UFC 291 Picks, Odds, and Preview

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The UFC is back on pay-per-view (PPV) this weekend, and we have identified the best UFC 291 picks. The event features several exciting fights, including the main event for the vacant BMF title.

Dustin Poirier will fight Justin Gaethje for the BMF title in the main event.

UFC 291 will begin at 6:30 PM ET at the Salt Lake City, Utah Delta Center. High altitude will be a factor, and I’m sure we’ll see some fighters struggling with cardio in the later rounds.


UFC 291 Preview

  • When: Saturday, July 29th, 2023
  • Where: Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Time: Early Prelims (6:30 PM ET) / Prelims (8:00 PM ET) / Main Card (10:00 PM ET)Watch: ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass

There are 11 ranked MMA fighters on the card, including seven of ten fighters on the main card. This is a great fight card, but I’m not sure how Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green made it on the main card.

Expert UFC 291 Picks

I bounced back at UFC London and went 4-2 (+$200) on my MMA picks last weekend. I also hit a parlay bet at +195 odds that was tipped in last week’s UFC preview. We’ll look to keep the profits rolling with my UFC 291 picks. Sign-up to Sports Hub to access all of my UFC 291 best bets (Search for SWJ Sports).

The UFC 291 weigh-ins are finished, and two fighters missed weight. Vinicius Salvador (128.5 pounds) is 2.5 pounds over the flyweight limit, and Michel Pereira (174 pounds) is 3 pounds over the welterweight limit. Salvador will forfeit 20% of his purse but will still fight. We’re still waiting to see if the Thompson vs. Pereira fight will be approved at catchweight, which could impact one of my UFC 291 picks.

There are numerous toss-ups on the UFC 291 card, and not a ton of value to be found.

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje Prediction

  • Fight Odds: Poirier (-150) vs. Gaethje (+120)

This Poirier (29-7-0-1) vs. Gaethje (24-4) rematch will be a brawl. Poirier won the first fight by TKO in the fourth round back in 2018, but a lot has changed since then. Since the first fight, both fighters have gone 6-2 with losses against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.

Poirier is coming off a win against Michael Chandler (R3 Submission), and Gaethje defeated Rafael Fiziev (Majority Decision) in March. Gaethje averages 7.38 SLpM and 7.66 SApM, while Poirier averages 5.51 SLpM and 4.25 SApM. Poirier will have a 2” reach advantage (72” vs. 70”).

Both guys will trade a lot of shots, and either fighter could emerge victorious. Both fighters have been knocked out twice but have great chins and can take a lot of damage.

With this being a five-round fight, there’s a good chance this fight ends by stoppage.

Best Bet: SIGN IN TO ACCESS PICK

Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira Prediction

  • Fight Odds: Blachowicz (-120) vs. Pereira (-110)

This is another close MMA fight that’s tough to predict. Blachowicz (29-9-1) is 1-1-1 in his last three fights, and he’s coming off a draw against Magomed Ankalaev. Pereira (7-2) is 4-1 in the UFC, and he’s coming off a loss against Israel Adesanya (R2 KO). He’s moving up to light heavyweight for the first time.

Pereira had to cut much weight as a middleweight and should be in better shape at LHW. Pereira averages 5.23 SLpM and 3.76 SApM. He has 59% striking accuracy (Blachowicz has 49% SA). Blachowicz isn’t as active (3.41 SLpM and 2.81 SApM). Pereira also has deadly power (6 TKO/KO wins).

Blachowicz has only been knocked out twice, and the last time was back in 2019 against Thiago Santos. He’ll also have a grappling edge, but he has only landed takedowns in one of his last nine fights.

Best Bet: SIGN IN TO ACCESS PICK

Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira Prediction

  • Fight Odds: Thompson (-150) vs. Pereira (+120)

Thompson (17-6-1) defeated Kevin Holland (R4 TKO) in his last fight, but before that, he had two losses by decision against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad. Pereira (28-11-0-2) went 1-2 to start his UFC career, but he has gone on a 5-0 run, with four of the wins coming by decision.

Pereira averages 1.58 takedowns per 15 minutes (55% accuracy), and his best chance at winning is to utilize his grappling, as that’s where Thompson has struggled. Thompson averages 4.20 SLpM and 3.04 SApM, while Pereira averages 5.09 SLpM and 3.78 SApM. Thompson will have the striking edge.

Both guys have power and could finish the fight, but nine of Thompson’s last 11 fights have gone to the judges’ scorecards. Pereira has gone the distance in his last four fights as well.

Best Bet: Fight Will Go the Distance (-165)

*Pereira missed weight, and we’re awaiting approval for a catchweight fight.

Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland Prediction

  • Fight Odds: Chiesa (+120) vs. Holland (-150)

Chiesa (16-6) is tough and an excellent wrestler, but he has lost two consecutive fights, and his last fight was back in November 2021. Holland (24-9-0-1) defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio (R3 KO) in his last fight, snapping a two-fight losing streak. This is your typical striker vs. wrestler mixed martial arts fight.

I’ve seen some pundits with Chiesa on their UFC 291 picks as a live underdog. Chiesa lands 3.39 TDs per 15 minutes (54% accuracy), and Holland only has 50% takedown defense. However, Holland has a huge 6” reach advantage (81” vs. 75”) and is the more active striker (4.12 SLpM vs. 1.88 SLpM).

Find out who I’m betting on to win this fight by signing up to Sports Hub to access my UFC 291 picks.

Best Bet: SIGN IN TO ACCESS PICK

Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

  • Fight Odds: Lewis (+175) vs. de Lima (-220)

Lewis (26-11-0-1) can finish any opponent, and he will be a popular underdog on many fans’ UFC 291 picks. Is he worth betting on, though? Lewis is 1-4 in his last five fights and was stopped in all four losses (3 TKO/KO and 1 Submission). De Lima (21-8-1) is 4-1 in his last five fights.

Lewis has gone the distance just six times in his career. His last seven fights have ended by stoppage. He averages just 2.51 SLpM and 2.59 SApM, but he has incredible power. De Lima averages 3.62 SLpM and 2.83 SApM. He has also only been knocked out once before in his MMA career.

With Lewis in terrible form, this is a great shot for de Lima to vault into the heavyweight rankings.

Best Bet: Marcos Rogerio de Lima Inside the Distance (-140)

UFC 291 Picks – Best Parlay Bet

There will definitely be some upsets, so be cautious with some big favorites when finalizing your UFC 291 picks. One favorite, I think, is a safe bet on Saturday night is Gabriel Bonfim.

Bonfim (14-0) has finished all his opponents (11 Submissions and 3 TKO/KO). Trevin Giles (16-4) is on a 2-0 run, but this is a big step up in competition. Giles has been stopped in all four of his losses.

Here’s my best UFC 291 parlay bet:

Bonfim to Win ITD + Poirier/Gaethje Over 2.5 Rounds (+146 Odds)

Pereira vs Adesanya past fight of UFC 291
Pereira blocking a blow from his rival Adesanya

UFC 291 Odds

Here are the latest UFC 291 odds (subject to change):

  • Dustin Poirier (-150) vs. Justin Gaethje (+120)
  • Jan Blachowicz (-120) vs. Alex Pereira (-110)
  • Stephen Thompson (-150) vs. Michel Pereira (+120)
  • Tony Ferguson (+290) vs. Bobby Green (-410)
  • Michael Chiesa (+120) vs. Kevin Holland (-150)
  • Gabriel Bonfim (-335) vs. Trevin Giles (+255)
  • Derrick Lewis (+175) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-220)
  • Roman Kopylov (-195) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (+165)
  • Jake Matthews (-270) vs. Darrius Flowers (+220)
  • CJ Vergara (-165) vs. Vinicius Salvador (+135)
  • Matthew Semelsberger (-205) vs. Uros Medic (+165)
  • Miranda Maverick (-310) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+240)

How to Access UFC 291 Picks at Sports Hub

Want to see all of my UFC 291 picks for Saturday? You need to open a free Sports Hub account. Once logged into your account, search for my handicapper profile (SWJ Sports). We also have other experts publishing MMA picks. Good luck this weekend, and let’s crush the bookies.