Islam Makhachev is happy to let Dustin Poirier have the bulk of the media attention, but the lightweight king intends to still be holding the belt after they meet on Saturday in the main event of UFC 302. Their five-round battle will top the main UFC 302 fight card starting at 10 p.m. ET from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Makhachev, No. 1 in the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings, took on a low-key demeanor this week while the media and fans swarmed Poirier, the iconic challenger who has said this could be his final fight after 31 appearances with the promotion. Makhachev also told the media he intends to send his opponent's fans home disappointed after he defends the lightweight belt for the third time. 

Makhachev is a -625 favorite (risk $625 to win $100), while Poirier is a +450 underdog in the latest UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier odds. In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Sean Strickland (-240) meets rugged brawler Paulo Costa (+200). Before locking in your picks for UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Daniel Vithlani.  

From breaking down film and following fighters and their camps closely, to tracking sharp action and betting market signals, Vithlani covers the breadth of the MMA betting landscape top to bottom. He also trains amateur boxers and speaks regularly with MMA fighters to understand the sport's nuances. 

Vithlani made his SportsLine debut in January 2023 and swept the main card for UFC 283 with a 5-0 record and has been a consistent winner ever since. Over the past 11 UFC pay-per-view events, Vithlani has gone 7-4 on main-event picks and his main-card selections in that span have netted his followers a profit of more than $1,200. 

His highlights include calling an upset for Sean O'Malley (+210) against Aljamain Sterling (-250) at UFC 292 as part of a 4-1 main card and his UFC 299 winners included underdog selections on Poirier (+190) against Saint Denis (-230) and Michael Page (+110) against Kevin Holland (-130). Anyone who has followed him has seen massive returns. 

Now, with UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier on deck, Vithlani has studied the card from top to bottom and released his top selections. You can only see those picks at SportsLine

UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier preview 

Makhachev (25-1) is currently No. 1 in the UFC's pound-for-pound fighter rankings. He hasn't lost in nearly nine years and brings a 13-fight winning streak into Saturday's UFC 302 main event. However, his star power thus far has been relatively limited for a fighter who appears to have the potential to be one of the promotion's more dominant champions in recent memory. 

This is in large part because Makhachev keeps a modest public profile, but also has presented a somewhat abrasive disposition toward fellow fighters and media. Even so, even his most ardent critics can't deny that Makhachev has earned his status as an elite UFC champion. 

The 32-year-old Dagestan native is a well-known prodigy of former undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is Makhachev's primary coach and mentor. 

Makhachev is a heavy favorite against Poirier (30-8-1), the 11-year UFC veteran who is one of the most popular fighters on the UFC roster. Poirier's extensive resume includes two knockout wins over Conor McGregor, two wins over former featherweight champion Max Holloway and a 1-1 split with Justin Gaethje. 

However, his two title challenges resulted in submission losses to Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. Even so, his comeback win against the highly regarded prospect Saint Denis, who closed as greater than a 2/1 favorite, showed that the 35-year-old Louisiana native is still among the UFC's elite. You can see more UFC 302 picks at SportsLine.

Top UFC 302 predictions 

We'll share one of Vithlani's UFC 302 selections here: He is picking Kevin Holland (-260) to get the better of Michal Oleksiejczuk (+210) in a battle of middleweight sluggers.

Holland (25-11-1) is a straight-ahead slugger and explosive athlete who has spent time in the middleweight (185 pounds) and welterweight (170 pounds) division. He has had more success at welterweight and holds the No. 15 ranking in that division, but told the media he agreed to step back up to middleweight, where has sometimes appeared undersized against his opponents. The 31-year-old is looking to snap a two-fight skid and is coming off a decision loss to former Bellator star Michael Page.

Oleksiejczuk is a former light heavyweight champion in the Thunder Fight League promotion who joined the UFC after compiling a nine-fight winning streak. The 29-year-old Polish fighter has shown po,tential in the UFC but has yet put together more than two consecutive victories. He's coming off a stoppage loss to rising contender Michel Pereira in March. You can see more UFC 302 picks at SportsLine.

How to make UFC 302 picks  

Vithlani also has strong picks for Makhachev vs. Poirier and other bouts on the UFC 302 card. He's also backing a fighter who "has a granite chin and lethal body kicks" to emerge with a dominant victory. Those picks and analysis are only available at SportsLine

Who wins UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC 302, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $1,500 on his UFC main-card picks, and find out. 

UFC 302 odds, fight card

See full UFC 302 picks, predictions, best bets here.
Islam Makhachev (-625) vs. Dustin Poirier (+450)
Sean Strickland (-240) vs. Paulo Costa (+200)
Kevin Holland (-260) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (+210)
Jailton Almeida (-260) vs. Alexandr Romanov (+210)
Randy Brown (-180) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (+155)
Cesar Almeida (-120) vs. Roman Kopylov (+100)
Grant Dawson (-400) vs. Joe Solecki (+310)
Jake Matthews (-160) vs. Philip Rowe (+135)
Alex Morono (-240) vs. Niko Price (+200)
Bassil Hafez (-330) vs. Mickey Gall (+260)
Ailin Perez (-200) vs. Joselyne Edwards (+170)
Andre Lima (-250) vs. Mitch Raposo (+205)