Islam Makhachev betting favorite to remain champion all year amid links to summer fight with Dustin Poirier

Islam Makhachev backed to retire in two years by Daniel Cormier uFC

Amid links to a stunning June title fight with former interim champion, Dustin Poirier in a return to the Octagon – undisputed divisional champion, Islam Makhachev remains a distinct betting favorite to hold the crown on December 31. this year – in an important annum for the Russian.

Makhachev, the current pound-for-pound number one fighter on the promotion’s books, most recently secured his second successful defense of the undisputed title back in October, definitively ending his rivalry with Alexander Volkanovski with a stunning high-kick knockout win.

And as for Lafayette native, Poirier, the number three ranked contender has staked his claim for a shot at Islam Makhachev next, fresh off the back of a second round KO win over Nimes native, Benoit Saint Denis earlier this month.

Islam Makhachev betting favorite to hold gold come December 31.

With the chasing pack hot on the heels of American Kickboxing Academy, fans can find the best bet news with Makhachev currently a -300 betting favorite to hold the lightweight title at the end of the year..

Sitting just behind Islam Makhachev in the pecking order to hold gold come the end of the year, a former foe of the Russian, incoming UFC 300 main card feature, Arman Tsarukyan is closing lines as a +250 compared to the current champion.

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And as for Poirier, likely attempting to snatch undisputed gold for the final time in his Octagon tenure, the former interim champion is a +350 betting underdog – sat level with former champion – another UFC 300 feature, Charles Oliveira

Interestingly, despite his stunning knockout loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 291 last July in the pair’s symbolic BMF championship rematch, Poirier is still shorter in odds to hold lightweight gold at the end of the year, compared to the Arizona native who is a +500 underdog. 

Islam Makhachev backed to retire from the UFC by end of next year he's cleared out 155 pounds
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Himself also expected to return in June – this time at the end of the month, Conor McGregor – a former undisputed lightweight champion back in 2016, is a massive +3,500 betting underdog to hold gold at the end of the year. 

Expected to draw former title chaser, Michael Chandler, former two-division champion, McGregor is without a win since a 2020 knockout of Donald Cerrone, and is forced to snap a two-fight losing skid for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career. 

The joint unlikeliest champion come the end of the year according to the latest odds comes in the form of a former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson – who is riding a +100,000 betting underdog line, alongside Claudio Puelles, amid his record-setting seven-fight losing run. 

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Revealing he turned down a massive UFC 300 title fight with Leon Edwards at the welterweight limit first, the above-mentioned, Makhachev is currently a +500 betting underdog to hold gold a division higher come the end of December this year – if fans are interested in punting on the Russian once more. 

The above-mentioned, Volkanovski may have just lost his featherweight title to Ilia Topuria last month in California, however, maintains his run at lightweight is far from over. And fans looking to wager on the Australian finally minting himself as the 155 pound gold holder, can find him at odds of a +10,000 betting underdog. 

Islam Makhachev sidelined through the summer amid injury from UFC
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

With his odds so short at the welterweight limit, Islam Makhachev lands above the likes of Ian Machado Garry, Sean Brady, Kamaru Usman, Khamzat Chimaev, and new star, Michael ‘Venom’ Page to name a few – leaving him behind just Belal Muhammad, Shavkat Rakhmonov, and the aforenoted, Edwards in the pile. 

Weighing up his chances of fighting Russian star, Islam Makhachev in the future in a potential lightweight leap, newly-minted featherweight best, Topuria has yet to earn odds at 155 pounds to hold gold come the end of the year, however, can be wager on as a -160 betting favorite to retain spoils at the featherweight limit currently.

Of note, outside the duo of Khamzat Chimaev at middleweight, and incoming Octagon debutante, Kayla Harrison at the bantamweight limit, Islam Makhachev joins his fellow championship earning peers as the current respective betting favorites hold UFC gold in their current divisions come the end of the annum. 

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And expected to take on Louisianan striker, Poirier this summer in a return to the Octagon, Islam Makhachev boldly claimed that if the former was ever going to land spoils, he would have already done so before his reign – leading to a strict response from the former interim gold holder

Dustin Poirier reacts to Islam Makhachev's title fight call joke I've done more in the sport than him
Mandatory Credit: Megan Briggs

“If I could pick a fight, the title fight is my choice, that’s what I want,” Dustin Poirier saif. “I mean, that’s on him (Islam Makhachev) – I’ve done more in the sport of mixed martial arts than he has. I’ve been around a long time, I’ve been doing this before it was cool. And, you know, I’m still here – I’m still here doing it at the highest level. I can beat anybody in the world, and I hope he’s next.”