UFC 291 is one of the best and most entertaining events this year. The main card is more than explosive, and even though there aren’t any title fights, Saturday’s spectacle has the potential to become a memorable one. Why? Because there are several great bouts, and we are going to present all of them.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 26, 2023
Poirier VS Gaethje
Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje had already met in the past, and the Diamond won via KO. He now enters as a slight favorite, winning the previous contest against Michael Chandler. Over the past few years, Poirier had only two losses, and those were against Charles Oliveira and Khabib, both in title bouts.
He is a strong puncher with a big frame for the lightweight division. On top of that, the Diamond has respectable wrestling, and if some remember, he almost caught Khabib in the guillotine. With 29 wins and seven losses, with plenty of memorable fights behind, Poirier is one of the generational icons of the UFC.
Justin Gaethje has made a blast in the UFC since coming in. He had a brief slowdown, but after that, he posted four straight KOs, before meeting Khabib in the title fight, which he lost. After that, he had one more battle for the title against Oliveira, whom he also lost.
Gaethje is a heavy-hitter whose punches are powerful for much heavier rivals. The way he obliterates foes is cruel, yet attractive, and that’s why the fans love to watch the Highlight, as is his nickname.
However, his wrestling isn’t good. It’s below average. That’s where Poirier can profit and close the bout. Because of this factor, the Diamond is our pick.
Pick: Poirier wins 3/5 at BetXchange
Blachowicz VS Pereira
This is the bout between the two former UFC champs, one in the light heavyweight division, Blachowicz, and the other in the middleweight category, Alex Pereira.
The Pole had another shot at the title, but his bout with Magomed Ankalaev ended with a draw, and both were left without a belt. This is the guy who started to win in the early stage of his career, which earned him the chance to win the title back when he demolished Dominick Reyes. He beat Adesanya afterward before losing to Glover Teixeira. Blachowicz is a relentless kickboxer whose leg-fist combo is devastating, and he well may be the strongest puncher in the division.
Pereira’s stint in the UFC is short, but he already showed incredible quality. After losing to Adesanya in the rematch, he decided to move up and try his luck among the light heavyweights. His frame and size are definitely in that category, as he appeared to be massive for the middleweight division.
Glover Teixeira prepares Pereira, and he knows what to do against Blachowicz. Though, we aren’t sure that Pereira can fulfill his plan because of his mediocre wrestling skills. Blachowicz is bigger than the Brazilian, who is a straight-up kickboxer, and that will be an edge for him when things get down to the mat.
Pick: Blachowicz wins 4/5 at BetXchange
Thompson VS Pereira
Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira are extremely exciting fighters who always meet fans’ expectations. There isn’t a single bout with one of these two guys in it where we don’t see at least one nice, beautiful move.
Wonderboy Thompson has 40 years, but impeccable cardio. His main skills are karate and kickboxing, and he relies upon quick counters and hits from the defensive stance. Thompon was a two-time welterweight title challenger, but he couldn’t defeat Tyron Woodley.
Pereira has 29 years and 41 pro-MMA fights, which is, to say the least, remarkable. He had a long journey until signing with the UFC, but he is here now, ready to do big things. For the moment, the Brazilian has five straight wins, beating the likes of Khaos Williams, Niko Price, and Santiago Ponzinibbio. He has a unique style, with odd movement and unusual punches from tough angles or unexpected positions.
Our pick here would be Pereira, who did well in his previous bouts and is more versatile than Thompson. Plus, looking at his physique, he seems stronger than the American.
Pick: Pereira wins 11/10 at BetXchange
Ferguson VS Green
Tony Ferguson was once an absolute animal and a fighter who nobody wanted to face. Those few who accepted the fight with El Cucuy were more or less demolished, but now, Ferguson rides a five-bout losing streak and isn’t anywhere near his level from the past. Slow, sluggish, with poor cardio and average reflexes, he isn’t a worry to anyone.
Bobby Green is a veteran who has 45 MMA fights. He was never a high-caliber guy, but was present in the UFC as a gatekeeper between those who are the elite and those who are just passing by through the organization.
Having a poor version of El Cucuy in front of him makes Green a favorite. His physical condition is better than Ferguson’s, plus he looks much more decent in the octagon than the rival.
Pick: Green wins 1/5 at BetXchange