The UFC brings an all-action headliner between Lightweights Dustin Poirier -145 and Justin Gaethje +128 to Salt Lake City, Utah. This PPV card is full of great matchups, including a Welterweight bout between fan favorites Michael Chiesa +126 and Kevin Holland -143. I broke down every matchup on the card, so let’s get into it.
Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 7/27/2023 11:20 PM EST
The BMF title returns for this battle of Lightweight strikers. Dustin Poirier has some of the best boxing in all of MMA with his long combinations, although he has struggled at times, even in his wins against Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler. Justin Gaethje is a powerful striker with a phenomenal left hook and right uppercut, not to mention his fantastic leg kicks; when his shot selection is on, he is tough to beat.
I like Gaethje in this one, as I think he has the power to give Poirier trouble and has grown tremendously since their first matchup.
Pick: Gaethje O/U: Over 2.5 -128
A new face battles a former champion in this huge Light Heavyweight clash. Jan Blachowicz has grown a lot over his career, showing a very solid kickboxing game with exceptional leg kicks, and his ground game has also been there against smaller opponents. Alex Pereira steps up to what is likely his proper weight class just a few months after his brutal knockout loss to Israel Adesanya in their rematch; his power remains unmatched in the UFC, with his signature left hook, although his grappling is a large concern.
I lean with Blachowicz in this one as I think he could use his grappling to dominate or keep it close in a striking match, although his age is a concern, and Pereira can give anyone trouble with one punch.
Pick: Blachowicz O/U: Under 1.5 +110
Welterweight strikers with very unique styles test their skills against one another here. Stephen Thompson has used his in and out striking to confuse opponents for his entire career, and he is coming off a fantastic performance against Kevin Holland, where he showed the speed and cardio are still there. Michel Pereira is a wild and powerful striker who has calmed down his style over his career, although his cardio is still not great, and he has been out volumed before.
I like Thompson in this one, as he should have the technical advantage in the striking, and I do not expect Pereira to attempt to grapple.
Pick: Thompson O/U: Over 2.5 -217
Veterans meet in this heated Lightweight matchup. Tony Ferguson looks to end his losing streak here back at his normal weight class, he has a tricky submission game and decent volume, but his speed is gone at this stage of his career. Bobby Green comes in with a trademarked hands-low style that has given opponents trouble for years, he has decent volume, but his power is not the most devastating.
I expect Green to win this one with slightly more volume, although, at this price, I can’t bet him. I did bet the over here, as both men have been historically durable and are more volume strikers than power punchers.
Pick: Green O/U: Over 2.5 -141
Here at Welterweight, we see a clash of styles featuring a veteran's return against a fan favorite. Michael Chiesa returns from a rather long layoff here; although he has been in camp for some time with a matchup with Li Jingliang fell through, he is a tremendous wrestler with good cardio, and although his striking is slow, he is not bad defensively. Kevin Holland stays active here, and I expect much of the same from him, a long, powerful striker who struggles with wrestlers who have good control.
I’ve got Chiesa here as I believe his grappling advantage will be too much for Holland to deal with, and he will control his way to a decision win.
Pick: Chiesa O/U: Over 2.5 +142
A bright prospect at Welterweight takes on a solid step up here. Trevin Giles is a talented fighter with a very impressive jab, although his durability is a slight concern. Gabriel Bonfim burst onto the scene to start the year with a quick submission win demonstrating his dominant grappling ability that has earned him fourteen finishes in as many fights.
I’ll pick Bonfim, but these odds are too wide for me to have any interest as he remains very untested, and Giles has the tools to win if this fight stays on the feet and gets into the later stages.
Pick: Bonfim O/U: Under 1.5 -152
Hard-hitting Heavyweights collide here. Derrick Lewis looks to get back on track after a few disappointing results; he remains a very powerful knockout artist, but the holes in his game have only become more apparent as he ages. Marcos Rogerio De Lima is an interesting talent for the division, as he has very nice leg kicks, a decent pace, and the ability to mix in grappling at times.
I’ll pick De Lima here, but as the odds have gotten wider, it has become less interesting to me as he is facing the man with the most knockouts ever.
Pick: De Lima O/U: Under 1.5 -217
Middleweight strikers with high finish rates clash in this one. Roman Kopylov comes into this off back-to-back knockout, showing he could win a straight striking match. Claudio Ribeiro bounced back from losing his UFC debut by dominating Joesph Holmes, showing major improvements to his grappling along with still powerful and fast striking.
At these odds, I lean with Ribeiro as I think the striking will be close, but I give Ribeiro the grappling edge, although his cardio is a concern, especially at Utah altitude.
Pick: Ribeiro O/U: Over 1.5 -147
Short-notice replacement takes on a developing talent here at Welterweight. Jake Matthews is a veteran who has developed a well-rounded game after showing a lot of improvements to his boxing recently. Darius Flowers comes in here on short notice as a fast starter off a weird win on the Contender Series as a big underdog, and he is also rather short for the weight class.
This is Matthews' fight to lose in my eyes, he is one of my most confident picks on the card here, and I think he finishes the fight as well.
Pick: Matthews O/U: Over 1.5 -128
Fun clash of Flyweights here. CJ Vergara is a high pace well-rounded guy coming off a wild comeback win where he outlasted Daniel Lacerda. Vinicius Salvador is a creative striker but is relatively low-volume and has little ground game to speak of.
I think Vergara takes this one as I give him the grappling and volume edge here, which I believe will get him the win.
Pick: Vergara O/U: Over 2.5 +110
Powerful finishers meetup here on short notice at Welterweight. Matthew Semelsberger has put on a lot of fun fights during his UFC run, showing a lot of power in his hands as well as good durability. Uros Medic steps up in weight here, boasting a lot of quick finishes on his record coming with his lighting fast hands, although he has yet to see deep waters in a fight leaving his cardio a question mark entering this matchup.
I like Semelsberger to get a knockout in the mid to later stages of this fight as I think he is durable enough to deal with any issues that Medic may cause early and eventually land a power shot as Medic has his gas tank tested.
Pick: Semelsberger O/U: Over 1.5 -133
Flyweights start off the night in an interesting stylistic matchup. Miranda Maverick turns around quickly after a disappointing showing at UFC 289; she is a well-rounded offensive fighter with solid boing and a good ground game when she is on top. Priscila Cachoeira is a hard puncher with three knockout wins in her UFC run, although she has struggled with grappling, having been submitted multiple times.
I’ll pick Maverick here as she will have a large grappling edge that I see her using to find a submission, and her standup is not bad, so I don’t expect much success from Cachoeira.
Pick: Maverick O/U: Under 2.5 -122
Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green Over 2.5