UFC 291 Main Event: Three Best Prop Bets
The matchmakers have done their job extraordinarily this week. The UFC 291 Main Event sees two of the best lightweights on the roster face off, and there is a decent spread of realistic outcomes to play with here.
Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje will fight for the second time in said main event, and Alex Pereira will make his light heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz. The early prelims start at 6:30 p.m. EDT, the prelims at 8 p.m., and the main card at 10 p.m. on ESPN+ PPV.
UFC 291 Main Event – Tale of the Tape
Undefeated in non-title fights since 2017, Poirier has beaten some of the biggest names in the sport. His most recent fight at the end of 2022 was a submission victory over Michael Chandler. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2011 and has a professional record of 29-7 with one no-contest.
His opponent, Justin Gaethje, has been the most entertaining fighter on the roster since he joined the UFC in 2017. After his loss to Poirier in 2018, Gaethje has won every non title bout but lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira by submission.
All odds shown are courtesy of DraftKings, and valid as of July 28, 2023.
Poirier to Win by Submission +650
These two have fought before in 2018, and it was a fantastic fight. Poirier won by knockout in the fourth round after both men landed 100 significant strikes. Gaethje employed powerful calf kicks that damaged Poirier and hindered his movement. He threw one too many kicks, and Poirier was able to time a big left hand that was the beginning of the end.
Poirier may be the best boxer on the roster, and should have a slight advantage over Gaethje. It will be a different fight than the first though. That’s because Gaethje has been improving his defensive striking since their first bout. He did not move his head much in the first fight and was a punching bag for Poirier. He will not fight like that this time around.
In his recent bout against Rafael Fiziev, he fought behind his jab and moved in and out of range:
Their kickboxing skills are much closer now, which may lead to some grappling. Both are talented wrestlers but usually do not use it as their first weapon. Poirier is better at finding submissions, and that is Gaethje’s weakness. Oliveira and Nurmagomedov submitted him easily and may be Poirier’s clearest path to victory.
It is an extremely close fight, and either man could get his hand raised. The odds for the first fight were a coin flip and not much different this time. Poirier is -145, and Gaethje is +125 on DraftKings, which is reasonable.
The fighter who won the first fight usually wins the rematch, so Poirier is probably the correct side. Gaethje has improved since their first meeting, but Poirier also has. It is an extremely close fight between two tough fighters, and neither will quit or give up.
Poirier won the first time but may have to do it on the scorecards this time. The prop for the bout to go the distance at +200 or better is also a solid play, but most sportsbooks have it around +180.
Gaethje to Win by Decision +550
The first fight was competitive, but Poirier was landing more strikes. Gaethje’s calf kicks kept him in it and helped him land effective strikes.
If he can land effective kicks again, he could do enough on the feet to win more rounds. The calf kicks did a lot of damage to Poirier, but Gaethje helped him by not moving out of range and keeping his head still.
Gaethje’s kicks are his most powerful weapon, but he must hide them with punches. Gaethje will be more defensive, which may lead to this fight going to the judges.