UFC 302: Makhachev Reigns Supreme, Veterans Clash in Newark

the UFC returned to Newark, New Jersey, for a stacked fight card headlined by a lightweight championship clash. Islam Makhachev faced off against Dustin Poirier, with the lightweight title on the line. The night delivered a mix of dominant performances, exciting comebacks, and a potential changing of the guard in some divisions. Let’s break down the winners and losers from UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier.

Main Event: Makhachev Makes His Case as the New Lightweight King

The main event lived up to the hype, with both fighters showcasing their strengths. Dustin Poirier displayed impressive boxing and resilience, but ultimately, it was Islam Makhachev’s relentless wrestling and suffocating ground control that secured him the victory in the fifth round. With this win, Makhachev extends his win streak to 11 fights and cements his position as the new king of the lightweight division.

  • Winner: Islam Makhachev (submission, D’Arce choke, round 5)
  • Loser: Dustin Poirier (championship aspirations on hold)

Co-Main Event: Brown Edges Out Zaleski dos Santos in a Technical War

The welterweight co-main event was a back-and-forth brawl between veterans Randy Brown and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. Brown used his movement and sharp striking to control the first round, while Zaleski dos Santos found success with his powerful boxing in the second. The fight remained close throughout, with Brown securing a razor-thin decision victory.

  • Winner: Randy Brown (unanimous decision)
  • Loser: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (losing streak reaches two)

Other Notable Fights:

  • Jailton Almeida Upsets the Upset Favorite: Heavyweight prospect Jailton Almeida pulled off a stunning first-round submission victory over the highly-touted Alexandr Romanov. This win could propel Almeida into the heavyweight rankings.
  • Grant Dawson Dominates Joe Solecki: Lightweight prospect Grant Dawson continued his rise with a dominant three-round decision win over Joe Solecki. Dawson’s well-rounded skillset could make him a future contender in the lightweight division.
  • Veterans Trade Wins and Losses: The night also featured several exciting matchups between experienced fighters. Niko Price edged out Alex Morono in a close decision, while Roman Kopylov emerged victorious in a split decision battle against Cesar Almeida. These fights showcased the depth and experience of the UFC roster.

Losers Beyond the Octagon: Injuries and Retirement Talk

Unfortunately, the night wasn’t without its setbacks. Dustin Poirier seemed to go unconscious momentarily after tapping out to Makhachev’s submission. While he recovered quickly, it raises concerns about his future in the sport. Additionally, Poirier hinted at retirement in his post-fight interview, suggesting a potential changing of the guard in the lightweight division.

Overall: A Night of Domination, Upsets, and Intrigue

UFC 302 delivered a mix of dominant performances, exciting comebacks, and potential future stars. Islam Makhachev’s victory established him as the new force in the lightweight division, while Jailton Almeida’s upset win and Grant Dawson’s continued dominance suggest exciting prospects on the horizon. The veterans also provided their share of entertainment, with close fights and battles of experience. While injuries and retirement talk cast a bit of a shadow, UFC 302 provided a glimpse into the ever-evolving landscape of the UFC.

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