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Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green full fight preview | UFC 291

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight sluggers Tony Ferguson and Bobby Green will go to war this weekend (Sat., July 29, 2023) at UFC 291 inside Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

It’s no secret that Ferguson is in the midst of a bad skid. At his peak, Ferguson was among the nastiest Lightweights of all time, a Terminator-esque whirlwind of elbows and snap kicks who broke opponents mentally and physically. Nowadays, the speed, power and cardio are largely gone, making his unorthodox attack far less effective. Green, meanwhile, is technically winless in his last three as well, but the circumstances are odd. A short-notice submission loss to Islam Makhachev? Understandable. Then, he was thoroughly picking apart Drew Dober before getting walloped, and his last fight ended early because of an unfortunate headbutt.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Tony Ferguson

Record: 25-7
Key Wins: Kevin Lee (UFC 216), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC Fight Night 98), Anthony Pettis (UFC 229), Edson Barboza (TUF 22 Finale), Josh Thomson (UFC Fight Night 71), Donald Cerrone (UFC 238)
Key Losses: Justin Gaethje (UFC 249), Charles Oliveira (UFC 256), Beneil Dariush (UFC 262), Michael Chandler (UFC 274), Nate Diaz (UFC 279)
Keys to Victory: Recent opinion has shifted on Ferguson, as many have devalued his historic win streak and taken potshots at his greatness. Those people suck and are merely the latest example of MMA’s incredible recency bias and “what have you done for me lately” mentality.

Make no mistake: Ferguson at his peak is one of the best Lightweights ever.

As it stands, maybe returning to Lightweight can ignite a bit of a spark under “El Cucuy,” who looked truly abysmal opposite Diaz. If he can get his offense going, Ferguson has a chance here. Green is not a huge knockout puncher, and he generally likes to operate at the distance where Ferguson used to thrive.

Low kicks could be such a huge weapon for the former interim champion. Even in his slopfest against Diaz, he tore up Diaz’s calf. Against a jab and 1-2 heavy boxer, those same kicks could be massively helpful. More stabbing teep kicks could be useful as well, an important element of his game that Ferguson has been neglecting.

Bobby Green

Record: 29-14-1 (1)
Key Wins: Nasrat Haqparast (UFC 271), Al Iaquinta (UFC 268), Lando Vannata (UFC Vegas 5), Josh Thomson (UFC on FOX 12), James Krause (UFC: Fight For The Troops 3)
Key Losses: Islam Makhachev (UFC Vegas 49), Drew Dober (UFC Vegas 66), Rafael Fiziev (UFC 265), Thiago Moises (UFC Vegas 12), Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Night 164)
Keys to Victory: Green has style. “King” fights with his hands low, relying on exceptional quickness and head movement to slip shots and manage distance. He’s really one of the best at sticking a jab, shoulder rolling/pulling their return, then sticking another 1-2.

As mentioned, speed has been a huge issue in Ferguson’s decline. Green, conversely, remains unusually quick for a 36 year old with 45 professional fights to his name. He’s going to be able to drill Ferguson with his jab and get out of dodge.

Really, the key here is going to be remaining disciplined. Based on recent performances, Green is going to be able to land ... a lot. He still has to maintain a pace that he’s comfortable with for the full 15 minutes, because if nothing else, Ferguson is still game to take a beating and fight back.

Bottom Line

Man, this fight would’ve been dope in 2019 or even 2020 (post-Gaethje beatdown).

As it stands, it’s an important fight in the careers of each man. Ferguson’s back is obviously to the wall. He’s gotten absolutely smashed in his last five fights, featuring very few positive moments. If he loses here, one has to assume that’s the end of the line for his UFC career. If Ferguson can show some life, that same recency bias should at least help get fans back on his side!

Meanwhile, Green is in a bit of a precarious position as well, even if his current streak isn’t quite as desperate. Unless Ferguson comes out looking truly rejuvenated somehow, losing to “El Cucuy” in 2023 would be a really bad sign for his future. At some point, Green’s durability and speed will drop off too, and “King” has to prove that it hasn’t happened yet.

At UFC 291, Tony Ferguson and Bobby Green will meet in the Octagon. Which man earns the victory?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 291 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 291: “Poirier vs. Gaethje 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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