The UFC returns to Salt Lake City for UFC 291 where a new BMF champion will be crowned as Dustin Poirier takes on Justin Gaethje in a lightweight main event bout.
The two top-five contenders at 155-pounds aren't in title contention after two failed attempts to win the belt each over recent years, so after Jorge Masvidal's recent retirement his recently vacated BMF belt will be on the line to add some extra glamour to this card.
We'll break down the fight and both fighters to provide you with our best free UFC betting picks for the event to see if we can earn you some extra cash on fight night.
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UFC 291 information
- Saturday, July 29th, 2023
- Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Lightweight bout (155-pounds)
- 5 x 5 minute rounds
- BMF Title bout
Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje 2
Poirier is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC and he has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the world in recent years.
Since his first title shot defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 242 (September 2019), "The Diamond" has gone 4-1 in the UFC at lightweight with some dominant victories on his record.
He claimed a major decision win over Dan Hooker with a solid striking performance, before back-to-back TKO wins over Conor McGregor really become a household name to casual fans. He followed that up with a defeat to champion Charles Oliveira when he was submitted in the third round, halting the momentum that he had.
Up next there was a banger of a fight against Michael Chandler, and Poirier came out on top to ensure that he's still considered one of the best around with a submission win after a back-and-forth war.
Professionally he has a record of 29-7, with 14 of those coming via knockout and eight more coming via submission.
Gaethje on the other hand is in the same calibre as Poirier when it comes to popularity and skill, with a professional record of 24-4 with 19 of those victories coming via knockout.
After the first fight between these two, which Poirier won in the fourth-round via knockout, Gaethje went on a four-fight win streak where he claimed knockout wins over all of James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson.
That earned him a title fight against Khabib which he lost via second-round submission, before bouncing back with a stunning decision win over Chandler which earned him another title shot.
He lost that once again as Oliveira submitted him in the first-round, but he has since bounced back with a decision win over Rafael Fiziev to set up this fight.
Route to victory
It seems obvious to say, but this is going to be a straight-up war on the feet.
Both guys pride themselves on their terrific striking abilities with Poirier the better technical boxer and more complete mixed martial artist, while Gaethje is the more powerful and chaotic fighter of the two with the ability to turn the lights out with one punch.
The first time they fought saw Poirier pick him apart in the pocket and threaten with takedowns to mix up the looks, eventually getting a knockout. But Gaethje is far less chaotic than he was back then and is more than happy to bide his time with counters and leg kicks as he awaits a perfect opportunity to land.
We saw against Chandler and McGregor that Poirier is not afraid to use his wrestling if the opportunity presents itself, mixing up takedowns and using his Brazilian jiu-jitsu to threaten with submissions.
Gaethje is a world-class wrestler but he very seldom opts to use that offensively, which makes him relatively easy to prepare for. If Poirier is to win again, mixing in wrestling and jiu-jitsu is a great way of using his advantages while Gaethje should look to use his leg kicks early and maintain distance while landing power strikes to inflict damage.
Check out our review for Bovada sports betting here.
UFC Picks: Dustin Poirier to win again
This is one of the most fan-friendly main events of the year and there is next to no chance that this fight disappoints.
Stylistically both guys like to stand and bang, but Poirier has proven in the past that he's not afraid of abandoning that fan-friendly approach if needs be to make sure that the win is his at the end of the night.
Expect the opening rounds to be fast-paced with plenty of action, before Poirier starts to conserve energy and control the fight more ahead of looking to get a finish from ground-and-pound or submission.
Don't be surprised to see Gaethje survive and take the fight the whole 25 minutes with that approach because he's certainly no slouch, but Poirier is the better fighter of the two and should come out on top once again.