mma / Reports

411’s UFC 291 Report: Gaethje Head Kicks Poirier

July 30, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UC 291 Image Credit: UFC

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
#2 Dustin Poirier (155 lbs.) vs. #3 Justin Gaethje (156 lbs.)
#3 Jan Blachowicz (205 lbs.) vs. Alex Pereira (205.5 lbs.)
#10 Derrick Lewis (263.5 lbs.) vs. #15 Marcos Rogerio de Lima (262 lbs.)
Tony Ferguson (155 lbs.) vs. Bobby Green (155.5 lbs.)
#12 Michael Chiesa (170 lbs.) vs. Kevin Holland (169.5 lbs.)

Gabriel Bonfim (170 lbs.) vs. Trevin Giles (170 lbs.)
Vinicius Salvador (128.5 lbs.)* vs. CJ Vergara (125.5 lbs.)
Roman Kopylov (185 lbs.) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (185.5 lbs.)
Darrius Flowers (170.5 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (170 lbs.)

Uros Medic (170.5 lbs.) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (169.5 lbs.)
Priscila Cachoeira (125 lbs.) vs. Miranda Maverick (125.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 291, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening. Tonight the UFC is back on PPV and back in my neck of the woods, and they’ve brought a pretty solid overall PPV card with them. The main event is a rematch of one of the better fights you’ll see, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje fought back in 2018 with Poirier coming out victorious but now we’re being blessed with a second meeting between them. The winner will also have a pretty good claim to a title shot pending the outcome of the rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira. The co-main event is a very relevant light heavyweight fight, former champion Jan Blachowicz welcomes former middleweight champion Alex Pereira to the division and with the title now vacant(again) the winner here will be in prime position for some kind of title fight next. Things get a touch slimmer from there with heavyweights, Tony Ferguson trying to salvage the tail end of his career against Bobby Green, and some Michael Chiesa ends an 18 month or so layoff against Kevin Holland. On the prelims the pickings are pretty slim but they’re not bad, we’re mostly hoping for good action per usual

UFC 291 comes to the world from the Dela Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier will provide commentary, not my favorite trio personally. While I believe we’ve got the use of instant replay I’m not sure if the fight can be restarted or not as that’s a state by state thing. Keep in mind we will be in the 30 foot Octagon, and it’s worth keeping an eye on the prep from the fighters as the altitude here isn’t Denver but at the last event a lot of people underestimated the impact it would have. Oh, another minor note but the place is pretty darn full before even the first fight. In Vegas we’ve only got a bomb scare at this point.

Miranda Maverick had a bit of hype at one point but she’s coming off of a really deflating loss when she struggled against Jasmine Jasudavicius, if she wants to get back on track towards the top of the division she can ill afford another losing streak here. Priscila Cachoeira finds herself 4-1 in her last five fights though one of those was a dodgy decision, now she’s back at flyweight after a brief bantamweight excursion and is trying to earn a step up to ranked opposition in her next fight. Maverick is a pretty big favorite here at -265 to +225 for Cachoeira.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Priscila Cachoeira (12-4, 125 lbs.) vs. Miranda Maverick (11-5, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Cachoeira is three and a half inches taller while Maverick has half an inch of reach advantage, Cachoeira is also 8 years older. Southpaw for Maverick. Both women do some feinting, then Maverick lands a few lefts as the “woo’s” are here to my eternal chagrin. Bit of a left from Maverick, she’s trying to set up a knee tap but Cachoeira is hip to it. Cachoeira lands a right. Body kick from Maverick. Inside leg kick from Maverick and she avoids a right hand counter. Awkward head kick from Maverick doesn’t land, Cachoeira lands a knee but Maverick catches it and takes her down against the fence. Cachoeira is trying to wall walk, Maverick looks to slip to the back and lands a few lefts. A few more short lefts from Maverick as she’s got Cachoeira on a knee. Maverick is able to ride Cachoeira down to her back and moves towards side control. Some knees to the body from Maverick then lefts to the head. Elbow from Maverick. Crucifix now for Maverick and she lands a few elbows before Cachoeira gets her arm free. A few more elbows from Maverick land, then she lands an uppercut as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maverick

ROUND TWO: Maverick lands an inside leg kick to start the round. Cachoeira avoids a single leg attempt. They tie up then Cachoeira forces a break. Maverick lands a left hand. Another inside leg kick from Maverick. Maverick tries a takedown, they hit the fence though. Cachoeira is fishing for a guillotine attack but Maverick defends and trips her down to her seat against the fence. More fence grabbing from Cachoeira, who remains a very dirty fighter overall. Maverick settles into half guard and lands some short lefts. More of those short punches from Maverick as she looks to pass. Maverick moves to full mount and starts landing punches. Cachoeira is trying to bridge off the fence, she does so but Maverick immediately takes her back down. A few more short punches and elbows from Maverick, she’s started working body to head combinations as well. The round ends with Maverick still on top.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maverick but there’s a 10-8 argument in there, 20-18 Maverick overall

ROUND THREE: Cachoeira comes forward throwing. Maverick lands a body kick. Left hand from Maverick, then another one and she gets a takedown into side control. Elbows from Maverick as she moves to north-south. Cachoeira is trying to scramble up but Maverick is keeping her down and moving between north-south and side control. A few elbows from Maverick land. Maverick moves to full mount, grabs the armbar and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Miranda Maverick via Submission, armbar, at 2:11 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Maverick for her work this evening. Mic time for Maverick, she says nothing surprised her and she knew she’d have to grind this one out and be careful with a dirty fighter like Cachoeira. She wanted to be sure there was no fight left in Cachoeira before she went for a submission, then thanks sponsors, her team, and the fans. Asked about the finish she says she knows not to stop until the ref gets involved.

Pretty standard armbar from Maverick, but good on her for holding on through the potential Brazilian tap until the ref actually got involved. The ref should have called it a little sooner though, part of why the Brazilian tap works is the refs allowing it.

Matthew Semelsberger has gone 3-3 in his last six fights, he’s coming off of a loss though and is mostly trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Uros Medic has gone 2-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and could score his first UFC winning streak if he can get his hand raised tonight. The odds are with Semelsberger at -200 to a +170 comeback on Medic.

Welterweight Bout: Uros Medic (8-1, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (11-5, 169.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Semelsberger has four inches of reach advantage. Medic is fighting southpaw and both men come out kicking, then Semelsberger lands a leg kick that drops Medic, he looks for ground and pound strikes. Medic fights to his feet, then thinks about rolling for a kneebar but Semelsberger avoids it and they’re still clinched on the fence. Medic lands a left hook as they break the clinch. Semelsberger lands a right hand. Bit of a left from Medic. They trade rights. Medic lands a hard left hand but Semelsberger just eats it. Semelsberger blocks a head kick. A bit of stance switching from Semelsberger now, he’s still mostly orthodox. A right hand from Semelsberger drops Medic, and he follows him down but Medic kicks him off and hurts him with an up kick. Medic is chasing Semelsberger, he eats a hook but Medic gets a takedown into a loose half guard. They fight up and separate. Semelsberger is cut from that up kick, not badly but it’s there. Medic lands a left hand. Body kick from Medic. Semelsberger misses a right hand to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Semelsberger

ROUND TWO: Medic opens the second round with a one two. Body kick from Medic then a left hand. Both men trade some kicks. They both avoid strikes in close. Semelsberger lands a few leg kicks. Medic lands a left hand then a leg kick. One two from Semelsberger as he’s started playing around with southpaw again. They trade power hand punches. Medic lands a body kick. A couple of rights from Semelsberger land, Medic counters with a couple of punches of his own. Glancing head kick from Medic. Bit of a right from Semelsberger but Medic counters with a combination and a head kick. Medic lands a couple of punches in close. Bit of an elbow from Medic. Medic avoids a high kick and then fires a combination of his own that partially lands to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Medic but a close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Semelsberger lands an inside leg kick but misses a couple of rights. Medic lands a body kick, that hurt Semelsberger but I don’t think Medic realized it. Semelsberger ties up and they hit the fence. Medic lands a left hand in close, then another left as they break. Both men land punches in close. They trade rights. Another body shot from Medic, his corner is telling him he’s hurt to the body. Bit of a head kick from Medic. Both men miss power hand punches. Some jabs from Medic then they brawl in close and Medic rocks Semelsberger with a right hook. Medic lands a spinning back fist that drops Semelsberger, he jumps on top and is able to pound things out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Uros Medic via TKO, spinning back fist and punches, at 2:36 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Medic for his work this evening. Mic time for Medic, he sucks up to the crowd and says he’s been around for most of the UFC run at 30 years and he thanks the UFC for 30 years of MMA.

Here’s the finish. Medic already has Semelsberger hurt, and in that case it’s a little less risky to try the spinning stuff. All in all a nice finish from Medic as he hurt Semelsberger to the body and slowly broke him down over the fight.

Jake Matthews has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of a loss though and is trying to avoid his first losing streak since 2016. Darrius Flowers replaced Miguel Baeza on relatively short notice but he’s on a four fight winning streak and a win over a veteran like Matthews would be the biggest win of his career by far. Matthews is the -275 favorite to +230 for Flowers.

Welterweight Bout: Darrius Flowers (12-5-1, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (18-6, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Matthews is two and a half inches taller with two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Flowers looks to show kicks while Matthews tries to set up his jab. Leg kick from Matthews. Flowers avoids a right hand. Calf kick from Matthews. Flowers pushes forward and looks to brawl, they trade punches along the fence for a bit. Matthews is starting to land better. Flowers lands a right hand but his chin keeps creeping up when he throws. Matthews lands a left to the body then a front kick. Right to the body from Matthews. Flowers misses a right hand. Flowers misses an uppercut but he’s still pushing forward relentlessly. Matthews lands an elbow in close. Bit of a left from Flowers. Matthews lands another left to the body. Front kick from Matthews lands. A lot more front kicks from Matthews, he’s looking to break down Flowers with body work. Matthews wobbles Flowers with a right hand, then avoids a spinning attack but Flowers blocks a takedown attempt and lands a knee. Another front kick from Matthews lands. Flowers eats another front kick and hits a double leg to stop the abuse. Flowers passes to side control to avoid a guillotine attempt. Matthews is still holding the head and is trying to re-guard with the guillotine attempt. Full guard for Matthews as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews

ROUND TWO: Matthews gets to pressure as the round starts and he’s showing kicks again. A front kick from Matthews drops Flowers, they’re claiming it went low so we’ve got a time out. Replay shows that kick was mostly clean, ball of the foot into the abdomen while maybe the heel went into the groin. Flowers is getting away with something here a little bit. In fairness to the point, the heel hit the groin after the initial impact so it’s not like Flowers is completely faking this. The doctor is in to check on Flowers, but he can continue. We’re back to fighting after just under three minutes. Matthews is right back to front kicking the body. Flowers avoids a few punches. Matthews lands a left to the body and they trade in close. Flowers comes forward, and walks into a one two. Another body shot from Matthews. Flowers catches a kick but can’t get a takedown off of it. Matthews is playing with some southpaw looks now, he stuffs a takedown and pushes Flowers over to get on top in half guard. Kimura attack from Matthews, he’s got the double wrist lock and uses that to pass to full mount. Matthews lands punches as Flowers hip escapes to quarter guard. Full mount for Matthews again and he lands punches. More punches from Matthews, Flowers gives up the back and Matthews grabs the rear naked choke to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jake Matthews via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:37 of Round 2

Mic time for Matthews, he dismisses the controversy as saying the ref called it low so it was low but all his other front kicks were good. He expected pressure from Flowers and to tire him out, then he thanks Flowers for taking the fight on short notice which meant he could still get paid. He talks us through the finish and he could feel Flowers fading and then could take whatever Flowers gave him. To close he sucks up to the crowd.

Pretty standard rear naked choke from Matthews here, nothing special but it’s very effective.

Roman Kopylov has gone 2-2 in the UFC but he’s currently on a two fight winning streak and now looks to prove he’s found his stride in the UFC by getting his UFC record above the .500 mark. Claudio Ribeiro has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and is trying to build his first UFC winning streak here. It’s not too surprising to see Kopylov as the -220 favorite to +180 for Ribeiro.

Middleweight Bout: Roman Kopylov (10-2, 185 lbs.) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (11-3, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ribeiro is an inch taller with two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Kopylov, and they touch gloves. Ribeiro looks for kicks early as both men kind of feint around. Kopylov is looking to stalk forward into range and lands a left hand. Another left from Kopylov. A few calf kicks from Kopylov, just range finding mostly. Ribeiro is backed up to the fence, then misses a right hand. Inside leg kick from Ribeiro. Kopylov lands a front kick to the body. Ribeiro lands a body kick of his own. Kopylov lands a body kick. Ribeiro misses a few punches. Bit of a combination from Kopylov. A couple of jabs from Kopylov land. Ribeiro pushes forward and lands a right hand. Body kick from Kopylov then a left hand behind it. Front kick then a jab from Kopylov. Ribeiro starts coming forward but walks into a left hand then a body kick. Kopylov is just toying with him, he lands a left hand that seems to stun Ribeiro. Left hand from Kopylov lands. Ribeiro lands a right that wobbles Kopylov, he’s pushing forward and looking to finish. They hit the fence and brawl then Ribeiro looks for a takedown but Kopylov defends as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kopylov

ROUND TWO: There’s a cut under the right eye of Ribeiro, it’s swelling as well so we’ll keep an eye on it. Kopylov ENDS Ribeiro with a head kick, he lands an unnecessary follow up because the ref took a second to get there but that was nasty.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Roman Kopylov via KO, head kick, at :33 of Round 2

That’ll be a front runner for a performance bonus for sure. Mic time for Kopylov and the translator, he plays with the crowd a bit then says he’s happy to fight for the UFC and is happy that his left leg never lets him down. He talks us through the finish and says this pretty much went to plan, he started to the body and went up to the head as the round went on. Asked what he’d like next he just thanks the UFC brass again, and says he’d love a fight with Sean Strickland. Joe Rogan comically can’t recall that Kopylov actually fights at middleweight and thinks he’s a welterweight. To close he says it’s time to toss out the rankings and he wants a shot at Strickland if at all possible then gives love to his team.

Really nice finish from Kopylov here, he feints the jab to draw a reaction and as Ribeiro is reaching with a lead hand hook he’s open to the head kick.

CJ Vergara has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in the UFC, he’s hoping to break that pattern as he’s coming off of a win and really wants to get his first UFC winning streak up and running here. Vinicius Salvador just had a four fight winning streak snapped in his UFC debut and now looks to get that all important first UFC win under his belt. We’ve got a close one here, -175 on Vergara to Salvador’s +140.

Flyweight Bout: Vinicius Salvador (14-5, 128.5 lbs.)* vs. CJ Vergara (11-4-1, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Salvador is an inch taller with an inch and a half of reach advantage, he also missed weight for this fight. They touch gloves to get us going, southpaw for Salvador. Salvador shows off some weird kicks as Vergara circles and shows off some stance switches. Bit of a body kick from Salvador. Vergara lands a jab. Leg kick from Vergara, then Salvador returns it. Vergara checks a leg kick. Bit of a right from Salvador. Vergara lands another leg kick. Salvador lands a leg kick. Vergara lands a right to the body then a left hook. Some vocal complaints from Vergara about an eye poke and we get a time out. The doctor comes in to check on Vergara, we get a replay and that looks like a punch to me not a poke. We’re back to fighting after a little over a minute. Vergara lands a right to the body. Both men miss lefts. Salvador avoids a left hook. Straight left from Salvador lands. Front kick from Salvador lands. Vergara lands a leg kick but he’s struggling to reach the taller man. Left hook from Vergara lands, then a front kick to follow up. Salvador lands a leg kick. Bit of a one two from Salvador. Vergara avoids a high kick, then misses one of his own to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Salvador but a close one

ROUND TWO: Vergara pushes forward and lands a right to the body. Body shot from Vergara. Salvador lands a leg kick. One two from Vergara partially lands. Body kick from Vergara then a leg kick. Salvador tries a cartwheel kick, partially successful. Some posturing from both men now, not a good look for either of them. Vergara keeps showing body attacks. Salvador lands a body kick of his own. Vergara lands a right to the body. Bit of a knee from Salvador after a failed takedown attempt. Vergara backs Salvador into the fence but is struggling to land real offense. Leg kick from Vergara. Hard left from Vergara then a body kick. Salvador lands a body kick. There’s not a ton of snap on Vergara’s punches and it’s starting to take the power out of his offense. They trade body kicks. Salvador lands a left to the body then a body kick. They clash on leg kicks, that looked painful. Vergara lands a couple of jabs, he’s backing Salvador up and lands a left hook. Another couple of punches from Vergara. Salvador eats a body kick and misses a left hand. They clinch up and hit the fence. Vergara lands a knee then an elbow as they break. They trade punches to close the round with Salvador landing the last blow as a left hand.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vergara but another close round, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Salvador comes out jabbing, then they trade leg kicks. Bit of an exchange of lefts. Vergara lands a body kick. Left to the body then a right hand from Vergara, then Salvador lands a right hand. Right hand from Vergara then a left to the body that seems to bother Salvador just a bit. Salvador blocks a head kick but he’s falling behind on the tempo. They trade rights then Vergara misses a head kick. Glancing one two from Vergara. Left from Vergara lands. Salvador lands a couple of body shots then a body kick. Vergara has a head kick blocked but lands a leg kick. Salvador lands a leg kick of his own. Left hand then a right hook from Vergara. Some more showboating from both guys. Salvador blocks a head kick. Vergara avoids a few punches. Body shot from Vergara then a left hook. Again Vergara lands a hook. Front kick from Vergara. Salvador avoids a clinch and misses some hooks. Short left from Vergara lands in close. Knee from Vergara in close. Vergara lands a left hand. Salvador lands a jab but he’s not doing much effectively this round. Vergara lands a left hand then a right hook. They trade one last time as the clock winds down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vergara but again close, 29-28 Vergara overall but who knows

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – CJ Vergara via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Surprised there wasn’t a scorecard for Salvador in there but I’m not complaining. No interview for Vergara.

Gabriel Bonfim is undefeated including a memorable UFC debut back in January, he’s trying to remain perfect here and continue working through his Contender Series contract as quickly as possible. Trevin Giles has gone 2-1 since dropping to welterweight and is on a two fight winning streak, if he can extend that to three in a row here it might get him a shot at a more recognizable name his next time out. The odds are with Bonfim at -340 while +280 for Giles might be a decent value bet.

Welterweight Bout: Gabriel Bonfim (14-0, 170 lbs.) vs. Trevin Giles (16-4, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bonfim is an inch taller while Giles has an inch and a half of reach advantage. Some early pressure from Bonfim, they trade punches in close. Giles lands a punch and they tie up. Takedown from Bonfim and he’s on top in leg drag. Bonfim moves to side control, then jumps for a guillotine as Giles stands. Giles tries to fight free but can’t attack the grip and has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gabriel Bonfim via Submission, guillotine choke, at 1:13 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Bonfim for his work this evening. Bonfim and the translator get an interview, he feels great and expects to be champion at some point in the future. He says he’s working hard to get better and he’s a better version of himself with every fight. When talking us through the finish he says there was no escape from that guillotine and he can catch anyone with it. To close he wants to fight Neil Magny next.

Here’s the finish. Bonfim has a lightning grip around the neck and catches fast so he can jump and finish it quickly.

Well that’s the prelims. We’ve got about 12 minutes before the PPV card starts so there will be vamping and hype packages to fill time before it starts.

Michael Chiesa is on a two fight losing streak and has been out of action since November of 2021, he’s back in action here and looking to get back on the winning side of things. Kevin Holland just broke a two fight losing streak by scoring a late stoppage over Santiago Ponzinibbio, he’s trying to build another winning streak here and possibly return to the top fifteen rankings if he can bets Chiesa. We’ve got a close one here but the odds are with the more active Holland at -145 to +125 for Chiesa.

Welterweight Bout: #12 Michael Chiesa (18-6, 170 lbs.) vs. Kevin Holland (24-9 1 NC, 169.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Holland is two inches taller with a notable five and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Southpaw for Chiesa. Some feinting as they circle. Bit of a right from Holland. Holland lands a couple of rights. Chiesa slips and Holland gets on top of him in his guard. They fight up and Chiesa lands a couple of uppercuts. Chiesa punches into a takedown attempt, he can’t finish it but does get a clinch on the fence. Chiesa tries an inside trip, can’t finish it though and Holland pushes free. Jumping knee from Holland mostly lands. Another knee from Holland and Chiesa reaches for a leg but Holland grabs a d’arce choke and is able to force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kevin Holland via Submission, d’arce choke, at 2:39 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Holland for his work this evening. Mic time for Holland, he talks about getting a real wrestling coach and feels that at 30 years old he’s finally finding his stride. He puts over his wrestling coach then talks us through the finish. Asked about the future he will fight anyone but wants to stay active, and says if he can’t get a BMF style fight at welterweight he’s moving back to middleweight because he wants to eat steak and have an easier weight cut.

Tony Ferguson used to be one of the best lightweights in the world including one of the longer winning streaks you’ll find at the UFC level when he won 12 in a row, but he’s now on a five fight losing streak and has been finished in three of those a couple of those being pretty brutal losses. If Ferguson wants to remain a relevant fighter in the division he cannot afford another loss here, the UFC record for longest losing streak is 7 held by BJ Penn and I kind of doubt it’s a record Ferguson wants to challenge. Bobby Green has gone 2-2 with 1 No Contest in his last five fights, he’s coming off of that No Contest when a clash of heads played into his win over Jared Gordon, but a win here would be one of the highest profile of Green’s career given the general profile of Ferguson. Green is one of the bigger favorites on the card at -360 to Ferguson’s +295.

Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson (25-8, 155 lbs.) vs. Bobby Green (29-14-1 1 NC, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ferguson is an inch taller with a notable five and a half inches of reach advantage. A lot of stance switching from Ferguson, per usual. Green does some switching as well. Right hand from Green lands. Ferguson avoids a one two. Bit of a left from Green. Ferguson tries a double leg, he winds up on the back standing though. Green fights out of the clinch and lands a knee. Body kick from Green. Some leg kicks go back and forth. Ferguson lands a left hand. Front kick from Green. Left then a right from Green both land. Ferguson lands a right hand that drops Green but he bounces back up. We get a time out for an eye poke to Ferguson. Replay confirms there was an eye poke. The doctor comes in to check on Ferguson, he can continue and wants to so we’re back to fighting after 1:40 and Green apologizes for that. More forward pressure from Ferguson. Bit of a right from Green. They trade jabs in close. Green lands a body kick. Both men miss punches and they reset. My feed goes a little wonky for a moment but we do see the end of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ferguson

ROUND TWO: Both men get back to moving around. There’s some swelling under Ferguson’s left eye, it bears watching. Both men land punches in close. Green lands a left hand. Calf kick from Green. Ferguson pushes close but can’t find a punch. Green lands another jab. Bit of a right from Green. Imanari roll attempt from Ferguson but Green stuffs it and lands punches from on top. Hammer fists from Green start landing as he avoids triangle attempts. Ferguson is bleeding from somewhere, can’t see where but there’s blood. Green passes to side control, then stands free as Ferguson scrambles around. Green goes back into the guard with more hammer fists. Ferguson is trying to get his guard working but Green is staying safe while landing strikes. Elbows from Green now, then more hammer fists. Ferguson tries some elbows from his back but he’s not finding much. Green stands free and they reset on the feet. Hard right from Green lands. Ferguson misses a few punches. Green with some jabs then misses an uppercut. They split jabs for a bit then Green lands a right hand. Green keeps jabbing and avoiding the counters. Some body kicks from Green. Green lands a couple of more jabs. They trade in close with Green landing the better shots to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Green, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Circling from Ferguson as the round starts. Green lands a right hand. Front kick from Ferguson, but Green trips him up then kicks him on the way up. One two from Green lands to counter a leg kick from Ferguson. Bit of a left from Green, then one to the body. Body shot then a right hand from Green. Ferguson lands a couple of jabs. Green lands another left to the body then a right hand behind it. Inside leg kick from Green then a jab. Green lands another jab. Left hand from Green lands. Right from Ferguson lands. Both men split jabs a few times. Green lands an inside leg kick then a one two. Another left from Green. Hard left from Green lands. Green lands another one two. Ferguson with a couple of front kicks then a leg kick. A right from Green off balances Ferguson but he lets him back up. Green lands another one two. Ferguson lands a right hand, he’s still pressuring forward. Side kick from Green lands. Green avoids a spinning attack and lands a right hand. Ferguson tries to roll for a knee, Green stuffs that and gets on top with more hammer fists landing. Green passes to half guard and looks for an arm triangle. That choke is getting tighter but he’s on the wrong side, then passes to the dangerous side and locks down the choke. Ferguson goes out cold just before the round ends.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Bobby Green via Technical Submission, arm triangle choke, at 4:54 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Green for his work tonight, that’s the first submission win for Green in almost a full decade. His last submission win was his UFC debut. Mic time for Green, he puts over his new grappling coach for drilling arm triangles with him. He puts over Ferguson’s toughness but he was patient and kept the momentum going. He talks us through the finish, noting he trained hard for Ferguson’s rolling attacks. Next he thanks Jeremy Horn, a Utah guy, for training him during his early career and then jokes with him that his speed and reactions still haven’t left him.

Derrick Lewis has gone 1-4 in his last five fights and is on a three fight losing streak, but despite that has retained a top ranking. If Lewis wants to hold onto that spot he can’t afford four losses in a row, even in a diminished division like heavyweight. Marcos Rogerio de Lima has gone 4-1 in his last five fights and is on a two fight winning streak, but if he can take out a former title challenger like Lewis it will be the biggest win of his career. The odds are with de Lima at -210 while +180 for Lewis has to tempt a few bettors out there.

Heavyweight Bout: #10 Derrick Lewis (26-11 1 NC, 263.5 lbs.) vs. #15 Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-8-1, 262 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lewis is two inches with four inches of reach advantage. Lewis tries a flying knee, doesn’t seem to land but he does push de Lima over and start landing punches from on top. Full mount for Lewis, de Lima rolls to his knees and looks to stand. Lewis keeps landing punches from the ride position and the ref jumps in to stop things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Derrick Lewis via TKO, punches, at :33 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lewis for his work this evening. Lewis removes his trunks in celebration before even being interviewed, then he puts them back on. Well Lewis threw his cup and his gloves into the crowd, OK then. Mic time for Lewis he didn’t plan to open with the flying knee but figured he’d start with “some bullshit” and see if it landed and it did. He also didn’t plan to take the shorts off, but you know “your dick has a mind of it’s own”. There’s only one Derrick Lewis people. He talks us through the finish and puts over his coaches for helping him drill and get ready, he says they’ve been training that knee for five years and he was about to give up on it. Asked about the future he notes he’s a free agent and while he’d like a new UFC contract if he can’t get it he’ll find fights anywhere. To close he warns his wife that he’s coming home to engage in some intimate activities.

Jan Blachowicz has one of the better recent light heavyweight runs you might find including winning the title in the division and successfully defending it once. Unfortunately his last couple of fights have been weird, a knee injury halting a fight with Aleksandar Rakic then fighting to a draw with Magomed Ankalaev in a fight for the vacant title. With that title vacant again right now Blachowicz is trying to stake his claim for another title fight with a win here. Alex Pereira is the former middleweight champion and while he’s coming off of losing that belt his frame seems much better suited for light heavyweight. Pereira might find himself in position to fight for the title in short order if he’s able to take out a former champion like Blachowicz in his first foray into the division. We’ve got a -110 pick ’em according to the odds.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #3 Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1, 205 lbs.) vs. Alex Pereira (7-2, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pereira is two inches taller with an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men probe with jabs, Pereira lands a calf kick but Blachowicz catches it and forces a clinch on the fence. Blachowicz is looking for a takedown, Pereira grabs a standing guillotine to dissuade him but Blachowicz is fine. Things are stalling out a bit, Blachowicz tries a takedown but Pereira is defending thus far. Pereira is landing some heel kicks to the calf while Blachowicz is just holding looking for a takedown. Blachowicz gets a takedown and gets on top. Pereira to his knees, Blachowicz jumps on his back and gets a body triangle. Choke attack from Blachowicz, Pereira is hand fighting though and blocking it from getting locked in. Pereira is trying to sling Blachowicz off his hip to one side but Blachowicz adjusts his position. Another choke attack from Blachowicz, they’re on the mat more fully but Pereira breaks the grip again. The round ends with Blachowicz still on the back.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blachowicz but might be a 10-8 argument in there

ROUND TWO: Pereira jabs the body then lands a calf kick. They trade calf kicks. Pereira looks to jab the body as he keeps moving forward. Blachowicz checks a calf kick, he’s really good at that. Both men look to establish the jab and trade calf kicks. Pereira lands a calf kick, he’s timing those nicely to mess with Blachowicz’s checks. Blachowicz lands a left hook. Right hand from Blachowicz. Pereira lands another calf kick, and Blachowicz has had enough of this so hits a double leg into the guard of Pereira. Pereira lands a few elbows from his back. Blachowicz lands a couple of punches. Pereira looks to start a wall walk, he’s up in the clinch. They trade some knees in the clinch while Pereira looks to get off the fence. Pereira spins free and gets back on offense. Bit of a head kick from Pereira then a jab to the body. They trade punches in close. Pereira avoids a takedown attempt and lands a calf kick. Blachowicz is fading a bit. They clinch again and trade knees then break. Lefts from Pereira against the fence, then a body shot. They trade lefts. Pereira jabs the body again then lands a couple of rights to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pereira, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Blachowicz looks exhausted. Pereira looks to kick, and lands a body kick. Blachowicz lands a jab but his punches are labored. Pereira lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Pereira, Blachowicz didn’t like that one. Blachowicz bulls forward and lands a body kick. Another calf kick from Pereira. Pereira lands a jab. Another calf kick from Pereira. Blachowicz blitzes and lands a couple of punches but there’s not much on them. Pereira jabs the body again. Another jab from Pereira. Blachowicz avoids a calf kick, but Pereira lands a right hand. Bit of a right from Pereira then a body jab. Blachowicz forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Pereira lands a knee then pushes Blachowicz away. Pereira lands a couple of calf kicks. Blachowicz keeps trying to come forward, and he lands an uppercut. Jab from Pereira. Short left hook from Pereira lands and rattles Blachowicz just a little bit. More jabs from Pereira and he’s got Blachowicz backing up. Bit of a left hook from Blachowicz but Pereira is happy eat these at this point. Calf kick then a left hook from Pereira. Pereira lands a calf kick. Blachowicz eats a left hook, tries to tie up and they just trade lets. More jabs from Pereira. Blachowicz hits a single leg and gets on top in full guard with 40 seconds left. Pereira looks to get moving but Blachowicz is fighting to keep him flat. They’ll end the round on the mat.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pereira, 29-28 Pereira overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Pereira via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

I’m a little surprised at the scorecard for Blachowicz, but he had moments in the third. Mic time for Pereira and a translator, he says the fight was hard but he feels he showed off his improvements and hopes to show off his full game soon. He is focused on the belt in this division and plans on fighting for it next. A few sponsors are thanked next then he says right now he’s focused on light heavyweight then once he’s champion here he might have other business. Asked about the weight cut here he says the cut was pretty easy as he had about 20 less pounds to take off. To close he says he’s been training hard and will keep doing so until he wins the belt.

Dustin Poirier is one of the finest lightweights in UFC history with a great record in the weight class and notable wins over almost all of his contemporaries. Poirier has twice fought for the lightweight title but was unable to best either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Charles Oliveira, but if he wants another shot at the belt he’ll need a win here. Justin Gaethje is an all action hero kind of fighter, much like Poirier he’s twice fought for the title but couldn’t get past either Nurmagomedov or Oliveira, but Gaethje has a loss to Poirier from back in 2018 and he’d like to make a case for another title shot but avenging that setback. The odds are with Poirier here at -150 to +130 for Gaethje.

Lightweight Bout: #2 Dustin Poirier (29-7 1 NC, 155 lbs.) vs. #3 Justin Gaethje (24-4, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gaethje is two inches taller while Poirier has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Poirier per usual, and they touch gloves to get us going. Both men show the jab early. They trade calf kicks. Poirier lands a body kick. Gaethje lands another leg kick. Another leg kick from Gaethje. Poirier is pressing forward and looking to engage. Bit of a right then a left from Gaethje. Right to the body from Gaethje. Bit of a left from Poirier. Gaethje lands another leg kick. Poirier lands a jab. Both men land in close, Gaethje is landing body work this time around which is interesting. Front kick from Gaethje. Poirier lands a body kick, then Gaethje lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Gaethje, then he fires a head kick that’s blocked. Poirier stalks forward looking to jab. Pull counter right from Gaethje lands. Poirier misses a left hand. Both men land rights in close, then Gaethje lands a left hook. Poirier lands a right hook to counter a body shot. Left from Poirier lands flush. Another left from Poirier stuns Gaethje, but Gaethje swings back and gets Poirier to back off. Some jabs from Gaethje now. Poirier lands a right hook, then Gaethje lands a leg kick. Gaethje is cut around the left eyebrow, but he lands a right hand. Left hand from Gaethje lands. Leg kick from Gaethje. Poirier blocks a high kick. Another leg kick from Gaethje lands then a right to the body. They trade rights in close to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Poirier but very close

ROUND TWO: Both men get back to feinting and moving. Gaethje lands a leg kick. Bit of a right to the body from Gaethje, he’s had success with that. Head kick from Gaethje ENDS Poirier out of no where! Good grief!

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Justin Gaethje via KO, head kick, at 1:00 of Round 2

Mic time for Gaethje he says you almost never get redemption in MMA, but getting a rematch with Poirier and being able to prove himself is pretty sweet. He put over Poirier as his favorite fighter, and notes luck is a big factor and he thanks God he came out on the right side of things. He notes that Poirier taught him a tough lesson and he thanks God for him and this was the result of the change he needed. Asked about the future he wants a title shot next, he’ll give maximum effort and allow luck and chance to fall where they may. He brings up not really drilling the head kick, but he felt very calm and like he was at home in here, then plays with the crowd a bit and could never dream of being here in this spot 10 years ago. When talking us through the finish he says he surprises himself, and he tried that against Fiziev and it was nice, but he knew that Poirier was looking for counters so showing the right hand meant the defense would come down just a bit. He landed that a few times in the first but this time it just got around the defense of Poirier and hit him just right.

Well on that very nice knockout note, UFC 291 comes to a close. We’ll be unpacking all the fallout from this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, plus looking ahead to UFC on ESPN 50 next week. I’ll be back for that event and I hope you will as will. Until next time I thank you for reading live or after the fact, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC 291, Robert Winfree