UFC 302 Preview

Published on 31 May 2024 at 20:00

The Prudential Center is back, hosting another UFC PPV event which will get the New Jersey fight fans hyped up for some anticipating fights. In the headliner, Islam Makhachev will defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against the #4 contender, Dustin Poirier. The Co-Main Event will witness a five-round non-title fight between #1 Middleweight contender, Sean Strickland, and the #7 contender, Paulo Costa. Here is everything you need to know before UFC 302 kicks off.

early prelims

Mitch Raposo vs Andre Lima (UFC Flyweight Bout) - Raposo makes his UFC debut in Newark as he looks continue his four-fight winning streak in convincing fashion after stopping his last three opponents by KO/TKO. The Massachusetts-born fighter has only lost one fight which occurred on Dana White's Contender Series (DWCS) as he lost by second-round submission and was denied a contract in the UFC. He will make sure to stay in the organisation with a win on Saturday night.

Lima's last fight was on his UFC debut when he surprisingly won by disqualification after being bitten on the arm against Igor Severino at UFC Vegas 89. Mascote is currently undefeated and unlike Raposo, he entered into the organisation with a UFC contract after winning by unanimous decision on DWCS. Lima will aim to get his first proper win in the UFC and put the Flyweight division on notice.


Ailin Perez vs Joselyne Edwards (UFC Women's Bantamweight Bout) - Perez fought twice last year and was successful both times, winning by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 77 and UFC Vegas 82. Out of 11 MMA fights, Fiona has only lost twice in her career with a disqualification loss at Samurai Fight House 2 and a submission loss at UFC Paris. Perez will try to increase her winning streak and impress the New Jersey crowd.

Edwards has had seven fights in the UFC since her debut back in 2021, winning four by decision, two split and two unanimous, and three losses by unanimous decision. El Pantera did earn plenty of stoppage wins before entering the UFC, earning five KO/TKO wins and three submission victories. After losing her last fight at UFC Paris, Edwards is looking for redemption.


Mickey Gall vs Bassil Hafez (UFC Welterweight Bout) - Gall fights in front of his home state as he looks to redeem a two-fight losing streak he is currently on heading into UFC 302. The Green Brook Township-born mixed martial artist made his UFC debut on his second professional MMA fight as he would go on a three-fight submission winning streak before having no consistency on his MMA history. Gall has not fought in over two years as he looks to return with a bang in the Welterweight division.

Hafez made his UFC debut last year at UFC Vegas 77 where he would suffer a split decision loss to current Welterweight contender, Jack Della Maddalena, despite many of the MMA community believing he had won the battle. Out of his eight wins, The Habibi has only won once by knockout but has earned four submission wins in his career. A win for Hafez could see him close the distance from the Welterweight rankings after he came close in his previous bout. 


Preliminary Card

Philip Rowe vs Jake Matthews (UFC Welterweight Bout) - Rowe last fought at UFC Jacksonville where he would suffer a split decision loss to Neil Magny, stopping his three-fight knockout winning streak. Every opponent that The Fresh Prince has faced, he has finished by knockout or submission as he does not like to go the distance. If Rowe is victorious, it could see him marching back towards the Welterweight rankings.

Matthews fought twice last year, earning a second-round submission win against Darrius Flowers at UFC 291 before losing by unanimous decision to Michael Moraes at UFC Vegas 82. The Celtic Kid has fought with the UFC since June 2014 as he has had plenty of experience in the company and continues to prove why he is a veteran of the organisation. Matthews will aim to get back in the win column and make it his 20th win in his MMA career.


Grant Dawson vs Joe Solecki (UFC Lightweight Bout) - Dawson last fought as a headliner at UFC Vegas 80, heading into the fight against Bobby Green as a heavy favourite but would get knocked out in the first round in just 33 seconds. Before his dooming loss, KGD was on a 12-fight unbeaten streak, defeating the majority of his opponents by submission. After an unfortunate event in his last bout, Dawson will be looking to earn some respect back and prove he can still be a contender in the Lightweight division.

Solecki fought twice in 2023, earning a second-round submission win against Carl Deaton at UFC Vegas 70 but would be on the receiving end of a first-round slam knockout against Drakkar Klose at UFC Austin. The New Jersey fighter has won most of his fights by submission with two occurring in the UFC and six happening outside the organisation. A victory against Dawson could put Solecki back on the map as a dangerous opponent with a slight opportunity of being a Lightweight contender.


Jailton Almeida vs Alexander Romanov (UFC Heavyweight Bout) - Almeida last fought at UFC 299 where he would suffer his first loss in 15 fights after feeling the wrath of Curtis Blaydes and losing by second-round TKO. Malhadinho is not one to leave it to the judges scorecards as out his 20 triumphs in MMA, seven have ended by KO/TKO and 12 have ended by submission. The #7 Heavyweight contender is looking to get back on track and find a way to get back near the top of the rankings.

Romanov had two fights in 2023, losing the first one by first-round TKO against Alexander Volkov at UFC Paradise but would redeem himself with a unanimous decision win over Biagoy Ivanov at UFC Vegas 76. Like Almeida, King Kong does not like to go the distance as he has earned 15 stoppage wins out of 17 victories on his MMA record. The #13 Heavyweight contender has a marvellous opportunity to boost up the rankings and earn the biggest win of his career.


Cesar Almeida vs Roman Kopylov (UFC Middleweight Bout) - Almeida earned his fourth knockout win on his UFC debut after defeating Dylan Budka at UFC Vegas 90. Cesinha is undefeated with only five wins in his MMA career as he made his way into the UFC after earning a contract from DWCS, winning by unanimous decision against Lucas Fernando. The Brazilian looks to increase his triumph on his MMA record and become and eye-catching prospect in the Middleweight division.

Kopylov last fought at UFC 298 where he missed his opportunity to become a Middleweight contender, losing to Alexander Hernandez by second-round submission. The Russian looked like a big threat last year when he fought three times and defeated all of his opponents by second-round knockout as out of 12 wins in MMA, he has won 11 by KO/TKO. Kopylov has a chance of redemption as he could be the first fighter to defeat Almeida and get back in the win column so he can have another crack at entering the Middleweight rankings.


Main Card

Randy Brown vs Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (UFC Welterweight Bout) - Brown last fought at UFC Vegas 85 where he secured a first-round knockout victory over Muslim Salikhov. Rudeboy has fought in the UFC since January 2016 and has always been a challenging opponent for many, winning seven of his 18 victories by KO/TKO and five by submission. With Brown currently on a two-fight winning streak, he will look to keep the good form rolling as he looks to be a step closer to the Welterweight rankings.

Zaleski dos Santos last fought at UFC Sao Paulo where he could only earn a majority draw against former Welterweight contender, Rinat Fakhretdinov. Capoeira prefers to end a fight by knockout at 14 of his 24 victories have ended by KO/TKO. Currently unbeaten in his last three fights, the Brazilian will look to extend this streak as he has a chance of being a Welterweight contender, especially with a stoppage win at the Prudential Center.


Niko Price vs Alex Morono (UFC Welterweight Bout) - Price became Robbie Lawler's last victim in the UFC when suffered a 38-second knockout loss to the former Welterweight Champion at UFC 290. Despite only winning three of his last 10 fights, The Hybrid always tries to get the toughest competition when possible and always finish a fight as out of 15 wins, 10 have ended by KO/TKO and three have been stopped by submission. Price needs some much-needed redemption in Newark and against another experienced fighter like Morono, he may soon get back on track.

Morono recently fought at UFC Vegas 90 where he would earn some redemption with an unanimous decision win over Court McGee. The Great White is seen just as dangerous on his feet as well as on the ground, earning six triumphs by KO/TKO and seven victories by submission as he is an unpredictable fighter. Now that he is back on the win column, Morono has the ultimate opportunity to begin a winning streak and aim his sights closer to the Welterweight rankings.


Kevin Holland vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (UFC Middleweight Bout) - Holland has been unsuccessful in his last two fights, losing by split decision to Jack Della Maddalena at Noche UFC as well as an unanimous decision loss to UFC debutant, Michael Page, at UFC 299. Trailblazer is always active and ready to fight as he has fought at least three times or more in the last eight years which has allowed him to be such aa warrior in the MMA community. The #15 Welterweight contender fights in the Middleweight division for the first time since October 2021 as he aims to get back in the win column.

Oleksiejczuk last fought at UFC 299 when he suffered a horrific loss to Michel Pereira, losing by first-round submission in just over one minute. Hussar has proven to be a knockout artist in MMA with 14 of his 19 victories ending by KO/TKO. The Polish International looks to step up and redeem himself from his previous loss as he wants to edge closer to the Middleweight rankings.


Sean Strickland vs Paulo Costa (UFC Middleweight Bout) - Strickland last fought at UFC 297 as he did not successfully defend his UFC Middleweight title, losing by split decision to Dricus Du Plessis. The #1 Middleweight contender earned a clean sweep of victories in 2023 as he defeated; Nassourdine Imavov by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 67, Abus Magomedov by second-round TKO at UFC Vegas 76, and Israel Adesanya by unanimous decision at UFC 293. With the chance to earn redemption and get back in title contention, Strickland will aim to beat Costa convincingly and put a show on for the New Jersey crowd.

Costa saw his first bout in 18 months when he faced former UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker, at UFC 298, losing by unanimous decision. The Eraser has not been great on paper recently, losing three of his last four fights which includes a title loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253. The #7 Middleweight contender has a big opportunity to enter the top spot in the rankings and most likely guarantee himself a title fight in the future if he is triumphant at UFC 302.


Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier (UFC Lightweight Title Bout) - Makhachev defended his UFC Lightweight title twice last year, both times were against Alexander Volkanovski as he would win the first bout by unanimous decision at UFC 284, before earning a first-round knockout against the former UFC Featherweight Champion at UFC 294. Makhachev has looked unstoppable, especially since 2021 as he has stopped all six of his opponents in seven bouts. Currently on a 13-fight winning streak, the Lightweight Champion aims to be tied for the most title wins in UFC Lightweight history.

Poirier thoroughly redeemed himself in Miami when he knocked out Benoit Saint-Denis in the second round at UFC 299, gradually tearing away his knockout loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 291. The Diamond's last four victorious bouts have ended with a stoppage, three by KO/TKO and one by submission. The #4 Lightweight contender could have his last shot at undisputed UFC gold, losing a title fight by third-round submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 and Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 as he looks to complete the ultimate Rocky story.


Will Makhachev remain the Lightweight Champion or will Poirier finally become undisputed? What are your predictions for UFC 302?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram: undisputed._.mma

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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