topuria

Paulo Costa is a slight underdog at UFC 302
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Sean Strickland (-238) vs. Paulo Costa (+195)

UFC 302’s co-main event looks fun on paper, but it might be anything but. Sean Strickland has earned a lot of attention over the last few years (like so), but his fighting style remains rather dull. Paulo Costa is capable of an exciting fight, but is never a given to win any of those. Both men will make the event a spectacle in the events around the fight itself. However, the actual contest might be five rounds of Costa trying and failing to penetrate Strickland’s defense while Strickland lands pot shots, but never extends himself enough to score a finish. If that happens we’ll get a Strickland decision win and that’s largely what the bookies think will happen, too.

Costa is a decent underdog on Draftkings (he’s +170 in other spots at this time of writing). Costa is 2-3 in his last five with those two wins coming over Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. His inactivity paired with a possible lack of focus (which may or may not be a Ryan Garcia level troll job) makes him a hard person to invest your hard earned cash in. Costa did once show a little pop in his punches, winning his first couple of UFC bouts by TKO. However, I don’t think those old wins should have us believing Costa could stop Strickland, whose only stoppage loss at Middleweight is to Alex Pereira (check it out).

I feel pretty confident that Strickland gets the W here and then sets himself up for another big fight in the division. Win or lose, who knows what’s going to happen with Costa. He feels like a guy who’d love to split time between PFL and Misfits Boxing.

UFC 299: Holland v Page

Kevin Holland will hope to rebound at UFC 302, following a loss to MVP.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Kevin Holland (-285) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (+230)

Kevin Holland’s rep has really sunk after an electrifying start to his UFC career. Four years in, he’s lost every ‘big fight’ he’s gotten himself into. After back-to-back losses he’s 2-4 in his last six with wins over Michael Chiesa and Sanitago Ponzinibbio doing little to overshadow his losses to Khamzat Chimaev, Stephen Thompson, Jack Della Maddalena and — most recently — Michael Page. Due to his rough form against household names, the matchmakers have lowered the difficulty level for him this time around.

Holland is a decent sized favorite against Michal Oleksiejczuk. The Pole is coming off a first round submission loss to Michael Pereira (see that here) and was also recently tapped out by Caio Borralho (see that one here). The owner of wins against Sam Alvey and Gian Villante will be giving up a lot of size in this match-up — he’s three inches shorter than Holland and has a seven inch reach disadvantage.

Neither of these guys are that interested in takedowns, so I think we can expect a straight up kickboxing match between the two. In that kind of battle, Holland should have enough to get by Oleksiejczuk. However, this is Kevin Holland and he sometimes does Kevin Holland things. So, like the main event, this is a bout I personally wouldn’t trifle with. Should be a fun scrap to watch, though.

UFC 299: Blaydes v Almeida

UFC 302’s Jailton Almeida’s stock took a hit at UFC 299.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jailton Almeida (-290) vs. Alexandr Romanov (+235)

Much of Jailton Almeida’s hype was chipped away by the hammer fists of Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299 in March. Three months later he’ll be hoping to erase that memory with a win over Alexandr Romanov, a man who is yet to put the Heavyweight division on notice.

A newly humbled Almeida will likely continue to lean on his grappling against Romanov, while also being mindful of the hammer fist attack from the clinch that ruined his night at UFC 299.

Romanov is a good wrestler, but his takedown defense in the UFC won’t tell you that. He’s defended only 20% of the takedowns attempted against him. However, the only man to attempt to take him down in the UFC is Juan Espina. So it’s a bit of a mystery whether Almeida will be able to get Romanov to the ground. The takedown is Romanov’s best weapon, but it may not be a good fit for this bout given Almeida’s grappling advantage.

If Almeida struggles to take Romanov down and Romanov elects to stay on his feet, this Heavyweight fight could last a year.

I think Almeida has more paths open to him to win this fight, so I’d rather place a bet on him here than on Romanov (who has some value if you think he can out-wrestle Almeida and avoid submission attempts).

UFC Fight Night: Brown v Salikhov

UFC 302’s Randy Brown looked great last time out.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Randy Brown (-175) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (+145)

Randy Brown is the slight favorite here against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in what could be a very fun fight. When you look at the striking stats for these two they are, as one Mike Goldberg would say, virtually identical. Brown lands 4.37 significant strikes per minute to Dos Santos’ 4.52. Brown has an accuracy of 46%. Dos Santos has 42%. Both absorb the same amount of significant strikes per minute (3.33). For defense, Brown has 54% versus Dos Santos’ 57%.

With neither man known for fighting on the ground, this should be an exciting and high level striking affair. Dos Santos hits harder than Brown, he’s won 57% of his 24 victories by KO/TKO (including his career best wins over Sean Strickland and Benoit Saint Denis). Brown has won 39% of his victories via KO/TKO. However, it might be hard for Dos Santos to land a KO blow. The Brazilian is giving up five inches in reach in this match-up. That’s a problem he’s never faced in the UFC. The biggest reach disadvantage he’s had was against Curtis Millender (three inches). Millender didn’t land a punch on him and was battered, taken down and subbed in short order. Dos Santos is also giving up some years to Brown, being 37 (four years older than his opponent).

As far as the odds go I think a little recency bias and a little ageism might be working in Brown’s favour here. He’s coming off a very flash KO over Muslim Salikhov (watch it here). But I think Dos Santos has a lot of value as an underdog. And, if he can figure out his range, he should be able to land the harder shots and might be able to put Brown away.

UFC 302 ‘Prelims’ Under Card Odds

UFC Fight Night: Budka v Almeida

Cesar Almeida looks to improve his perfect record at UFC 302.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Cesar Almeida (-118) vs. Roman Kopylov (+102)

Cesar Almeida is probably the best prospect on the card, despite being 36. The former kickboxer is 5-0 since switching to MMA. He followed up his win on the Contender Series with a stoppage over Dylan Budka in April. Since Alex Pereira, kickboxing transplants in MMA have been all the rage. Almeida is 1-3 against Pereira in kickboxing, by the way (all decisions). I don’t think he’s the next Pereira or Cedric Duombe. But against Roman Kopylov he might find someone willing to stand and bang with him. If that happens, I expect Almeida to win. If Kopylov decides to test Almeida’s all-round game, he could cause some problems for him. Almeida was taken down three times in both his previous UFC bouts.

Grant Dawson (-455) vs. Joe Solecki (+350)

Grant Dawson is one of the biggest favorites on the card and it’s because he will likely get to decide where this fight takes place. He has superior boxing and wrestling to Joe Solecki. He should be able to win exchanges on the feet. But if Solecki is able to counter him or hurt him, Dawson can fall back on takedowns and top pressure. Dawson is coming off a 33 second KO loss to Bobby Green (watch that here) so I expect to see a very motivated showing from him here as he tries to get back on an upward trajectory in UFC’s most dangerous division.

Phil Rowe (+136) vs. Jake Matthews (-162)

Jake Matthews is still yet to turn 30, but he’s been in the UFC for ten years now and this will be his twentieth fight for the promotion. Despite how large his sample size is in the Octagon, it’s still hard to place what his career has been in the UFC. He was a hot prospect, but he could never win enough in a row to make the jump to being a contender. Right now he’s either a dangerous vet or a dreaded gatekeeper. Phil Rowe is 33 and a comparative baby in UFC terms. He’s 3-2 and, last time out, failed at his first attempt to get past a gatekeeper (albeit perhaps the best one around in Neil Magny). I kind of like Rowe in this bout for the improving threat he is becoming on the ground (somewhere Matthews has been exposed before).

Niko Price (+215) vs. Alex Morono (-265)

This should be fun. And we’ve seen it before, by the way. After Niko Price announced himself on the scene with a big win over Brendan Thatch (the final nail in the coffin on Thatch as a potential needle-mover in UFC) he took out Alex Morono with a second round buzzer-beating KO. However, the commission in Texas took that away due to Price testing positive for weed (2017, y’all). Since then Price’s loosey goosey style has lead to more losses than wins. However, Morono has stayed solid and put together a number of decent wins. He’ll have revenge on his mind here and I think he’ll be more fundamentally sound against Price and prove his status as the favorite.

Mickey Gall (+300) vs. Bassil Hafez (-380)

All we’ve seen from Bassil Hafez is a gusty split decision loss to Jack Della Maddalena, where he came in as an ultra late replacement. We’ve seen far more from Mickey Gall. Though it hasn’t been terribly impressive as of late. Gall is coming off of losses to Mike Mallott (via TKO, see it here) and Alex Morono. I don’t think Gall will be able to stop Hafez from having a brawl with him. And when that happens, I expect Hafez will consistently beat him to the punch.

Ailin Perez (-185) vs. Joselyne Edwards (+154)

Ailin Perez has done well at separating herself from the pack, though not always for her fighting abilities. She’s looked pretty good in wins over Lucie Pudilova and Ashlee Evans-Smith. Joselyne Edwards also has a win over Pudilova. She’s longer and leaner than Perez, but I think she’ll struggle with defending the takedown here. There seems to be some public interest on Edwards as a dog, though. Her line has shifted from +185 to +154 in the past week. There’s some bad blood here, too. These two scrapped at the Performance Institute last year, with Edwards claiming Perez’s coach choked here.

Mitch Raposo (+215) vs. Andre Lima (-265)

Andre Lima is 2-0 to start his UFC Flyweight career. Mitch Raposo lost to Jake Hadley (who was made to look quite ordinary recently) in his sole UFC appearance.

UFC Fight Night: Oliveira v Price

Will Niko Price be involved in another fun fight at UFC 302?
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 302 Prop Bets And Parlays

Here’s a couple of things that look interesting for this Saturday’s UFC 302 card …

Islam Makhachev to finish Dustin Poirier in round three (+650)

Khabib Nurmagomedov gave us his best bet for this fight already. He thinks Makhachev finishes Poirier in less than three rounds. On DraftKings you can get +215 for Makhachev to finish the bout in Round 1, +350 for him to finish in round two and +650 for him to finish in round three. Saying the fight would end in “under three rounds” is like saying the fight will “end in round three”, otherwise he would have said the his guy would win in two or less rounds. So let’s consider the round three finish here for those long odds. This bet could cash if we see a quiet first round with both men feeling each other out and then a second round where Makhachev starts imposing himself with takedowns, but Poirier survives. If we make it to the third in this scenario, Poirier might be too tired to adequately defend the submissions that will surely come his way.

Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa to end via decision (+120)

I think this fight goes the distance and Sean Strickland wins thanks to being able to consistently counter and frustrate Paulo Costa over the long haul. You can get Strickland to win by decision at +150 and Costa to win by decision at +900. You can get +120 for the fight to go the distance and either man to win by decision, so why not go there for a little extra safety in case Strickland lays an egg out there.

Two fight parlay: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos to beat Randy Brown and Jailton Almeida to beat Alexandr Romanov (+229)

I like this Brazilian double-date with the moderate underdog of Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos paired with the moderate favourite Jailton Almeida. I think Dos Santos is a more dangerous striker than Brown and that their fight will stay on the feet. And I think Almeida is a more dangerous grappler than Romanov and that their fight will hit the mat.

Ballot Box with EU Flag

UFC 302 Poll Time

Which of the earlier props and parlays do you like the look of the most?

Poll

Which of these bets do you like the most?

  • 0%

    Islam Makhachev to finish Dustin Poirier in round three (+650)

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa to end via decision (+120)

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Two fight parlay: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos to beat Randy Brown and Jailton Almeida to beat Alexandr Romanov (+229)

    (0 votes)



0 votes total

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What else are you liking for this event? Hit us up in the comments below.



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