Islam Makhachev’s coach gave his official prediction for UFC 302 title fight

Islam Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez has offered his official prediction for the upcoming lightweight title fight at UFC 302 against Dustin Poirier.

The main event of UFC 302 will be Islam Makhachev’s first lightweight title defense against a legitimate 155lber, and champion trainer Javier Mendez is offering an entirely different prediction to his star pupil for how the title fight will play out.

The lightweight title is set to be defended at UFC 302 on June 1 when champion Islam Makhachev takes on Dustin Poirier from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Speaking to Yahoo Sports earlier this month, Makhachev gave a simple, yet ominous prediction for how the bout with Poirier will play out:

“We will start, and I will try to take him down. He will try to get me in a guillotine [choke]. I will defend the guillotine. I will give him a couple punches. He will give his back. Then I will finish.”

Whilst you would think that Makhachev’s coaches would agree that this would be the most ideal path to victory, veteran trainer Javier Mendez has a wildly different prediction for how the title fight will actually go down.

Dustin Poirier talks counter strategy against Islam Makhachev for UFC 302

Coach Javier Mendez wants the UFC 302 title fight to go the distance

Speaking via Submission Radio, coach Javier Mendez explained that despite Makhachev wanting a quick night at the office vs Poirier, he’d much rather the fight go the full 25 minutes.

“For me, no matter what it is, I always like going five rounds because I don’t like to be missing a beat,” said Mendez, explaining how making an early stoppage prediction is a sure-fire way to lose focus if the fight does indeed go long.

“Like if I say [we’ll win] in one round and all of a sudden, we’re going into the second round, my mind is going [and] I don’t want to lose any thought process in the fight that’s present in front of me because if you miss one little thing, it could cost your fighter.”

“I always like going five round decision and by us dominating, and I always like doing it that way,” shared Mendez, predicting a unanimous decision victory over ‘The Diamond’.

The veteran trainer explained how that preference towards a dominant decision win also comes down to the level of respect that he has for Dustin Poirier, who is set to make his 31st walk to the UFC octagon on June 1 at UFC 302 :

“I don’t really like the ‘Oh we’re going to stop him in one round, two rounds’ [like] no; I have respect for Dustin, the great fighter that he is and champion, I would like to see [the fight go] five rounds.”

“Honestly, I think it’s an older, wiser [and] still dangerous as ever Dustin, so we have to be very careful… We play our game and he’s not going to have the kind of chance that people are expecting but if we don’t play our game, it could go bad for us.”

“He’s a spoiler type of guy and dangerous for sure, we’re definitely not looking at him as an easy fight because he’s not an easy fight,” acknowledged Mendez.

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