Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, both former interim UFC Lightweight Champions, will square off in a rematch as the main event. The winner will get the symbolic title of “BMF” (baddest motherf*cker), which has been vacant since Jorge Masvidal retired from MMA in April. These two first squared off in April 2018, when Poirier delt Gaethje a TKO in the fourth round. Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira meet in the co-headliner in a light heavyweight showdown. We have the full fight card for you, along with UFC betting thoughts on the two top fights.
UFC 291: Poirier vs Gaethje 2 Preview | UFC Lines by Xbet
Main Card (Pay Per View)
Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje (Lightweight)
Jan Blachowicz vs Alex Pereira (Light Heavyweight)
Stephen Thompson vs Michel Pereira (Welterweight)
Tony Ferguson vs Bobby Green (Lightweight)
Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Holland (Welterweight)
Preliminary Card (ABC / ESPN / ESPN+)
Gabriel Bonfim vs Trevin Giles (Welterweight)
Derrick Lewis vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (Heavyweight)
Roman Kopylov vs Claudio Ribeiro (Middleweight)
Jake Matthews vs Darrius Flowers (Welterweight)
Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
C.J. Vergara vs Vinicius Salvador (Flyweight)
Matthew Semelsberger vs Uros Medic (Welterweight)
Miranda Maverick vs Priscila Cachoeira (Women’s Flyweight)
Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje
UFC Lines: Poirier (29-7, 21-6 UFC, -150) vs Gaethje (24-4, 7-4 UFC, +130)
Points UFC fans back to their first matchup, which was a key fight for Poirier, moving him into championship-level contention. He had already developed a following as a featherweight when his war against Chan Sung Jung became a contender for “Fight of the Year,” but he got even tougher to stop at lightweight, as he was able to increase his pressure and space and just run over his opponents. A knockout by Michael Johnson stopped his upward trajectory for a while, as Poirier had to learn to temper his aggressiveness and wait for the right moment to employ all the pressure. Poirier was able to use that wisdom to wear Gaethje down over the first three rounds and finish him in the fourth. Since then, Poirier has done everything you can do in UFC except win a belt, as his title shots against Khabib Murmagomedov and Charles Oliveira both went the other way. A win over Gaethje should get Poirier a shot at the current champ, Islam Makhachev.
Gaethje came into UFC with more of an old-school approach, but his loss to Poirier marked an end to that strategy. He liked to move right ahead and use his striking game to deliver a knockout before the punishment that he was eating ended up doing him in. That had worked for him at the World Series of Fighting, and it also worked in his UFC debut against Michael Johnson. However, against the better lightweight fighters, who could evade his big bombs and deliver punishment of their own, it failed, as we saw when Eddie Alvarez knocked him out and when Poirier finished him. He bounced back to roll over James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, showing that his approach worked against the non-elite members of the division. However, his win over Tony Ferguson in 2020 showed that he was starting to think differently, letting his opponent come to him and take the damage instead of forcing himself into vulnerable positions. His wins over Michael Chandler in 2021 and Rafael Fiziev this past March showed that he has learned to balance aggression and patience. Gaethje is a slightly harder puncher, and he does have the advantage in wrestling, even though never fighter likes to go to the floor.
Final Prediction: Gaethje wins on the cards
Bet on Gaethje!
Jan Blachowicz vs Alex Pereira
UFC Lines: Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1, 12-6-1 UFC, -125) vs Alex Pereira (7-2, 4-1 UFC, +105)
Is Pereira’s attempt to move up toward contender status in a second classification. When he joined UFC in 2021, the goal was to get him enough wins to contend with Israel Adesanya for the middleweight championship. It worked after Pereira needed only about two and half minutes to stop Sean Strickland, and then he got a shot at Adesanya, whom he had already beaten twice in kickboxing contests. In their rematch, Adesanya almost finished Pereira early and was ahead on the cards going into the fifth, bu then Pereira delivered a stoppage in the fifth round. Adesanya knocked him out in the rematch, and now Pereira is moving up to light heavyweight to try his hand at a second belt.
Blachowicz entered UFC in 2014 with a knockout of Ilir Latifi, but his path became a grind from there. His cardio started letting him down, but when he beat Devin Clark in 2017, he saved his UFC contract. He worked on his striking game and started stacking up wins. He got a bout with Dominick Reyes for the light heavyweight belt after Jon Jones vacated the title. Blachowicz came in as a heavy underdog but knocked Reyes out easily and then defended his belt in a cross-divisional fight against Adesanya, winning on the cards. It helped that Blachowicz used slow-paced kickboxing in the early rounds before outwrestling Adesanya in the championship rounds, but that could backfire against Pereira, who brings more striking power and has better timing against pressure.
Final Prediction: Blachowicz wins on the cards
Bet on Blachowicz!
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