Islam Makhachev raising his handd in victory with the referee and Dustin Poirier in the octagon at UFC 302.

Controversial UFC 302 Review and Reactions

Join the Ringside Report crew for an electrifying UFC 302 review. Dive into fight breakdowns, expert analysis, and lively audience interaction. Tune in for our weekly MMA broadcasts and be part of the action!

The Ringside Report MMA crew gathered for another electrifying live watch-along, this time for UFC 302, headlined by the highly anticipated lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev. Hosted by Dave Simon, AJ D’Alesio, and Fred Garcia, the broadcast was filled with lively banter, expert analysis, and audience interaction. Here’s a breakdown of the night’s key moments and fights.

Dustin Poirier vs. Islam Makhachev

The night’s main event was the clash between Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev. The hosts had their predictions set well before the event.

Pre-fight Analysis

AJ D’Alesio kicked things off with an energetic introduction, “It’s the UFC 302 watch-along. Poirier versus Makhachev. Let’s do it.” The excitement was palpable as the crew shared their thoughts on the fighters. AJ firmly stated, “I think Poirier can do it, man. Islam got knocked out in 2015; he’s been there before.” Dave Simon echoed similar sentiments, believing in Poirier’s knockout power, “I think he’s going to take it. I think he’s going to knock out Islam Makhachev.”

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Islam Makhachev Raising His Handd In Victory With The Referee And Dustin Poirier In The Octagon At Ufc 302.
Islam Makhachev is triumphant in his title defence vs Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.

Fight Breakdown

As the fight progressed, both fighters gave their all. AJ highlighted a potential issue with Makhachev’s health: “When you start having issues with staph infection and antibiotics, that takes a toll on you. That’s why he looked a little jaundice to me.” The hosts speculated on Makhachev’s condition, noting it could significantly impact his performance.

Despite these concerns, Makhachev’s performance was resilient, but Poirier’s striking was what the hosts focused on. The audience was engaged, with many like Antoinette betting on Poirier based on the crew’s advice, adding to the night’s tension.

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Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

One of the standout fights of the evening was between Randy Brown and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. With its back-and-forth action, this bout had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Round-by-Round Recap

Round 1: Dominance by Randy Brown

The first round saw Randy Brown taking control with his reach and striking. Dave Simon described Brown as “a tall, lanky fighter at 170 pounds, using his reach advantage well.” AJ added, “Brown is just picking away at him. Those jabs are right on the button.”

Round 2: Dos Santos’ Comeback

The second round brought a shift in momentum as dos Santos landed significant strikes, putting Brown in trouble. AJ narrated the tense moments, “Brown got clipped a little bit. He was a little dazed. Dos Santos is right on his back.” Despite being in a compromising position, Brown’s defence was commendable, showcasing his resilience.

Round 3: The Decider

The final round was a test of endurance. Fred Garcia noted, “Dos Santos spent a lot trying for that finish. He might be gassed.” Brown capitalized on this, delivering crucial strikes and defending well against takedown attempts. The round ended with both fighters giving their all, but Brown seemed to edge out with effective strikes and control.


In a close contest, Randy Brown emerged victorious. Dave Simon summarized, “I think Randy Brown won this fight 29-28. I give him the first and third rounds.” The judges agreed, and Brown won by unanimous decision.

Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa

Another notable fight was the co-main event between Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa. This bout was crucial for the middleweight rankings, and the hosts were divided in their predictions.

Fight Highlights

The fight displayed contrasting styles, with Costa’s power against Strickland’s technical striking. AJ D’Alesio commented on Strickland’s approach, “He’s got to use his jab and keep Costa at bay.” Dave Simon was more focused on Costa’s aggression, “Costa needs to land those big shots early.”

As the fight unfolded, Strickland’s precision striking took its toll on Costa. The back-and-forth exchanges captivated the audience and hosts, with each moment analyzed in detail.


The fight went the distance, and Strickland’s consistent striking won over the judges. The unanimous decision victory was a testament to Strickland’s game plan and execution.

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Judging Controversy

Throughout the event, the audience and hosts frequently discussed the judges, centering on perceived bad calls and inconsistencies in scoring.

Roman Coppola vs. Caesar Almeida

During the preliminary fights, Roman Coppola won a split decision over Caesar Almeida. AJ D’Alesio disagreed with the decision, stating, “It just goes to show you how, like, a fight can get out of your hands.” Dave Simon questioned how one of the judges could have scored the fight for Almeida, as Coppola seemed to have dominated all three rounds. They later identified the judge as Chris Lee and cautioned viewers to “watch out for Chris Lee tonight because he is not seeing it right.”

Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa

The co-main event between Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa also resulted in a controversial split decision win for Strickland. The hosts unanimously agreed that Strickland had won the fight and were surprised by the split decision. Simon expressed his frustration, stating, “That should have been unanimous…I cannot wait to get the scorecards. I will get the scorecards for you as soon as they’re out. That’s a joke. So I could tell you which idiot judge scored it for Paulo Costa.”

After the official scorecards were released, it was revealed that judge Dave Torelli had scored the fight 49-46 for Costa, a decision that the hosts found outrageous. D’Alesio exclaimed, “What the f**, man? How the hell are you an MMA judge, and you score that fight for Paulo Costa with the first four rounds? That is outrageous.” Simon added, “This guy should never, ever be able to judge MMA.”

Dustin Poirier vs. Islam Makhachev

The judges’ scorecards for the main event between Dustin Poirier and Islam Makhachev were less controversial. While the second and fourth rounds were close and could have gone either way, the first and third rounds were clearly Makhachev’s. The judges were split on the second and fourth rounds, with one judge giving both to Poirier, another giving both to Makhachev, and the third judge splitting them. However, the split decision in the co-main event led the hosts to express concerns about the judges’ consistency and ability to score fights accurately.

Audience Interaction

The Ringside Report Network audience played a significant role throughout the UFC 302 Review and Reactions live broadcast, engaging with the hosts and sharing their thoughts and bets. Comments like “Antoinette went with your parlay, AJ, and she better not lose” showed the interactive nature of the watch-along. This interaction added a layer of excitement and community feel to the event.

Key Takeaways

  1. Poirier’s Determination: Despite the speculation about Makhachev’s health, Poirier’s relentless approach and striking power were the highlights.
  2. Brown’s Resilience: Randy Brown showcased impressive defensive skills and endurance, making his victory hard-fought.
  3. Strickland’s Precision: Sean Strickland’s technical prowess and strategic approach earned him a crucial win in the middleweight division.

UFC 302 Conclusion and Call to Action

UFC 302 delivered thrilling fights, expert commentary, and interactive audience participation. The Ringside Report MMA crew’s detailed breakdown of each fight gave fans an in-depth understanding of the event, making it a memorable watch-along experience.

Don’t miss out on the action! Tune in to our weekly Ringside Report MMA broadcasts live on YouTube, Rumble, Twitch, Twitter X, or Kick. You can also catch the replays or listen to our audio podcasts, which are available everywhere.

Be sure to join us live for our UFC 303 watch-along on June 29th, featuring the highly anticipated bout between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. See you there!