What To Expect From All Fights At UFC 291

Jul 28, 2023, 6:11 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm

UFC 291...

(Photo courtesy of Chandler Holt, KSL Sports)

(Photo courtesy of Chandler Holt, KSL Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY – A total of 22 fighters will face off in 11 fights as part of UFC 291 on Saturday night in the Delta Center.

Salt Lake City will host its third UFC event in what many are calling the best card of 2023.

Early Prelims

Miranda Maverick vs. Priscila Cachoeira

The only women’s fight at UFC 291 should be a good one.

Coming off a loss in her last fight to Jasmine Jasudavicius, Miranda “Fear The” Maverick has redemption on her mind. She boasts a 13-5 record (4-3 in UFC competitions).

Cachoeira is 12-4 and has won four of her last five fights.

The two flyweights have very different fight styles. Cachoeira has seven wins by knockout, including one in her last fight against Ariane Lipski. Maverick has just one knockout which came in her first UFC appearance in October 2020. Over half of Maverick’s wins came by submission.

Favorite: Miranda Maverick

Matthew Semelsberger vs. Uroš Medić

These welterweights should put together a slugfest in the early prelims. Medić has just one career loss at 8-1. Semelsberger is 11-5.

Neither of these fighters has a ground game to be impressed by. But, if one was to pull out a win with wrestling, it would be Semelsberger.

If the fight goes longer than a round or two, Semelsberger would have Medić right where he wants him. Every one of Medić’s UFC competition wins came by a TKO in the first or second round.

Favorite: Matthew Semelsberger

CJ Vergara vs. Vinicius Salvador

Salvador will make his UFC card debut against Vergara in the final match of the early prelims.

All but one of Salvador’s 14 wins were knockouts while Vergara has a more even split of knockout and decision victories.

This is another fight that will likely feature much more striking than grappling. With a slight advantage in reach, Salvador has a fair shot at pulling off an upset.

Favorite: CJ Vergara


Jake Matthews vs. Darrius Flowers

The Celtic Kid and Beast Mode will kick off the prelims as the fans in the Delta Center prepare for the main card.

Flowers will be making his UFC card debut. His last fight was in Dana White’s Contender Series.

Matthews has lost two of his last three fights and will step into the ring for the first time this year in Salt Lake City.

Both fighters have an all-around game and should be respected on the ground and while standing. With a slight edge in grappling, Matthews could be seen as the favorite in this fight.

Favorite: None

Roman Kopylov vs. Claudio Ribeiro

Both fighters come in with impressive records, hoping to prove they are worth a fight later in the night.

Ribeiro, 11-3, and Kopylov, 10-2, are both coming off wins in their last appearance.

Ribeiro has the advantage over Kopylov in reach and weight. This is another fight where fans can expect a lot more punches than takedowns.

Favorite: Roman Kopylov

Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio De Lima

Lewis is seen as one of the better UFC fighters in history. But, after a streak of bad losses, he finds himself competing in the prelims.

UFC 291 will be Lewis’ 11th appearance on a card. He also holds the record for most knockouts in UFC history. However, Lewis has not won a fight since December 2021.

De Lima’s career record is 21-9-1. He has won four of his last five fights.

Both De Lima and Lewis are 38 years old and attempting to prove that they can still fight with the best of them.

EDIT: This fight was moved into the main card after Michel Pereira missed weight

Favorite: Marcos Rogerio De Lima

Gabriel Bonfim vs. Trevin Giles

An undefeated record is on the line in the final fight of the prelims.

Bonfim’s unbelievable ground game has led him to a 14-0 career record. On the other side, Giles has an impressive 16-4 record.

Eleven of Bonfim’s 14 wins came by submission. The other three were knockouts. In his last fight at UFC 283, he won by submission in under a minute.

Giles comes off of two decision victories. If Giles can keep Bonfim on his feet, he can hand the Brazilian his first professional loss.

Favorite: Trevin Giles


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Main Card

Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland

Holland is one of the most amusing fighters in the UFC. Known for poking jokes at his opponent and spectators in the middle of the ring, Holland’s skills are nothing to laugh at.

Chiesa has not stepped foot in the ring since 2021. He lost his last two fights before taking the two-year hiatus.

RELATED: Michael Chiesa Wears John Stockton Jersey At UFC 291 Press Conference

Most of Chiesa’s victories came by submission and Holland has been known to have subpar takedown defense. However, following his submission loss to Khamzat Chimaev in September 2022, Holland has made that a focus for improvement.

The result of this fight largely relies on how Chiesa will look in his return.

Favorite: Kevin Holland

Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green

Ferguson is a UFC great. But, like Derrick Lewis, he is coming off of the worst streak in his career.

Ferguson’s career record is 26-8 but he has lost five straight heading into UFC 291. Green comes off of a no-contest and hasn’t won a fight since February 2022.

With both sides being skilled fighters, it’s anyone’s best guess on how it will end. With a speed advantage over Ferguson, Green will look to fit in his shots and back away. Even in the latter stages of his career, Ferguson can deal a lot of damage.

Some fans speculate that a Ferguson retirement is a possibility if he were to lose a sixth straight to Bobby Green.

Favorite: Bobby Green

Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira

This fight was canceled due to Michel Pereira weighing in over the limit.

Favorite prior to cancellation: Stephen Thompson

Jan Błachowicz vs. Alex Pereira

Pereira’s move up to light heavyweight following his loss to Israel Adesanya has been a big topic of discussion.

At 6-foot-4, the weight class seems like it would suit him better. Plus, Pereira with more strength would be a scary sight. If he can move as well as he did as a middleweight, Błachowicz may not be ready.

Błachowicz is not someone to mess around with though. He is a great all-around fighter with a mean left hook. His odds against Pereira are significantly higher if he can do some work on the ground.

In any other card, this could be a main-event fight.

Favorite: Jan Błachowicz

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

“I don’t think it goes 25 minutes,” Poirier said. “If it does, me and him will chat about it in the hospital because that’s where we’ll be going.”

That quote basically sums up how the main event of UFC 291 will go.

Both fighters are 1-1 in their last two fights. Both losses came by submission.

It will be a slugfest. Gaethje has a chip on his shoulder from the last meet-up between these two and Poirier wants to keep his No. 2 ranking. Only one can claim the BMF title.

Favorite: Dustin Poirier

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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What To Expect From All Fights At UFC 291