The UFC 291 main card continues with fights between Michael Chisea and Kevin Holland, Tony Ferguson and Bobby Green, and Derrick Lewis and Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Read on for best bets for each of these fights along with relevant UFC 291 odds and UFC 291 predictions.
UFC 291 Main Card Best Bets
It has been a while since we have had a PPV that looks stacked from top to bottom on paper, potentially giving us one of their better events in recent memory. Even with Stephen Thompson vs Michel Pereira getting canceled due to a missed weight cut, it has been replaced with a banger between two big men with Derrick Lewis slugging it out against Marcos Rogerio de Lima. For a breakdown of the top two fights on the card, you can read my breakdown here.
Michael Chiesa Vs. Kevin Holland
After taking an 18-month break since his last contest, Michael Chiesa makes his return to the octagon to kick off this star studded PPV. As for Kevin Holland, he has been as active as it gets as one of the UFC’s most electric fighters on the roster. Even four months off a broken hand he was able to get the KO/TKO victory in his most recent bout.
• 24-9 (1 NC)
• 13 KO/TKO
• 7 Submissions
• 5 Performance of the Night
• 1 Fight of the Night
Does "Trailblazer" add another highlight this Saturday?
— Combat Sports Today 📰 (@CSTodayNews) July 27, 2023
The vastly different results in this time gap gives me cause for concern of what we will see in this one as Chiesa will look to get his footing under him after such a long layover. As for Holland, it’s business as usual as an unorthodox type of striker with a massive reach advantage. Win or lose we can always expect Holland to apply the pressure from the opening bell.
Knowing this, Chiesa may opt into the idea of taking Holland straight to the ground and wasting time off the clock for a decisive victory. Holland has a decent grapple defense, being able to defend himself in transitions and forcing a stall out. While boring, we can at least make money on the over in what will be a very tactical type of fight.
Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds
Tony Ferguson Vs. Bobby Green
Once thought of as the most feared fighter in the division, Tony Ferguson’s age has been showing after losing five straight fights. He has been finished in three of those five fights, coming off a submission loss to Nate Diaz in his most recent bout.
Even as he ages and his chin weakens, Ferguson is still willing to scrap against the best of them. He presses on to his opponent from the rip, using a blend of precise strikes and elbows in an effort to catch his opponent as they back pedal. Even against the more energized Michael Chandler, Ferguson was still willing to keep it on their feet and trade blows.
While Bobby Green doesn’t necessarily possess the same type of power that Chandler does, he can still pick Ferguson apart with his quick speed and counter punches when they meet in the middle. While I think Green wins as Ferguson nears retirement, I will opt into the idea of the fight not going the distance as this should be a thriller from the opening bell.
Pick: Fight Does Not go the Distance
Derrick Lewis Vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Speaking of thrillers, the Stephen Thompson vs Michel Pereira replacement fight of Derrick Lewis vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima will feature explosions anytime these fighters connect against each other. Both fighters are trending in different directions as Lewis is on a three-fight losing streak while Rogerio has now won two in a row.
Even more intriguing is how well Derrick Lewis has transformed his body heading into this fight, now possessing abs on his massive frame. This leads me to believe that he has been working hard on his cardio as he has been prone to gas out quickly as the fights have moved on.
Even with his impressive new frame, I am backing my money on the more well-rounded Brazilian as Rogerio is capable of counter striking against Lewis’s power throws and will also have a massive advantage on the ground should this hit the mats.
While his ML is a little steep for my liking against a fighter who is capable of a flash KO in a moment’s notice, I will look to tie in his ML with something else to help cut down on the juice. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for an update on how to go about this fight.
Pick: Marcos Rogerio de Lima ML parlay piece