Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier And Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa Front UFC 302 Line-Up

last night Dana White revealed two massive fights that will top the bill at UFC 302 in Newark, New Jersey on June 1st, with lightweight champion Islam Makhachev set to the defend the belt against Dustin Poirier, while former middleweight champion Sean Strickland will go up against Paulo Costa in the co-main event.

Makhachev had previously signalled his interest in fighting Poirier next after watching the star stage an impressive knockout victory over rising star Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299.

There had been other options on the table for Makhachev heading into UFC 300, having also been keen on fighting Justin Gaethje, though that option was completely wiped off the board when he was KO’d by Max Holloway in their BMF title fight on the card. Meanwhile, the winner of another UFC 300 main card bout between Arman Tsarukyan and Charles Oliveira had been touted as a potential No.1 contender bout, but Tsarukyan out-wrestling Oliveira to a split-decision win seemingly wasn’t enough to seal the deal.

The 32-year-old Makhachev is currently riding a 13-fight winning streak in the UFC, including his title-winning submission victory over Charles Oliveira in 2022 and subsequent back-to-back title defenses over ex-featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski, the latter of which he ended by 1st round KO in October of last year.

Meanwhile, White also confirmed that a previously rumored fight between Strickland and Costa at middleweight is also booked for the show.

Strickland infamously shocked the world when he beat Israel Adesanya on the scorecards at UFC 293 last year to win the middleweight title, but he’d then go on to lose it by split-decision against Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297 back in January.

The 33-year-old Strickland had been calling for an immediate rematch and also initially turned down the fight with Costa instead due to being unhappy with his pay, but that matter has since been resolved, paving the way for the match-up to be made.

The 32-year-old Costa is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker in February, marking his third loss in his last four fights, though he is still ranked No.7 in the division.

Makhachev vs. Poirier and Strickland vs. Costa join a UFC 302 card that will also include Jailton Almeida vs. Alexandr Romanov and Roman Dolidze vs. Anthony Hernandez.

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