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UFC 291 Predictions & Betting Picks

UFC 291 Predictions & Betting Picks

The UFC heads to altitude this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah with the BMF title on the line. Fighting for that belt is Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje who with a win jump right back in the title picture. In the co-main Alex Pereira moves up to take on former Light Heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz and Tony Ferguson aims to prove he still deserves his place in the UFC when he meets Bobby Green. We take a look at my best bets on this weekend’s pay-per-view card below.  

UFC 291 Preview & Betting Picks

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

It has been five years since Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje went toe to toe and they do it again this weekend for the BMF title. Before we get into how they match up stylistically it is worth noting that Salt Lake City fights are notoriously sloppy due to the high altitude and the impact cannot be understated. While Poirier is not known for having a poor gas tank he doesn’t train at altitude whereas Gaethje does, however, a recent social media post shows he did get to Salt Lake City a week early to try to adjust. For what it is worth I believe if we are to get into rounds 4 and 5 it is advantage Gaethje, altitude training is a huge bonus.

Since the pair last met, they both have had two unsuccessful runs at the title. Each man fell to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. Both Poirier and Gaethje are known for their striking and both could have won their last encounter, although it was ultimately Poirier who stopped Gaethje. This time around however, I see it going the other way.

Since that fight Gaethje, while still exciting, doesn’t run in with reckless abandon and will set up his offence. He also completely ruined Poirier’s lead leg in their first meeting, a tactic that will be at least twice as impactful now he picks his shots. While it could go either way as they will get into a war of attrition somewhat, I am backing Gaethje’s more patient approach to end in him getting his hand raised.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira steps up to Light Heavyweight for the first time this weekend to fight former champ Jan Blachowicz. It is a perfect match up for the Brazilian and as long as he isn’t a shell of his former self coming in off a knockout loss to foe Israel Adesanya he will win this fight.

Blachowicz climbed to the top of the division on the back of his Polish power, but he finds an equaliser in that department against Poatan. He also doesn’t have the wrestling to fall back on when it gets inevitably hairy on the feet as he won’t be able to ragdoll a man whose natural weight should have always seen him in this division. Pereira peppers away and mounts damage on Blachowicz who has little to no answer.

CJ Vergara vs. Vinicius Salvador

Vinicius Salvador gets a perfect chance to register his first Octagon win when he meets CJ Vergara this weekend. Salvador fell in his promotional debut to Victor Altamirano who managed to utilise his wrestling to get his hand raised. Before that loss Salvador was on a four-fight win streak and had shown some serious finishing ability.

He will get a chance to show that finishing expertise against Vergara who hasn’t attempted a single takedown in his UFC career, is 2-2 in the Octagon but could easily be 0-4 as he won a controversial decision and barely survived round 1 in his last fight before securing a comeback win over Daniel Lacerda. I see this fight taking place on the feet and if that is the case Salvador is stronger, faster and more technical than Vergara. Back Salvador to secure his first UFC win at underdog odds.

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