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MX News Update 2024

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Benoit Saint Denis: Islam Makhachev favorite at UFC 302, but ‘nobody can’t give Dustin Poirier a chance’

Benoit Saint Denis says you can’t completely rule out Dustin Poirier’s chances of beating Islam Makhachev.

Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) challenges Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) for the lightweight title in the UFC 302 headliner on June 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ

Poirier closed as an underdog when he knocked out Saint Denis (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) to earn a shot at Makhachev. The odds are once again stacked against him when he takes on the UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, but Saint Denis believes ‘The Diamond’ has the skills to pull off an upset.

“He’s precise, he’s well-rounded, he’s composed,” Saint Denis told MMA Junkie of Poirier. “He can weather the storm, a lot of experience, tough guy. No one can give Poirier any chance of winning a fight in the lightweight division. Of course, Makhachev is well-rounded. He will be well prepared. I know what kind of plan Makhachev will have against Poirier.

“It is very clear. He will try to follow the steps of (Nurmagomedov) or those of Charles Oliveira, because it seems the easiest path to victory against Poirier, but Poirier will work on that too. He is also well rounded and it will be a great fight. He can do it, but the favorite is of course the champion.”

Poirier was not the initial choice for Makhachev’s next title defense, but after Arman Tsarukyan turned down a short-notice opportunity, Poirier received the call.

Saint Denis is not surprised that Poirier is the one.

“Not at all,” said Saint Denis. “It’s all a matter of calendars. When you look at who’s booked and who’s not and who’s been through who, the age, the placement of these guys, the grind, it’s not something undeserved. A lot of guys deserve the title shot, but this time it was him. He did a great job, so well deserved.”

For more information on the cards, visit MMA Junkie’s events hub for UFC 302.

The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie