Alexander Volkanovski picks Islam Makhachev to finish Dustin Poirier at UFC 302: ‘It’s gonna be a submission’

Alexander Volkanovski picks Islam Makhachev to submit Dustin Poirier at UFC 302

Former UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski wouldn’t be surprised if Dustin Poirier caught Islam Makhachev and knocked him out at UFC 302.

Poirier is set to face Makhachev for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 302 in Newark, New Jersey on June 1. Heading into the fight, Poirier is a sizeable underdog, but Volkanovski, who fought Makhachev twice, thinks the champ fights safe, which could allow Poirier the chance to catch the champ.

Dustin Poirier vows to knock out Islam Makhachev at UFC 302 the ref's gonna be pulling me off of him
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

“Islam’s gonna be too good,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “I think he’s too safe of a fighter to make mistakes where he’s gonna get caught against someone like Dustin Poirier. Dustin Poirier is a great fighter. I just think it’s a hard fight for anybody and I don’t see anyone beating Islam for a while. Unless they catch him, right?”

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Makhachev’s lone career loss is by knockout, while Poirier has won 15 times by knockout, so KO’ing the champ isn’t out of the question.

Alexander Volkanovski explains how Dustin Poirier could catch Islam Makhachev

Although Dustin Poirier is a big underdog heading into UFC 302, Alexander Volkanovski says Islam Makhachev’s style does play into Poirier.

Islam Makhachev backed to retire in two years by Daniel Cormier uFC
Mandatory Credit: Giuseppe Cacace

Volkanovski believes the way Makhachev sets up his takedowns could allow Dustin Poirier to land an uppercut or knee which could hurt the champ.

“He doesn’t like to come in straight when he feels in danger,” Volkanovski said of Makhachev. “He’ll make sure he’s off center. His head is off line and then he gets himself back into a better posture as he’s taking you down. Khabib was like this as well. The posture is not right, but he’s doing this to keep his head off center and not in the firing line, and he still does a great takedown from there.

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Alexander Volkanovski calls for UFC 300 title rematch with Islam Makhachev that makes sense

“But now he’s gonna be doing that with a southpaw fighter. So you dip, you’re gonna be a lot more comfortable shooting. So if someone pressures you and gets you off guard, or your instinct reaction is to shoot, most of the time you’re shooting against orthodox fighters, your head’s gonna dip to that side. Now you’re dipping to the power side of Poirier because he’s southpaw. Power side uppercuts, power side kicks, power side knees,” Volkanovski added.

If Poirier does KO Makhachev it would be one of the biggest upsets in recent UFC history.