UFC 291 expert picks and best bets: Who will be the UFC's next BMF?


Lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje will fight for the UFC's BMF belt in the main event of UFC 291 on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV).

Poirier, No. 5 in ESPN's divisional rankings, will be competing for the first time this year. He beat Michael Chandler by submission in his last fight at UFC 281 in November 2022. Gaethje, ranked just ahead of Poirier, picked up a majority decision win over Rafael Fiziev in his last fight at UFC 286 in March.

In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Alex Pereira makes his 205-pound debut in the Octagon against former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Could this fight be for a spot in the next title bout following Jamahal Hill's vacating of the title due to injury?

Marc Raimondi spoke to UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa, to get his perspective on the UFC main event. ESPN's betting experts Reed Kuhn and Ian Parker add their insights and analysis on the main event and other intriguing bets they like on the card.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2