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Random Land! 18 tidbits, facts and storylines | UFC 291

After a recent trip to London, England, last weekend, Ultimate Fighter Championship (UFC) stays on the road this weekend (Sat., July 29, 2023), touching down in Salt Lake City, Utah, with UFC 291 inside the Delta Center. In UFC 291’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje run it back for the “Baddest Motherf—ker (BMF)” belt. In the co-feature, Jan Blachowicz welcomes former Middleweight champion, Alex Pereira, to the Light Heavyweight division.

And “Poatan” is already fitting right in.

UFC 291 is absolutely loaded top to bottom with fun fights, so before it all goes down tomorrow evening, let’s check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime ...

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!

A Very Violent Rematch

Let’s start with the obvious: Poirier and Gaethje went to war at UFC on FOX 29 back in 2018, winning “Fight of the Year” for its sheer madness and excitement. After four rounds of carnage, Poirier stopped Gaethje via technical knockout (watch highlights).

Fated Beautiful Violence

Some fights just make sense ... and Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 is one of them. Checkout this wild stat:

Since their epic fight in 2018, both share identical 6-2 records with four finishes and two decisions. In addition, both defeated Michael Chandler, and their only losses are to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.

Wild, indeed.

BMF Belt

Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz were the last (and only) fighters to compete for the aforementioned BMF belt at UFC 244 in Nov. 2019. By the time UFC 291 goes down this weekend, it will be three years, eight months and 27 days since the BMF was on the line.

Salt Lake City

UFC has only held two events in “The Beehive State.” The last time was UFC 278 in 2022, when Leon Edwards shocked the world with a Hail Mary knockout of Kamaru Usman (watch it), but before that, in 2016, it was UFC Fight Night 92, where Yair Rodriguez earned a split decision over Alex Caceres.

Moving On Up!

Alex Pereira makes his Light Heavyweight debut this weekend after nine fights at Middleweight. The promotion was bound to happen because “Poatan” is known to cut a massive amount of weight. The new weight class also gives Pereira a lot of new fun potential match ups.

No. 1 Contender Fight(s)

UFC 291’s main- and co-main events have a lot of stakes as they both signal the next title challengers. While nothing is official, it just makes sense that the winner of Poirier vs. Gaethje fight the winner of Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira, which takes place at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi this fall season.

As for the co-main event, Blachowicz revealed he was told the winner of his fight against Pereira will compete for the vacant Light Heavyweight championship.


Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira was initially supposed to go down at UFC 289 in Vancouver; however, the bout was removed a few weeks before showtime and rescheduled for UFC 291.

Pereira has been asking to fight “Wonderboy” for a few years and finally gets his shot.

No Retirement For “El Cucuy”

After losing five straight fights, many people believed if Tony Ferguson loses to Bobby Green on Saturday, that could be a wrap on his legendary career. None of those people, though, apparently checked in with Ferguson. Because at UFC 291 media day, Ferguson shut down any retirement talk because he wants to go out on his own terms.

Sadly, that rarely works out well for aging fighters in MMA.

Welcome Back, ‘Maverick’

Michael Chiesa returns to the Octagon after a 20-month layoff this Saturday. “Maverick” was last in action against Sean Brady, losing a unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 43. Since that fight, Chiesa has been fighting a back injury that has plagued his career for many years. During UFC 291 media day, he revealed that he was contemplating getting back surgery, but Michael Bisping talked him out of it because he would, “never feel the same.”

He defends his No. 12 ranking against Kevin Holland.

Second Bonfim Bro To The Rescue

At UFC 283 in January, the Brazilian Bonfim brothers came out of the event on top of the world as they won their UFC debuts in devastating fashion.

Unfortunately, Ismael Bonfim had all of his hype washed away earlier this month when Benoit Saint-Denis tapped him in one round (watch highlights).

Well, younger brother Gabriel Bonfim looks to avenge his brother at UFC 291 when he takes on Trevin Giles in the “featured” undercard on ESPN.

Derrick Lewis had had a rough 17 months as he has been finished three times. First, he was knocked out against Tai Tuivasa at UFC 271 (watch highlights), and then five months later, he was stopped by current No. 1-ranked Heavyweight contender, Sergei Pavlovich (watch highlights). Most recently, he was tapped by Sergey Spivak inside UFC Apex.

While one might think his time is over, Lewis stopped that talk. At UFC 291 media day, Lewis revealed he was not healthy in his past few fights and that before his fight with Spivak, he blacked out before weigh-ins.

Lewis faces Marcos Rogerio de Lima on Saturday.

Welcome to UFC!

Only one fighter will debut this weekend at UFC 291: Darrius Flowers.

Flowers (12-5-1) received a UFC contract on season six of Contender Series when he finished Amiran Gogoladze in the first round. Flowers was scheduled to make his UFC debut earlier this year in February, but had to withdraw because of a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension.

He faces UFC veteran, Jake Matthews.

Brazilians In Utah

Six Brazilians are scheduled to throw down in Salt Lake City. A. Pereira, Bonfim, M. Pereira, Rogerio de Lima, Claudio Ribeiro, Vinicius Salvador, Priscila Cachoeira.

Short Notice Warriors

Three fighters are stepping up on short-notice to fight:

  • Miranda Maverick replaced Joanne Wood and will be fighting Cachoeira.
  • Flowers replaced Miguel Baeza and will be fighting Matthews.
  • Uros Medic replaced Yohan Lainesse and will be fighting Matthew Semlesberger.

Winners And Losers

Fifteen fighters are coming off wins, while seven are coming off losses. And one fighter is coming off a draw (Blachowicz), and one fighter is coming off a “No Contest” (Bobby Green).


Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:

  • One Heavyweight fight
  • One Light Heavyweight fight
  • One Middleweight fight
  • Five Welterweight fights
  • Two Lightweight fights
  • One men’s Flyweight fight
  • One women’s Flyweight fight

Beta Dog

According to DraftKings, the “biggest” underdog at UFC 291 is Ferguson at +310.


  • There are two Brazilian Pereira’s on the card, and they fight back-to-back
  • Former opponents Semlesberger and Matthews are on the card.
  • Medic is moving up to Welterweight to fight Semlesberger after four fights at Lightweight.
  • Two Mavericks are on the card - Michael “Maverick” Chiesa and Miranda “Fear The” Maverick.
  • This is Holland’s third attempt to crack the Welterweight Top 15.
  • Maverick and Green are the two biggest favorites on the card, according to DraftKings. They are -280.

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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