UFC 291: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 Picks

by | Last updated Jul 12, 2023 | mma

UFC 291: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 Picks

When: Saturday, July 29, 2023

Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah


Fight Analysis:

UFC 291 in Salt Lake City is headlined by a compelling rematch between elite 155-pound contenders Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. In an April 2018 barnburner, Poirier scored a 4th round TKO over Gaethje in a memorable main event. A lot has gone down since then, but it has culminated in another pivotal meeting between these two 34-year old standouts in another high-stakes battle where the winner likely moves on to another chance at winning the title. Let’s break it down!

Dustin Poirier, 29-7 (14 KOs, 8 Submissions), (-125) vs. Justin Gaethje, 24-4 (19 KOs, 1 Submission), (+105)—Odds by Bovada Sportsbook (You can bet the fight live-in-progress!)

Lightweights Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje will battle it out in the UFC 291 main event. Their first fight was truly high drama. The leg kicks of Gaethje threatened to truly discombobulate Poirier who was really teetering at times. And when Poirier was able to muster up the offense in the fourth round, it was a last gasp effort, as more leg kicks would likely have folded him. It was a complex battle with a lot of give and take and one should expect similar this time around.

Poirier has the best hands at 155 pounds in an overall sense. And his wherewithal in that last fight to launch a series of combinations to bring the curtain down on the otherworldly-tough Gaethje was something to behold. His work to the body truly allowed him to stay in the fight as Gaethje mercilessly cracked away at Poirier’s legs. But Gaethje also has deadly hands and while not as polished or educated in the art of boxing, his wild brawling paired well with Poirier’s smoother style. While he never seems to wrestle, Gaethje’s background in that area allows him to repel the wrestling of his opponents.

The thing is that Poirier was absolutely ready to go throughout that first fight. It’s an ultra-difficult spot to be in when you’re dealing with a wild brawler who is whacking away with heavy leg-kicks, especially when the guy is also known as being one of the toughest blood-and-guts warriors in MMA and almost impossible to put away. But what allowed Poirier to get the “W” was his versatility and toughness. No matter how hard he got hit, he always stayed together. He zeroed in on Gaethje’s body like nobody’s business. His kicks, while not as damaging, were more varied than Gaethje’s and helped set up other parts of his offense. And like the first time, this is a matchup that will force Poirier to extol every positive aspect of his fighting profile to prevail.

Bet on the fight winner, duration and more at Bovada!
and propensity to absorb punishment in large doses could be catching up with him. Granted, it’s not something that has really even shown up, but it could. A guy like Gaethje is not a fighter who can afford to lose that razor’s edge he has, but a taxing career, much of which has recently been spent tangling with the best in the world could produce diminishing returns at some point. But it’s not like Poirier hasn’t been put through the ringer himself. It’s hard to find a fighter who has been forced to endure a more-difficult roster of opponents, with Poirier having spent a decade pitting himself against the best.

With both men being 34 with a lot of wars in their rearview, the urgency for this will be great. Neither fighter wants to rebuild after all they’ve gone through to get to this spot. Not that either guy couldn’t do it or that the loser of this couldn’t still get big fights, but with time running low and mileage being high, this is really a pinnacle moment for both. And with both men having hurt each other so much in the first fight, it will also be interesting to see what the O/U on rounds is as we get closer to fight-night, with an “under” looking like not such a bad option if the number is right.

In any event, it’s not easy to be abundantly-confident about either side in this bout. Are we sure that at 34, Poirier can withstand the punishment that comes from a stand-up fight against someone as relentless as Gaethje? Or will we once again see that the combination of toughness, skill, and quickness continues to make Poirier a slight notch above Gaethje? In this case, I’m going with Poirier, but as the odds show, this is a tough one to call.

My Pick to Win: I’m betting on Dustin Poirier at -125 betting odds. When you combine Poirier’s greater offensive variety, his fighting IQ, his poise under pressure, along with the urgency of this fight, it’s hard to imagine him being any less tough for Gaethje to get out of there and I see Poirier’s resilience playing a big role as he grinds out the win. Bet your UFC 291 picks for FREE by using bonus code PREDICT100 when you make your first deposit of $50 to $300 at MyBookie Sportsbook!