Photo Courtesy UFC: The Gila Valley hopes Safford native Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje flips for victory Saturday night as he battles Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier for the BMF Title at UFC 291 on Saturday, July 29, in Salt Lake City at the Delta Center.
By Jon Johnson
SALT LAKE CITY – Has it really been five years since we last saw the first epic battle between Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje? And why has this rematch taken so long?
Come Saturday night the fight will be held for everyone to witness as Poirier (29-7, 1 NC) and Gaethje (24-4) headline UFC 291 at the Delta Center and live on pay-per-view.
The contest has a shot at “Fight of the Year” as Gaethje and Poirier previously received post-fight awards after their first contest and the stakes have only increased with their age.
Both fighters have gone 6-2 since their first fight, with each having lost to both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveria in title fights. Both are 34 years old and are ranked No. 2 (Poirier) and No. 3 (Gaethje) in the UFC Lightweight Division.
Gaethje fell to Poirier via strikes with .33 left in the fourth round on April 14, 2018, in just his third UFC fight. After the loss, Gaethje went on a four-fight win streak, culminating in defeating Tony Ferguson via strikes at 3:39 in the fifth round at UFC 249 on May 9, 2020, to win the Interim UFC Lightweight Title.
Some of Poirier’s highlights post-Gaethje fight include winning the Interim Lightweight Title with a five-round decision over Max Holloway and completing his trilogy with Connor McGregor by scoring consecutive victories.
With both fighters having improved and gained experience over the past five years, the headliner for UFC 291 could be the most epic fight of the year, but there will be contenders for the top fight of the night with a stacked undercard.
Other main card fights include a light heavyweight battle between Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira; Tony Ferguson versus Bobby Green in a lightweight match; Michael Chiesa versus Kevin Holland in a welterweight match, and the evening starts off with Stephen Thompson versus Michel Pereira in the welterweight division.