The UFC’s BMF title is back in circulation, and two of the most exciting fighters on the planet are set to face off for the UFC’s unique championship belt on Saturday, July 29.
Former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje have been booked to face off for the BMF title in the main event of UFC 291, which takes place at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The bout is a rematch of their meeting at UFC on Fox back in April 2018, when Poirier defeated Gaethje by fourth-round TKO in Glendale, Arizona. Since that bout, both men went on to capture the interim UFC lightweight title, but both fell short of capturing the undisputed title.
Now the pair are set to meet again with a different title on the line. The BMF title was originally introduced as a one-off championship for the bout between crowd-pleasers Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in November 2019. Masvidal won the belt with a third-round TKO victory. But now, after Masvidal’s retirement from the UFC, the promotion’s management have opted to bring the BMF belt back into circulation, with Poirier and Gaethje – arguably the two most exciting fighters in the world – set to face off for the “Baddest Motherf****r” title in Salt Lake City.
Joining the Poirier-Gaethje fight is a host of potentially explosive matchups, including the light heavyweight debut of former middleweight champion Alex Pereira, who will be welcomed to the division by former 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz.
Lightweight entertainers Tony Ferguson and Bobby Green are set to meet in a matchup that looks sure to deliver fireworks, while Brazilian powerhouse Paulo Costa takes on 14-1 Russian Ikram Aliskerov in an intriguing clash at 185 pounds.
A host of other familiar names will also be in action, with former world title challengers Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Derrick Lewis both scheduled to face Brazilian opposition in Utah. Welterweight striking specialist Thompson will take on the spectacular Michel Pereira, while heavyweight knockout king Lewis takes on fellow striker Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
The event is the culmination of a new partnership struck between the UFC, the Utah Sports Commission, and the Smith Entertainment Group, with an absolutely stacked lineup set for the show, which will be the third UFC event to take place in the state following UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Caceres in August 2016, and UFC 278: Usman vs. Edwards 2 in August 2022.
“I’m excited to return to Salt Lake City, which has one of the nicest arenas in the world,” said UFC president Dana White.
“The fan response last year was incredible and this time we’re bringing one of the most anticipated cards of the year with two of the baddest fighters in the world for the BMF title.
“I want to thank the Utah Sports Commission and Smith Entertainment Group for their continued support. UFC 291 will be one of the biggest events of the year.”
President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission Jeff Robbins commented, “Last year’s epic UFC 278 Pay-Per-View event brought huge economic impact and tremendous global media exposure to Utah: The State of Sport.
“With that success we are excited to partner again with the UFC, Smith Entertainment Group and welcome some of the top MMA fighters in the world as we play host to UFC 291: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.”
Chairman of Smith Entertainment Group Ryan Smith added, “We couldn’t be more excited to have UFC back to Salt Lake City. UFC 291 will be one of the most anticipated sporting events of 2023, and we’re all in on hosting it at the Delta Center.
“Utah is a premier sports and entertainment destination, and SEG is committed to bringing world-class events to the state and providing exceptional experiences to fans, talent, and organizations while they are here. We’re thrilled about our continued partnership with UFC and Utah Sports Commission. We look forward to hosting another successful fight night.”
UFC 291: Confirmed fights
- Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje – for BMF title
- Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira
- Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green
- Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov
- Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira
- Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
- Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland
- Matthew Semelsberger vs. Yohan Lainesse
- Roman Kopylov vs. Claudio Ribeiro
- Trevin Giles vs. Gabriel Bonfim
- CJ Vergara vs. Vinicius Salvador
- Joanne Wood vs. Priscila Cachoeira