UFC 302 predictions & odds

Here's how we think each of the fights on UFC 302 will play out.

The UFC will return to Newark, New Jersey in June with another pay-per-view card headlined by lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and longtime contender Dustin Poirier.

In his third shot at undisputed gold, Poirier has openly mentioned his approach to the fight as his last chance to become a UFC champion. In his previous two attempts, Poirier had success, but was submitted on both occasions by defending champions Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.

Makhachev has been the 155-pound king since submitting Oliveira at UFC 280 and has since risen to becoming the pound-for-pound no. 1 fighter in the world. However, the Dagestani has yet to defend his title against a ranked lightweight contender with his two previous defenses being against former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

In the co-main event, fan favorites Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa return with a potential middleweight title shot on the line for the winner. Strickland, the former champion, is making his return to the Octagon for the first time since losing his belt at UFC 297.

The first fight of the night is scheduled to kick off the early prelims at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT from the Prudential Center streaming on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass. The prelims will begin at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ESPN+ and ESPN2. The main card will begin at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT exclusively on ESPN+ PPV.

Before the fights begin, view our predictions for each fight on the UFC 302 fight card below.

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Andre Lima (-218) vs. Mitch Raposo (+180) prediction

Just two months after the infamous biting incident, Lima will return in a favorable matchup with Raposo, who is coming in on one week's notice. Raposo has twice before failed in attempts to break into the UFC, losing on both TUF and DWCS. Lima is far from polished and this could be a competitive fight on a full camp but one week is not enough for Raposo in this matchup.

Prediction: Lima by decision

Ailin Perez (-198) vs. Joselyne Edwards (+164) prediction

There is bad blood in this fight and the matchup could end up being a lot closer than the odds suggest. With contrasting styles, Perez will look for takedowns as Edwards will look to strike and the size of the underdog may be a factor, with the 28-year-old being three inches taller with a four-inch reach advantage. In her UFC career, Perez has only completed 50 percent of her attempted takedowns while Edwards has defended 64 percent of such attempts.

Prediction: Edwards by decision

Mickey Gall (+260) vs. Bassil Hafez (-325) prediction

In a fight between two grapplers, the outcome may be determined by which fighter has the better striking. In recent outings, Gall has been content to strike rather than shoot takedowns to his detriment, as he has lost three of his last four. If Gall brings the same approach as he did against Mike Malott, it could be an early night, as Hafez is a much better striker than he lets on. Fighting Jack Della Maddalena on short notice does not give an accurate outlook on his true potential but Hafez's size and strength should also be enough to neutralize the slick grappling of Gall.

Prediction: Hafez by decision

Alex Morono (-238) vs. Niko Price (+195) prediction

Despite winning this exact fight in 2017, Price comes in as a big underdog, largely due to having just one win in his last six fights. Price's chin will certainly be a question mark after just getting put out by 42-year-old Robbie Lawler but in his previous fight, he was beating Phil Rowe before getting finished in the third round. Morono does not carry the same power as Lawler or Rowe and while he will have to survive the relentless onslaught of Price, he is still the more technical striker and was winning their first fight up until the knockout.

Prediction: Morono by decision

Phil Rowe (+136) vs. Jake Matthews (-162) prediction

Rowe is coming off a close loss to Neil Magny and while Matthews tends to lose to fighters near the top 15, this matchup is different for him. Despite having a height and reach advantage over nearly everyone, Rowe is not as potent at distance management and has been hit a lot in his career, getting dropped three times in his six UFC fights, including DWCS. While Rowe heavily relies on his power, winning 60 percent of his fights by knockout, Matthews has only been knocked out once in his career by Kevin Lee.

Prediction: Matthews by decision

Grant Dawson (-410) vs. Joe Solecki (+320) prediction

The lasting image of Dawson flat on his back at UFC Vegas 80 does not seem to have an affect on bettors, who have consistently placed money on the 30-year-old since the line's opening. Regardless of the loss to Green, this is a considerable step back in competition for Dawson, who had previously ended the undefeated run of Mark Madsen and took out top contender Damir Ismagulov. The two losses of Dawson's career have both been by knockout and Solecki has never knocked down or knocked out any opponent in his career.

Prediction: Dawson by decision

Cesar Almeida (-118) vs. Roman Kopylov (-102) prediction

If there is one fight most likely to produce a knockout, it will be the featured prelim. There is a chance Kopylov chooses to wrestle the largely unproven Almeida, but that is not his cup of tea. Both of these fighters have scored a knockout in all but one of their respective wins while having the same weakness in their grappling. All signs point to the two having a glorified kickboxing fight in the Octagon, with the edge going to the former two-division world champion.

Prediction: Almeida by KO/TKO in round two

Randy Brown (-175) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (+145) prediction

As one of the most underrated welterweights in the UFC, Brown has been on a roll recently, winning eight of his last 10 fights. Zaleski is always a tough test for up-and-comers but Brown's last fight with Muslim Salikhov almost perfectly sets himself up for this matchup. Zaleski, now 37, has shown slight signs of aging in recent performances and will have to deal with the five-inch reach advantage of Brown, who has taken leaps in weaponizing his size and length.

Prediction: Brown by submission in round three

Jailton Almeida (-270) vs. Alexandr Romanov (+220) prediction

Once upon a time, this matchup would have ignited endless excitement but now, it feels as if both men desperately need a win to keep their careers alive. With two similar styles, the fight will essentially come down to which man can implement their grappling first and Romanov, despite showing elite potential as a "hammer" in the past, has also been proven capable of wilting once he is the "nail." With just a 20 percent takedown defense and showing little to no bottom game grappling defense, Romanov will be a sitting duck if Almeida can take him down even just once.

Prediction: Almeida by KO/TKO in round one

Kevin Holland (-265) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (+215) prediction

Holland has spent the last two years as a welterweight but will still be the taller fighter with a massive seven-inch reach advantage. Oleksiejcuk always brings a knockout threat but in 37 professional fights, Holland has only been "knocked out" once in a doctor stoppage loss. Holland has finished two of his last three wins by submission while Oleksiejczuk has suffered over 70 percent of his losses by tap out.

Prediction: Holland by submission in round two

Sean Strickland (-245) vs. Paulo Costa (+200) prediction

Fighting twice in a single calendar year for the first time since 2017, Costa is just 1-3 in his last four fights. The battle within the fight will be Costa's power against Strickland's volume and pressure and though he has not recorded a knockout since 2018, the former title challenger has landed big at least once in each of his last three. Given the improvements Costa showed against Robert Whittaker, this fight should be lined slightly closer than it currently is.

Prediction: Costa by KO/TKO in round three

Islam Makhachev (-675) vs. Dustin Poirier (+490) prediction

Fans will want to back Poirier in this matchup but unfortunately for the former interim champion, this is as tough of a matchup as he could receive in the division. A lot has been made of Makhachev's knockout loss to Adriano Martins and the knockdown he suffered against Alexander Volkanovski, but in his career, those are the only two moments he has been in trouble. The champion is still the same fighter with a historically high 61 percent striking defense and has never been submitted.

Poirier received a lot of praise for his recent win over Benoit Saint-Denis but in that matchup, he was still taken down three times with relative ease. Two fights before, he was also taken down three times by Michael Chandler. It would be an incredible feel-good story if Poirier could pull off the win but there is a legitimate argument that Makhachev will be the best all-around fighter he will be facing in his career. On Sunday, many may be arguing that Makhachev is better than his predecessor, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Prediction: Makhachev by submission in round two

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.