Brace yourself… As early as tomorrow morning, UFC returns in action with the next major fight show of 2023, promising unforgettable moments and electrifying encounters that every MMA fan craves.
The main card of UFC 291 boasts a sensational rematch between former interim lightweight champions Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Additionally, the co-main event features the highly-anticipated light heavyweight debut of Alex Pereira against the seasoned Jan Błachowicz. Who are the favorites, and what can we expect? Let’s have a quick look at the two mentioned duels.
Poirier vs Gaethje 2
The main event headlines a clash between two absolute powerhouses of the lightweight division: Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. These two warriors are no strangers to each other, having locked horns previously in an epic encounter that saw Poirier emerge victorious via fourth-round TKO back in April 2018.
Both Poirier and Gaethje have faced their share of title fight heartbreaks, falling short in two bids for the undisputed lightweight championship, with both contenders failing to get the upper hand against Khabib Nurmagomedov and later Charles Oliveira.
This rematch is their chance to redeem themselves and cement their claim for another shot at the coveted lightweight division champion belt. Regardless if you’re a supporter of one or the other, the anticipation is sky-high.
Both Americans boast a respectable MMA record. To date, Poirier (29-7-0, 1NC) has won over such notable fighters as Max Holloway, Jim Miller, Conor McGregor (twice), and Michael Chandler. Meanwhile, Gaethje’s 24-4-0 resume includes victories over Donald Cerrone, Tony Ferguson, Rafael Fiziev, and Michael Chandler as well. Both Poirier and Gaetjhe are coming off wins in their last respective fight, in which they both secured the “Fight of the Night” awards, meaning that both have the momentum to continue their winning ways. For us, spectators, this can only mean good news – a competitive, action-packed fight.
Błachowicz vs Pereira
As if the main fight of the show isn’t promising and captivating enough, the co-main event features a pivotal light heavyweight clash between Pole Jan Błachowicz, who welcomes Alex Pereira from Brazil to the division.
40-year-old Błachowicz is a former light heavyweight champion who doesn’t need an introduction. The experienced veteran holds a 29-9-1, including wins over Jared Cannonier, Aleksandar Rakić, Israel Adesanya, and other well-known names.
Meanwhile, Pereira, who transitioned from kickboxing to mixed martial arts in 2015, and joined the UFC only in 2021, has accumulated a 7-2-0 record. Despite that, he earned a shot at the middleweight title after just three UFC appearances. He didn’t disappoint and became the division champion after a win over Israel Adesanya in November 2022.
However, Pereira’s title reign didn’t last long. Their rematch came on April 13th this year, in which the Brazilian suffered a 2nd round KO, losing his champion belt. Just five days later, Pereira announced that he was moving up to the Light Heavyweight division.
The light heavyweight landscape is wide open after Jamahal Hill vacated his belt due to a ruptured Achilles tendon on July 14th, and a victory here could propel either fighter into the title contention picture. With the division’s top spot up for grabs, Błachowicz and Pereira are primed to leave it all inside the octagon, showcasing their skills and determination.
What are the odds?
UFC 291 is set to be filled with pure adrenaline and excitement, with the main event rematch between Poirier and Gaethje sure to leave fans on the edge of their seats. A chance to witness two elite lightweights collide in a battle for redemption and a chance to rekindle their title aspirations… What more can MMA enthusiasts ask for?
Poirier is renowned for his well-rounded skills, having secured 14 knockouts and 8 submissions in his impressive career. Gaethje, on the other hand, is a knockout artist with 19 KOs out of his 24 victories. This sets the stage for a captivating contest between their contrasting styles and unyielding determination. However, one will always be a favorite to claim the upper hand. This time it’s Poirier, who is favored by the OlyBet sportsbook with the odds of 1.69, while Gaethje is rated 2.22 as the underdog.
Meanwhile, there is no clear favorite for the light heavyweight clash between Błachowicz and Pereira. Sure, Pereira boasts the ability to maintain his knockout power all the way through a fight, wearing out his opponents and not being afraid to take a few shots before landing some of his own. It reflects perfectly in his kickboxing record, where he knocked out the majority of his opponents.
However, Błachowicz boasts valuable experience. Although the Pole also favors striking and is very efficient at it, using takedowns to his advantage might just turn out to be an ace up his sleeve. Going into the bout, Błachowicz is a slight favorite at the odds of 1.90, while Pereira is rated at 1.94.
As the fighters prepare to step into the spotlight, the excitement and anticipation rapidly rise. Lucky for us, the moment of truth is just hours away. Remember, our sportsbook offers not only to place bets but also to watch the entire UFC 291 LIVE. Here’s to an unforgettable fight show!