UFC 302 predictions and betting tips

I'm delighted to announce we are now covering UFC previews and betting tips on MFT!

Most of you will probably know me from the racing section as I'm the headline tipster on that side of things. I've had a passion for UFC for years and it's great to finally offer previews and betting tips for it as well, as the sport continues to grow year upon year.

I'll not be covering UFC every Saturday, but I will do my best to update the thread for the bigger cards that are normally on two to three Saturdays a month. With no further ado, here's my call for some of the fights on this weekend's UFC 302 card which you will find below.

Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier: Submission on the cards?

The main event at UFC 302 sees Islam Makhachev defend his title against Dustin Poirier.

This contest will be Dustin's third attempt of grasping UFC gold, and a failed attempt would probably see the American retire from the sport, with Poirier having already hinted recently that he will possibly end his career if this fight ends in defeat.

Dustin Poirier is the superior striker, and landing clean is probably his only chance in this fight of taking the title. Poirier comes into this fight with an MMA record of 30-8 and he is 23-8 in the UFC. He is averaging 5.45 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 51%.

Makhachev's ability to strike tends to go unnoticed, and he, too, is handy when going toe to toe. Makhachev comes into this fight with an MMA record of 25-1 and 14-1 in the UFC. He is averaging 2.46 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 60%.

This fight is sure to go to the ground, with Islam having the upper hand in the grappling department. Islam averages 3.17 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 1.0 submission attempts during the same period. His takedown accuracy is 60%, and his takedown defence is 90%.

I'm a huge fan of Dustin and I'd love nothing more than to see ‘The Diamond' walk out of the octagon with gold around his waist, but he has a massive task ahead. The longer it goes on, the more chance Islam has of taking the fight to the ground and winning via submission.

  • Advised bets: Islam Makhachev to win via submission – 20/21 @ Bet365

Makhachev v Poirier tale of the tape

Jailton Almeida vs Alexandr Romanov: Grapple weakness exposed?

The second fight on the Main Card at UFC 302 will see Jailton Almeida take on Alexandr Romanov. This will be a fight in the UFC Heavyweight division.

I'm looking forward to this fight and fully expect Jailton Almeida to come out on top. Almeida has an impressive MMA record of 20-3 and 7-1 in the UFC.

It's hard to look past Almeida in this fight, as he's an elite grappler who averages just under 7.0 takedowns per every 15 min, while his striking is also to a good level, averaging 2.54 significant strikes per minute with a 64% striking accuracy. Almeida is a hard man to take to the ground too, which is proven in a takedown defence rate that currently stands at 75%.

Alexandr Romanov won't be an easy pushover in this contest. Romanov comes into this fight with an MMA record of 17-2, 6-2 in the UFC. He is averaging 4.06 significant strikes per minute. Romanov is also a decent grappler, averaging 4.32 takedowns per every 15 minutes.

His resistance against being grappled or thrown to the floor isn't on the same level as Almeida though, and with Romanov currently operating at a takedown defence rate of just 20$, I expect Almedia to take this fight to the ground and use his superior ground game to submit Romanov.

Advised bets:

  • Almeida to win by submission – 11/8 @ Bet365
  • Over 1.5 Rounds – 5/6 @ Bet365

Sean Strickland vs Paulo Costa: Going the distance

With no immediate rematch on the cards after an unsuccessful title defence against Dricus du Plessis, Strickland has to settle for a co-main event spot against Paulo Costa. Strickland tends to be a slow starter in his fights and may take some time to find his rhythm, but when he starts to play off that strong jab, he's one of the most dangerous in the division.

Notably, Strickland is averaging 5.91 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 41%. He is absorbing 4.33 strikes and has a striking defence of 62%. Yet, Costa is undoubtedly the more powerful striker of the two, and if he catches Strickland clean it could change the whole outlook on the fight.

Costa is averaging 6.20 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 58%. I'll be surprised if this fight goes to the ground, especially when you take into account the average takedown attempts per 15 minutes on each fighter. Strickland currently averages 0.85 takedowns per every 15 minutes with a 77% take-down defence.

Costa has a similar record with 0.45 takedowns every 15 minutes and an 80% takedown defence.

I think there is a good chance that this fight will go the distance, which I feel will benefit Strickland more than Costa. Strickland tends to be busy and has a high output of activity in his fights, no more so than when playing off the jab, which is his biggest asset.

Advised bets: Strickland to win via decision – 7/4 @ Bet365

  1. JGWulvo 3 weeks ago

    Solid picks mate! Agree with all except I feel Almeida might KO/TKO Romanov, best of luck! :)

  2. cairnzy1878 3 weeks ago

    It was a toss of a coin between the KO and Submission in the Almeida fight. I just thought the fight would be more on the ground than on the feet but only time will tell.

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