UFC 291: Poirier vs Gaethje 2 – Preview
UFC 291 is a rare pay-per-view event without a UFC title on the line, but it covers ground with plenty of fan-friendly fights. The event will take place on July 29, 2023, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje
The main event will feature a rematch between two of the most exciting and violent fighters in the lightweight division: Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. The pair first met in April 2018, in a classic Fight of the Year contender that saw Poirier emerge victorious by fourth-round TKO. Since then, both fighters have improved their skills and resumes, with Poirier becoming an interim champion and Gaethje becoming a title challenger. Both fighters are also among the all-time leaders in Fight of the Night bonuses, with Poirier having seven and Gaethje having si.
Poirier and Gaethje are known for their aggressive and forward-pressing styles, which could result in another spectacular finish or a brutal war. Poirier has the advantage of being more technical and versatile, with his crisp boxing and slick submissions. Gaethje has the advantage of being more durable and powerful, with his leg kicks and haymakers. Both fighters are confident in their abilities and have promised to put on a show for the fans.
Jan Blachowicz vs Alex Pereira
The co-main event will see former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz welcome former middleweight champion Alex Pereira to the 205-pound division. Blachowicz is one of the most underrated and well-rounded fighters in the UFC, having defeated the likes of Israel Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, Luke Rockhold, and Jacare Souza. He lost his title to Glover Teixeira in May 2023, but he is still ranked #3 in the division and looking to bounce back.
Pereira is one of the most decorated and dangerous strikers in MMA, having won multiple titles in kickboxing and boxing. He is also the only man to knock out Adesanya, which he did in Glory Kickboxing in 2017. He made his UFC debut in November 2021, knocking out Andreas Michailidis in just 18 seconds. He then followed that up with another knockout win over Brad Tavares in March 2023. He is currently ranked #2 in the middleweight division, but he decided to move up to light heavyweight for a bigger challenge.
Blachowicz vs Pereira is a fight with title implications and a meaningful impact on the light heavyweight landscape. Blachowicz will have the advantage of being more experienced and versatile, with his striking and grappling skills. Pereira will have the advantage of being bigger and more explosive, with his knockout power and speed. Both fighters are confident in their abilities and have promised to put on a show for the fans.
Stephen Thompson vs Michel Pereira
Another fight that could produce fireworks is between Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira in the welterweight division. Thompson is one of the most skilled and elusive strikers in MMA, having a background in karate and kickboxing. He has fought for the title twice, losing to Tyron Woodley by majority decision and draw. He is currently ranked #7 in the division and looking to make another run at the belt.
Thompson vs Pereira is a fight between two striking specialists who could deliver an intriguing high-level chess match or absolute fireworks. Thompson has the advantage of being more technical and experienced, with his precision and timing. Pereira has the advantage of being more creative and dynamic, with his unpredictability and athleticism. Both fighters are confident in their abilities and have promised to put on a show for the fans.
Other notable fights on the card include Tony Ferguson vs Bobby Green at lightweight, Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Holland at welterweight, Derrick Lewis vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima at heavyweight, and Miranda Maverick vs Priscila Cachoeira at women’s flyweight.
Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN 2: A cross-promotional extravaganza in Japan
Bellator MMA and RIZIN Fighting Federation are teaming up once again to deliver a cross-promotional event that will showcase some of the best fighters from both organizations. Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN 2 will take place on July 30, 2023, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The main event of the first part will be a Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal bout between former Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricky Pitbull and RIZIN lightweight champion Roberto de Souza. Pitbull was originally scheduled to face former Bellator Featherweight Champion A. J. McKee, but McKee pulled out due to an injury. Pitbull is one of the most experienced and accomplished fighters in Bellator history, having won 16 fights and seven knockouts in the promotion. De Souza is one of the most dominant and exciting fighters in RIZIN history, having won nine fights and eight submissions in the promotion. This fight will be a clash of styles between Pitbull’s striking and de Souza’s grappling, and the winner will advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
The co-main event of the first part will be an inaugural Bellator Flyweight Championship bout between former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi and Makoto Shinryu. This fight will be a battle of speed and skill between Horiguchi’s striking and Shinryu grappling, and the winner will become the first Bellator flyweight champion.