UFC 291 takes place Saturday night in Salt Lake City, Utah, and features a BMF title fight as well as rematch between former title challengers Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. The co-main event, meanwhile, features a light heavyweight encounter as former champion Jan Blachowicz welcomes Alex Pereira to the 205-pound division. Elsewhere, former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson looks to return to the win column when he faces 155-pound veteran Bobby Green.

With what should be an great night of fights, here are three bold predictions for the UFC 291 pay-per-view event.

1. Justin Gaethje will knock Dustin Poirier out

The headliner between Poirier and Gaethje is a rematch over five years in the making and it promises to be an even more entertaining affair than the first fight. That meeting back in April 2018 saw Poirier absorb plenty of damage, but show a ton of heart as he eventually TKO'd Gaethje in the fourth round. However, that fight was also the last time we saw a “reckless” Gaethje. Since then, he's employed a more measured and calm approach — controlled chaos as he calls it — and he is yet to be knocked out since.

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It will certainly be interesting to see how this approach fares against Poirier as Gaethje could damage him a lot worse (see his Rafael Fiziev and Michael Chandler fights) while absorbing a lot less damage in the process as well. And let's not forget — while Gaethje was reckless against Poirier in their first meeting, it was still extremely back-and-forth with the latter having to reach his limits to get the victory. This version of Gaethje will be an even tougher test.

Whether “The Diamond” will have the same drive also remains to be seen given that he's a lot richer than he was (he can thank his two wins over Conor McGregor for that) compared to their first fight. All these reasons are why Gaethje can only beat Poirier — he could also potentially be the first fighter since Michael Johnson in 2016 to knock him out.

2. Alex Pereira will beat Jan Blachowicz

If you ask UFC fighters how the UFC 291 co-main event will go, just about everyone is leaning towards Blachowicz and with good reason. Blachowicz is a former champion, he's more well-rounded than Pereira and he's already defeated the Brazilian's arch rival in Israel Adesanya by not only grappling with him, but standing with him as well when they fought back in March 2021. If Adesanya could get grappled by Blachowicz — who is not a predominant wrestler by any means — Pereira's chances don't look too good considering he's much more inexperienced at the highest level of MMA. The odds suggest this as despite losing two of his last three fights, the Polish fighter remains a slight betting favorite.

That said, Pereira should still fancy his chances. For one, he's four years younger than Blachowicz who is now 40. He's the better striker, has the height and reach advantage, but most of all, he has something that Adesanya lacks and that's pure knockout power. Pereira's left hooks are legendary and that means while he can very well get taken down by Blachowicz, the latter will have to time it to perfection as he can not only get caught in the striking, but also be on the receiving end of a flying knee whenever he does shoot. Blachowicz is also getting older, so it wouldn't be a major surprise to see Pereira either knock him out or outpoint him for the decision.

Other than that, it just seems like destiny that Pereira will win his light heavyweight debut, eventually end up winning the title and then face Adesanya in a mouthwatering MMA trilogy fight.

3. Tony Ferguson will retire

Unfortunately, the man who was once regarded as the boogeyman of the division is now on a five-fight losing streak. According to the oddsmakers, that could end up being six when Tony Ferguson takes on Bobby Green on the UFC 291 main card. Of course, while Ferguson is past his prime, the reality is he's also been losing to killers like Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush to name a few. However, Green would be his first unranked opponent since 2016 and a huge drop down in level, especially as he's winless in three.

Many in the combat sports world believe Ferguson, 39, should have already retired by now. But if Ferguson is unable to beat someone like Green, even he might realize it's time to hang up the gloves. Sadly, it looks like he will end up losing his sixth fight in a row. It's been a storied and equally unfortunate career for “El Cucuy” as he never got a coveted undisputed lightweight title shot — and UFC 291 could mark the end of his journey.