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How To Bet UFC 302: Odds, Lines, Predictions & Best Bets

The UFC heads to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, this Saturday for UFC 302. The 12-fight event starts at 6 p.m. ET with the main card beginning at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and pay-per-view.

While the evening has plenty of noteworthy fights to wager on at the best UFC betting sites, the main event features lightweight champion Islam Makhachev defending his title against Dustin Poirier. 

In a rare five-round co-main event, former UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland battles Brazil’s Paulo Costa. 

Here’s a look at the main card for UFC 302. Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and subject to change.

  • Main Event: Islam Makhachev (25-1) vs. Dustin Poirier (30-8)
  • Co-Main Event: Sean Strickland (28-6) vs. Paulo Costa (14-3)
  • Kevin Holland (25-11) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (19-7) 
  • Jailton Almeida (20-3) vs. Alexandr Romanov (17-2)
  • Randy Brown (18-5) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (24-7-1)
  • Roman Kopylov (12-3) vs. Cesar Almeida (5-0) 

Lightweight: Makhachev vs. Poirier

  • Moneyline: Makhachev (-650), Poirier (+470)
  • Spread: Makhachev -5.5 (-400), Poirier +5.5 (+270)
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 2.5 (+130/-166) 
  • Best Bet: Islam Makhachev inside the distance (-250) 

Makhachev heads into this main event off a highlight-reel victory over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 in October, which handed Volkanovski his first stoppage loss in the UFC. 

With the victory, the 32-year-old extended his winning streak to 13 straight fights, finishing eight opponents during that span. 

Following a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 291 last summer, a title shot seemed unlikely for Poirier. However, the 35-year-old rebounded in a big way at UFC 299 in March, knocking out dangerous prospect Benoit Saint-Denis in the second round. 

With Gaethje losing to Max Holloway at UFC 300 and top contender Arman Tsarukyan unable to compete on this card, the stars aligned for Poirier to earn another title shot. 

It’s easy to see why Makhachev is the heavy betting favorite here. He has finished Volkanovski and former champion Charles Oliveira, who also finished Poirier in 2021. He’s also well-rounded with exceptional grappling, striking and wrestling skills. 

Poirier does have a puncher’s chance in this title fight, boasting knockout wins over Saint-Denis, Gaethje and Conor McGregor. 

However, Makhachev’s overall arsenal will just be too much. Expect him to weather an early storm from Poirier’s striking and win via submission in the second round. 

Middleweight: Strickland vs. Costa

  • Moneyline: Strickland (-238), Costa (+195)
  • Spread: Strickland -5.5 (-140), Costa +5.5 (+105)
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 4.5 (+105/-135)
  • Best Bet: Strickland by decision (+150) 

Strickland dropped his middleweight title against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297 in a closely contested split decision loss. Prior to that setback, the 33-year-old had reeled off three straight victories, including one of the biggest betting upsets in UFC history when he defeated Israel Adesanya at UFC 293. 

Costa narrowly lost to Robert Whittaker in his last outing at UFC 298, dropping a unanimous decision to the former middleweight champion. Despite nearly finishing Whittaker in the opening frame, Costa slowed down as the fight went on and suffered his third loss in his last four fights. 

While Costa is considered a knockout artist, the 33-year-old hasn’t finished an opponent since 2018 and it’s doubtful that will change here. Strickland is one of the best defensive fighters in the division and should be able to avoid Costa’s striking onslaught early. 

From there, Strickland should take over this fight in the later rounds and earn either a late stoppage or a decision. The latter seems more likely with Strickland going the distance in four of his last five fights. 

Middleweight: Holland vs. Oleksiejczuk

  • Moneyline: Holland (-285), Oleksiejczuk (+230) 
  • Spread: Holland -3.5 (-170), Oleksiejczuk +3.5 (+130)  
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 1.5 (-145/+114) 
  • Best Bet: Holland by submission (+250)

Holland has moved back up the 185-pound division for the first time since 2021 and is looking to avoid three straight losses for the first time in his career. 

As the betting favorite in his last fight, Holland suffered a unanimous decision loss to Michael Page at UFC 299 in March. With that setback, the 31-year-old has lost four of his last six fights. 

Oleksiejczuk hasn’t fared much better, losing two of his last three matchups, including a first-round submission to Michel Pereira at UFC 299. The 29-year-old has gone 3-2 at middleweight since dropping down from the 205-pound division in 2022. 

Holland is rightfully the favorite and this seems like an ideal matchup for him. He has seven career wins by submission while Oleksiejczuk has five career losses by submission, so Holland should secure a submission victory in the second round. 

Heavyweight: Almeida vs. Romanov

  • Moneyline: Almeida (-290), Romanov (+235)
  • Spread: Almeida -3.5 (-195), Romanov +3.5 (+145)
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 1.5 (-105/-125) 
  • Best Bet: Almeida by decision (+400)

Almeida had his five-fight win streak snapped in his last outing as he was knocked out by Curtis Blaydes at UFC 299. “Malhadinho” had previously finished four of his last five opponents with three of those victories coming by submission

Romanov got back on track after defeating Blagoy Ivanov by decision last July. The 33-year-old is 6-2 in his UFC tenure with four wins coming by stoppage.

With both of these fighters being well-versed on the ground, it’s doubtful we’ll see a finish on the mat. Instead, expect Almeida to use his superior wrestling to control Romanov for the duration of the matchup en route to a decision win.  

Welterweight: Brown vs. Zaleski dos Santos

  • Moneyline: Brown (-180), Zaleski dos Santos (+150)
  • Spread: Brown -3.5 (+105), Zaleski dos Santos +3.5 (-140) 
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 2.5 (-150/+120) 
  • Best Bet: Brown by KO/TKO/DQ (+300) 

Brown looked outstanding in his last fight, knocking out Muslim Salikhov in the first round back in February. With the victory, Brown earned his sixth win in his last seven fights.  

Despite being one of the older fighters in the division, Zaleski dos Santos proved he has plenty left in the tank after earning a majority draw against top prospect Rinat Fakhretdinov as an underdog. 

The 37-year-old is undefeated in his last three fights and boasts 14 career wins by knockout. This has the potential to be the fight of the night with both welterweights looking to put on a striking clinic. 

While this fight should be fairly close, expect Brown to emerge victorious as the younger, faster fighter of the two. “Rude Boy” should connect on Zaleski dos Santos’ chin early in the fight and pick up his second straight knockout victory. 

Prelim Middleweight: Kopylov vs. Almeida

  • Moneyline: Kopylov (-102), Almeida (-118) 
  • Spread: Kopylov -3.5 (+135), Almeida +3.5 (-180)
  • Total Rounds: Over/Under 2.5 (+100/-130) 
  • Best Bet: Kopylov by KO/TKO/DQ (+200)

Kopylov looks to bounce back from his second-round submission loss to Anthony Hernandez at UFC 298. Prior to that setback, the 33-year-old had knocked out his last four opponents. 

Almeida had a successful UFC debut, knocking out Dylan Budka. While the 36-year-old only has five career MMA fights, he boasts a 47-8 kickboxing record, including a win over current UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira. 

It’s doubtful this fight will hit the mat. The slight edge should go to Kopylov due to his overall MMA experience and younger age. The Russian standout will find Almeida’s chin sometime in the second round for another knockout victory. 

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images