UFC 291 promises to be an absolute blockbuster. The fight card features more than one of UFC’s best and hardest-hitting strikers. After analyzing the night’s top three fights, we’re confidently placing our UFC bets on these three fighters. Keep reading to get expert betting advice!
- What: UFC 291
- When: Saturday, July 29
- Where: Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje Betting Pick
On paper, the UFC 291 main event featuring Poirier and Gaethje has the potential to be a fight-of-the-year contender. Both fighters, who love standing up and striking, are as entertaining as it gets in this sport — and they’re quite evenly matched too. Just take a look at the Gaethje-Poirier odds, currently available at the top betting sites for UFC:
This bout will be for the vacant BMF title now that Jorge Masvidal is likely retired from the UFC. It’s a rematch of a 2018 fight that was all fireworks and ended with Poirier stopping Gaethje in the fourth round. But that was five years ago — which feels like an eternity in this sport. Both men have improved by leaps and bounds since then.
Gaethje, in particular, was at a career crossroads at the time after back-to-back losses (Eddie Alvarez beat him before). But since then, Gaethje has gone 6-2, losing only to arguably the best lightweights ever — Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. Gaethje is a much more measured striker these days. He might throw fewer strikes, but the ones that do come with startling power — one of the heaviest hands at lightweight.
Still, we don’t think Gaethje is a better striker than Poirier — maybe a harder hitter, but not better overall. Poirier has some of the most accurate hands in the sport. On the feet, we would favor Poirier. Gaethje does have the better wrestling, but for some odd reason, he’s largely gone away from that during this stretch of his career.
We think this goes the full five rounds in another slugfest, but we’re picking Poirier to prevail again. Again, he’s more technically sound on the feet and will do enough to nullify Gaethje’s KO ability. Poirier by decision is our final prediction.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira Betting Pick
After losing the middleweight championship a few months ago to Israel Adesanya, Pereira moves up to light heavyweight for this semi-main event. Unfortunately for him, there’s no tune-up at the new division. Pereira gets fed straight to one of the division’s best (and former title-holder) in Blachowicz. And to no one’s surprise, Blachowicz is the betting favorite to win, as seen underneath:
Ironically, Blachowicz fought Adesanya when he moved up to this weight class. Blachowicz was the champion at the time, and somewhat easily held off Adesanya. Not only did Blachowicz outwrestle the “Last Stylebender”, but he fared well outsriking him too en route to a unanimous decision victory. For what it’s worth, Adesnya predicted Blachowicz would use a similar gameplan to victory in this one versus Pereira.
The X-factor in this fight is whether Pereira can defend the takedown or not. The ex-kickboxing legend has only been practicing against it for a few years since transitioning to MMA. No matter how hard he’s trying and his superb athleticism, the muscle memory just isn’t there to really fend off Blachowicz.
We’re confidently backing Blachowicz to win here. This is just a bad matchup for Pereira — the second-hardest in the class besides Magomed Ankalaev. It might be worth putting some extra units on Blachowicz because it could easily be one-sided if Pereira struggles with the takedown defense as we expect.
Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green Betting Pick
Here’s a fun lightweight matchup between two fighters reaching the twilight of their careers. The 39-year-old Ferguson has lost five in a row — albeit to top competition like Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and Michael Chandler. The soon-to-be 37-year-old Green hasn’t won in the past three fights. As it stands, Green is the runaway betting favorite to beat Ferguson:
Honestly, we think Ferguson’s price is way too off. Yes, Ferguson is a shell of himself, but Green isn’t worthy of being this big of a favorite. We’ve seen Ferguson flash at times lately — the first round vs. Chandler comes to mind. It might be worth it to put a flyer bet on Ferguson to win. The plus-money odds are too tempting for us to skip out on against middling competition.
How To Bet On UFC 291 Card?
For a one-stop shop for UFC 291 betting, hit one of the online sportsbooks listed below. Every single fight on the card, from prelims to the main, is available for betting — moneylines, over/unders, props, it’ll all be there for the taking. But the five sites below are the highest rated in our latest sportsbook review section so these are good starting spots.
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