The BMF Title is back on the line, and this time it’s being fought for in Salt Lake City, as longtime Lightweight contenders and former interim champions Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje meet again for the chance to win the symbolic belt. Neither guy has won the actual lightweight championship, though each has fought for it.
Here are UFC 291 odds, props, and predictions for Saturday night’s card, leading with the main event, where betting action has pushed the line in Poirier’s direction.
UFC 291 Main Event Odds: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2
There’s a good chance this fight will be a stand-up banger, and odds on the top sports betting apps price it as a close call.
As of this Friday update, Poirier is the short favorite, priced at -145 at DraftKings. Gaethje, the slight underdog, comes in at around +125 at multiple sportsbooks, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, and BetRivers.
UFC · Sat (7/29) @ 10:00 pm ET
|Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT|
UFC 291 Co-Main Event Odds: Blachowicz vs. Pereira
The co-main event is set to be another stand-up banger between former Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz and former Middleweight Champion Alex Pereira.
BetRivers has Blachowicz as the slight favorite at -115, and Pereira the underdog at -107.
UFC 291 Betting Preview: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2
Poirier and Gaethje are both looking for a path to a third title shot. Look, the UFC, Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6), and Gaethje (24-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) want you to believe that the former interim titleholders are worthy of another chance at the strap.
Wouldn’t it be cool to give the winner a special interim belt? Then, he’d get to fight Champion Islam Makhachev (or maybe Charles Oliveira) and get submitted by a rear-naked choke again, as they both did to Khabib Nurmagomedov (and Oliveira)?
This is seemingly the path of the lightweight division right now.
The BMF Belt was held by Jorge Masivdal after he beat Nate Diaz via doctor stoppage (not very BMF to be honest). Since then, Masvidal lost to Kamaru Usman who lost to Leon Edwards, so technically Edwards is the lineal BMF Champion.
But hey, Masvidal retired, and UFC President Dana White says the fake belt is up for grabs now.
I know I’m sounding like a hater, and that’s fine.
But Poirier vs. Gaethje is and will always be a great matchup. Both guys are killers and have wild standup skills. They are not afraid to stand and bang with anybody and that makes for an exciting fight to witness.
They are both also stars in the UFC and typically fan favorites. They’re known as two of the “good guys.”
But truth be told, they are both holding up the division. So it does kind of work that they are fighting each other. And sure, the UFC can give them a little treat with the BMF belt. They deserve the little treat.
And if this fight has title implications, good luck to upcoming prospects from getting a crack at any top-five guy in the next 12 months.
Oliveira deserves a title rematch after demolishing Beneil Dariush last month. Poirier and Gaethje are tied up with each other.
Dariush is the only open option for a young prospect like Arman Tsarukyan.
Michael Chandler is waiting for a will-they-won’t-they bout against Conor McGregor. It does not look like that fight will happen any time soon.
These are the best guys, and the best guys deserve title shots, but the other guys aren’t even getting chances to become the best guys.
And as mentioned before, Poirier and Gaethje have each fought for the title twice: once against Khabib and once against Oliveira. Poirier and Gaethje were both submitted each time.
Okay, let’s talk about this particular matchup finally.
It’s a great fight and would be exciting if it happened 10 times. Poirier and Gaethje both have made names for themselves for being willing to brawl.
Poirier has a great resume with wins over McGregor, Chandler, Eddie Alverez, Max Holloway, Dan Hooker, Anthony Pettis, and a TKO over Gaethje in their first fight.
Gaethje’s resume is good, too, with wins over Chandler, Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, and Edson Barboza. His last fight against Rafael Fiziev made him look unstoppable on the feet. If that honed-in Gaethje shows up against a typically honed-in Poirier, we may easily witness one of the greatest fights of the past year.
This fight will only go to the ground when someone’s head bounces off the canvas. Otherwise, expect this thing to stay standing for five rounds.
Should the winner get the title shot? Eh. Right now, who else could it be other than Oliveira or Volkanovski? Both of those fights are much more intriguing than one between Makhachev and Poirier or Gaethje. The betting odds for Makhachev via submission will make that obvious.
The lightweight division shouldn’t continue to be held up for these two guys and McGregor. It’s time to open it up and dive into its potential as the bantamweight and welterweight divisions have started to do.
UFC 291 Props
Here is a sampling of UFC 291 props from around the betting market:
Method of Victory (DraftKings)
- Poirier by KO/TKO: +175
- Poirier by submission: +650
- Poirier by decision: +350
- Gaethje by KO/TKO: +225
- Gaethje by submission: +2000
- Gaethje by decision: +550
Total Rounds (FanDuel)
- 2.5 (Over -124, Under -102)
Alternate Total Rounds (BetRivers)
- Over 1.5 (-245), Under 1.5 (+175)
- Over 3.5 (+125), Under 3.5 (-167)
- Over 4.5 (+160), Under 4.5 (-220)
Will Fight Go The Distance? (DraftKings)
- Yes: +180
- No: -250
How Fight Will End (BetRivers)
- Submission: +480
- KO/TKO: -167
- Decision: +170
Full Main Card Odds (DraftKings)
Lightweight Bout: Dustin Poirier (-145) vs. Justin Gaethje (+125)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Jan Blackowicz (-115) vs. Alex Pereira (-105)
Welterweight Bout: Stephen Thompson (-150) vs. Michel Pereira (+130)
Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson (+310) vs. Bobby Green (-380)
Welterweight Bout: Michael Chiesa (+120) vs. Kevin Holland (-140)
UFC 291 Predictions
Here’s a handful of betting picks to consider firing at on Saturday night.
- Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje O2.5 rounds: -140
- Alex Pereira via KO/TKO: +165
- Bobby Green via KO/TKO: +165
- Moneyline Parlay: Lewis, Pereira, Holland: +849
UFC 291 Event Info
Location: Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Date: Saturday, July 29, 2023
Start Time: Main Card at 9 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: ESPN+ PPV