UFC Dana White: ‘Jersey has always been good to us and it’s always fun to come back’

Saturday night, the UFC returned to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, for the first time since 2019. The crowd and energy in New Jersey didn’t disappoint either; it impressed UFC owner Dana White. The UFC sold out the prudential with over 17,000 in attendance, including the highest gate (7.25 million), beating the Rolling Stones record since 2012. That said, all of the fights, from the prelims to the main card, were sensational, and many of the fans appreciated them. Most importantly, the main and co-main event lived up to its hype, and many witnessed history. 

“This place was incredible, they were buzzing all night,” White states in the post-fight press conference. “They were waiting for something to happen, so tonight the arena got me this board and it’s all the fights so that’s been in New Jersey. Here’s what’s incredible, the first fight in [New] Jersey was in 2000.”

“Me and the Fertitta’s were there, looking at the UFC at the time. … Then, we come back to the Meadowlands, so it's cool to see 25 years ago how we were at the first one here,” White continues. “Jersey has always been good to us and it’s always fun to come back here.”

Main Card Breakdowns and Results

Despite the electric atmosphere in Prudential, the biggest takeaways from the fights were the relentlessness and pure athleticism of some of these fighters. Unfortunately for the crowd, there were no knockouts throughout the entire event, however the crowd continued to be engaged. That said, UFC Welterweight Randy Brown defeated Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos convincingly and unanimously. Brown controlled most of the exchange, however, he was taken down multiple times by Santos to try and kill his momentum. The fight consisted of a ton of grappling, in fact it appeared Brown nearly was going to tap out. Nonetheless, Brown managed to nimbly escape and conjure the momentum from the crowd to reverse and win the fight ultimately. 

“I just knew I had to stay calm, and I’ve been there before,” Brown explains pivotal moment in the fight. “I have a lot of high-level black belts on my team, and I consider myself a high-level black belt I was comfortable and I’ve been there so many times. It’s not unfamiliar to me, I always try to stay calm and just chalked it up to the referee. He was down there too long and the round was done, but I just worked my inches and the moment I was able to get some ground and pound. Once he tried to move, I jumped on his back and that gave me the momentum shift.”

The next fight that took place was another Welterweight contest between Niko Price and Alex Morono. Price won this fight pretty clearly, the pace and just relentless offense was too much for Morono. Price managed to dominate in the exchanges and on the ground. Morono attempted a few successful takedowns, however continued to lose position and allowed Price to gain access back to his feet. The crowd enjoyed the intensity of both fighters; however, Price's fatigue and striking abilities managed to allow him to prevail.

Following Price, Middleweight division Kevin Holland took on Michal Oleksiejczuk. Many expected this fight to be a thriller; however, the fight ended very quickly. Within the first round, Holland managed to execute an armbar after being initially dropped by Oleksiejczuk. Once the armbar was in place it was clear it was only one way out. It wasn’t confirmed, however it appeared that Oleksiejczuk's arm was broken and if the fight had extended longer it may have been detached from the socket completely.

UFC 302 Co-Main Event and Main Event 

This leads to the co-main event between Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa. This fight was highly anticipated, and many expected a full-out war. Instead, Strickland controlled the majority of this fight by forcing Costa to retreat and move in circles ultimately tiring him out with front kicks and body blows. Costa appeared not to have a gameplan to counter Strickland’s attack, and this led to easy takedowns for Strickland. Ultimately, Strickland won in a split decision that left many in awe, however he was satisfied he still won.

I think there was that moment where every time Costa was like, 'I'm going to fight this man,' he gets stuck in that phase like, 'I don't think I want to fight this man today,” Strickland emphasizes. “'So I think a lot of it just is you never know how good somebody is until they fight somebody good, and that's what you saw there.”


Finally, the night's main event didn’t disappoint between UFC Lightweights Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier. The building was electric and this fight was nothing but twists and turns filled with climaxes and turning points. There were a ton of momentum shifts, essentially everything you wanted to make an amazing fight. Makhachev took Poirer into the final round and defeated him by submission with a  D’arce choke.

Before the finish, Makhachev dominated the opening rounds by taking Poirer to the ground, however in the third and fourth, it appeared Poirer began to find success. He began not allowing Makhachev to take him down and started landing much heavier strikes on their feet. Eventually, he hurt Makhachev and many began to feel the tides turn, however Makhachev was able to take him down in the most unique way possible. Ultimately leading to Poirer’s defeat in the final round. After the fight, Poirer announced he may be considering retirement.


  • Andre Lima wins in a split decision over Mitch Raposo.
  • Ailin Perez wins in a unanimous decision over Joselyne Edwards.
  • Bassil Hafez defeats New Jersey native Mickey Gall by unanimous decision.
  • Jake Matthews defeats Phil Rowe in a unanimous decision.
  • Grant Dawson defeats New Jersey native Joe Solecki in a unanimous decision 
  • Jailton Almeida (7) wins by submission against Alexander Romanov (13).
  • Roman Kopylov defeats Cesar Almeida by unanimous decision. 


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