With UFC 291 just around the corner, fight fans are eagerly anticipating one of the most highly-anticipated bouts of 2023: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2. This main event promises to be a thriller, especially since their first encounter earned them Fight of the Year honors. Adding to the excitement, the promotion’s vacant BMF title is up for grabs in this showdown. The event also features Alex Pereira’s light heavyweight debut against Jan Blachowicz, among other captivating fights, all set to take place in Salt Lake City.
MMA Hook’s experts, Shaun Al-Shatti, Alexander K. Lee, and Mike Heck, gather once again to discuss the major storylines leading up to UFC 291.
- Is UFC 291’s main event a lock to be Fight of the Year?
Al-Shatti: Calling any fight a guaranteed Fight of the Year contender before it even happens is unreasonable. We’ve seen big fights fail to live up to the hype in the past. However, considering Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje’s track records—both have accumulated numerous Fight of the Year awards, accounting for half of the top spots in recent years—I can’t help but feel strongly about this one’s potential. The stakes are high, and both fighters will give their all to secure a lightweight title shot. I’ll cautiously give it a 97% chance of landing on year-end lists.
Heck: While the expectations for this fight are enormous, I’m not entirely convinced it will surpass other top contenders like Makhachev vs. Volkanovski. The BMF title adds an interesting aspect, but with so much on the line for both fighters, they might adopt a more cautious approach. Still, it will undoubtedly be an exciting match and likely earn a spot on Fight of the Year lists.
- Is Jan Blachowicz the right opponent for Alex Pereira’s 205-pound debut?
Lee: The matchup between Blachowicz and Pereira is intriguing. While some may have preferred Pereira facing an unranked opponent for his debut at light heavyweight, this fight makes sense. Pereira already has name recognition from his kickboxing days and the heated rivalry with Adesanya, so why not throw him into the mix against a former UFC champion? If he can defeat Blachowicz, it will propel him further up the rankings.
Heck: I initially had doubts about this matchup, but given the current state of the light heavyweight division, it seems fitting. With no champion and contenders still emerging, this fight offers Pereira a chance to prove himself against a top opponent. While it may not be an ideal stylistic matchup for Pereira, a win will boost his credibility and set the stage for an exciting title fight against Prochazka.
- Which storyline outside of the main two has you most intrigued?
Al-Shatti: The Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green bout intrigues me the most. Ferguson’s recent slide in the sport has been heartbreaking for his fans. At 39, he faces an uncertain future in a division known for being ruthless to aging fighters. However, as a fervent supporter of Ferguson, I hope he can deliver one last vintage performance and leave us with a memorable victory.
Heck: The matchup between Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira holds my attention. For “Wonderboy,” a win could put him back in the title conversation. On the other hand, this is a critical opportunity for Pereira to prove himself against a well-known name. A victory for him would create excitement and set up a potential title fight against Prochazka.
Lee: I’m interested in Derrick Lewis’ fight against Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Lewis has had an impressive career in the heavyweight division, but he’s currently on a losing streak. If he doesn’t secure a win here, it may be time to consider retirement. His unique personality will be missed, but his health and well-being should be the priority.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ufc 291 main event
Q: Is UFC 291’s main event guaranteed to be Fight of the Year?
A: While it’s unreasonable to label any fight as a definite Fight of the Year contender before it happens, the main event featuring Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2 holds immense promise. Both fighters have a history of delivering thrilling bouts and have earned several Fight of the Year awards in the past. With the added stakes of the vacant BMF title on the line, it’s highly likely that this matchup will be one of the top contenders for the prestigious award by the end of 2023.
Q: Why is Jan Blachowicz chosen as the opponent for Alex Pereira’s 205-pound debut?
A: Jan Blachowicz was selected as Alex Pereira’s opponent for his light heavyweight debut due to several reasons. Pereira already has significant name recognition from his successful kickboxing career and the heated rivalry with Israel Adesanya. Pairing him with a former UFC champion like Blachowicz adds intrigue and credibility to the matchup. Moreover, with no current light heavyweight champion and contenders still emerging, this fight offers Pereira a chance to prove himself against a top-ranked opponent early in his UFC career.
Q: Which storyline outside of the main event interests the most?
A: Among the other intriguing storylines at UFC 291, the matchup between Tony Ferguson and Bobby Green stands out. Ferguson, once a top lightweight contender, has faced a challenging slide in recent times. Fans hope for one last vintage performance from the legendary “El Cucuy” against an exciting fighter like Green. Although Ferguson hasn’t indicated that this will be his last fight, the possibility of a memorable swan song performance captivates many, hoping for a legendary sendoff.
Q: What’s at stake for Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira in their featured bout?
A: The fight between Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira carries significant implications for both fighters. For “Wonderboy” Thompson, a victory could potentially put him back in the title conversation in the welterweight division. On the other hand, Pereira has long been anticipated to face a well-known opponent, and this is his chance to prove himself on a big stage. A win for Pereira would elevate his status and set up an exciting title fight against Jiri Prochazka in the future.
Q: Is Derrick Lewis at a crossroads in his career?
A: Yes, Derrick Lewis is at a crucial crossroads in his career. The fan-favorite heavyweight has faced a challenging time, losing three straight fights and four of his last five. With no current heavyweight champion and contenders vying for the top spot, a win against Marcos Rogerio de Lima is essential for Lewis if he wants to stay in contention for another title shot. However, a loss could lead to contemplation of retirement, especially considering his age and the competitive nature of the heavyweight division.
More about ufc 291 main event
- UFC 291 Official Website: Link
- Dustin Poirier UFC Profile: Link
- Justin Gaethje UFC Profile: Link
- UFC BMF Title Information: Link
- Alex Pereira UFC Debut Announcement: Link
- Jan Blachowicz UFC Profile: Link
- Tony Ferguson UFC Profile: Link
- Bobby Green UFC Profile: Link
- Stephen Thompson UFC Profile: Link
- Michel Pereira UFC Profile: Link
- Derrick Lewis UFC Profile: Link
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima UFC Profile: Link