UFC 291 dwell outcomes and evaluation: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2

  • Brett Okamoto


    Brett Okamoto

    ESPN Staff Writer

    • MMA columnist for ESPN.com
    • Analyst for “MMA Live”
    • Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
  • Marc Raimondi

Jul 29, 2023, 09:13 PM ET

The BMF title is back.

Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, two of the most exciting action fighters in MMA, will fight for the symbolic belt Saturday in the main event of UFC 291 in Salt Lake City. The first BMF title was won by Jorge Masvidal in 2019 after a victory over Nate Diaz at Madison Square Garden. The belt name, abbreviated for “baddest motherf—er,” represents fighters who leave it all in the Octagon.

Poirier vs. Gaethje has added stakes, too. The winner will be in pole position for a lightweight title shot following Islam Makhachev’s defense against Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 in October. ESPN ranks Gaethje No. 4 and Poirier No. 5 in the world at lightweight. Poirier is also ranked No. 10 on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list. Both Poirier and Gaethje are former interim UFC lightweight champions. The two fought in 2018 in one of the best fights of that year that resulted in Poirier winning by fourth-round TKO.

Poirier (29-7, 1 NC) is coming off a third-round submission win over Michael Chandler at UFC 281 last November. The Louisiana native has won four of his past five fights, including a pair of finishes of Conor McGregor during that stretch. Poirier, 34, is tied with Drew Dober for the most knockouts in UFC lightweight history (8).

Gaethje (24-4) most recently beat Rafael Fiziev via split decision at UFC 286 in March. The Arizona native, who fights out of Colorado, has won six of his past eight. Gaethje, 34, is a former WSOF lightweight champion. Nicknamed “The Highlight,” he has amassed quite the reel in the UFC and has landed the second-most significant strikes per minute in UFC lightweight history (7.38).

In the co-main event, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira will clash in a light heavyweight contender bout. Pereira is moving up after dropping the middleweight belt in a rematch with rival Israel Adesanya at UFC 287 in April. Blachowicz vs. Pereira is especially relevant since light heavyweight has no champion. Jamahal Hill had to vacate after rupturing his Achilles earlier this month.

Follow along as Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi recap all the action from cageside or watch the fights on ESPN+ PPV.

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