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UFC 291 Best Bets: Top UFC Picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for UFC 291

Tim Finnegan gives his top picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for UFC 291.

UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC 291 is taking place on Saturday from Salt Lake City, Utah, and the main event is a lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. There is no official UFC gold on the line, but the winner of the fight will be given the “BMF” belt. The BMF belt is a celebratory title that is short for “baddest motherf****r”. Jorge Masvidal last won the BMF belt after beating Nate Diaz in November 2019, and Masvidal is expected to wrap the BMF belt around the winner’s waist inside the octagon.

The co-main event is a light heavyweight bout between former UFC champions Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira. This is Pereira’s first fight at light heavyweight as he moves up from middleweight to transition to a new weight class. After this fight was booked, UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill unexpectedly vacated the title after rupturing his Achilles tendon playing basketball, so this fight could have major title implications.

At UFC 290 earlier this month, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor had a huge win, turning just $20 into nearly $20,000 with a UFC Parlay Bet. The bettor placed a $20 Parlay Bet on DraftKings Sportsbook featuring the following nine UFC picks at +98506 odds:

  • Esteban Ribovics ML (-150)
  • Jesus Santos Aguilar ML (-145)
  • Cameron Saaiman ML (-500)
  • Vitor Petrino ML (-280)
  • Alonzo Menifield ML (+100)
  • Denise Gomes ML (+295)
  • Robbie Lawler ML (+220)
  • Dan Hooker ML (+215)
  • Alexandre Pantoja ML (+170)

As a result of all of these outcomes hitting in the Parlay Bet, the bettor took home $19,701.27.

DraftKings is hosting a big fantasy UFC 291 tournament that pays out $750,000 in total prizes, including $200,000 to first place. Enter the contest for only $25 here.

UFC 291 Picks

2-Pick Parlay Bet:

Alex Pereira Moneyline

Dustin Poirier Moneyline

Parlay odds: +239

($100 bet pays out $339)

Alex Pereira, the former UFC middleweight champion, is moving up to light heavyweight to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. This fight has multiple overlapping factors. In 2021, Pereira’s rival, Israel Adesanya, moved up to light heavyweight to face then-champion Jan Blachowicz in an attempt to become a two-division champion. Adesanya was unable to deal with Blachowicz’s size advantage, and Blachowicz took over in the later rounds with takedowns and top control to win a decision. Blachowicz took Adesanya down in each of the final three rounds and recorded over seven minutes of control time in the final 15 minutes of the fight.

If Blachowicz is going to beat Pereira, it will likely be via a similar strategy, because Pereira is very similar to Adesanya in terms of skill and style. Both Pereira and Adesanya are world-class strikers but lack a strong grappling background. Adesanya was able to fend off offensive grappling at middleweight, but once he moved up to light heavyweight, the size difference became too much, and Blachowicz was able to capitalize by taking Adesanya down and holding him in bottom position, which kept Blachowicz safe from Adesanya’s elite distance striking.

However, the major difference between Pereira and Adesanya is that Pereira is naturally much larger and will be coming into this fight significantly heavier than Adesanya did when he moved up to light heavyweight. Adesanya weighed only 200.5 pounds for his fight against Blachowicz, and after Blachowicz was able to re-hydrate post weigh-ins, he weighed around 220 pounds, giving him about a 20-pound weight advantage over Adesanya. Pereira was monstrously large for middleweight and reportedly weighs around 230 pounds as he prepares for UFC 291, so it appears that Pereira will enter the octagon against Blachowicz as the larger fighter.

Pereira is a murderous striker who has arguably the greatest left hook in the history of MMA. Pereira’s left hook put Adesanya’s lights out in their second kickboxing match and was a key part of the final combination Pereira used to finish Adesanya in their first UFC fight, where Pereira won the middleweight title. Pereira’s striking is very diverse, and he attacks everywhere, from calf kicks to high kicks to a stinging jab to a power right hand to his left hook of death. Pereira is also very rangy and elite at distance management, which generally keeps him safe from return fire. Pereira will have a significant edge in distance striking as long as he can keep this fight standing. Blachowicz is also an orthodox fighter, which is notable because his lead defensive shoulder is on the opposite side of Pereira’s left hand, which could make him vulnerable to that left hook at some point during the fight.

Pereira has been taken down before, most notably in his fights against Andreas Michailidis and Bruno Silva, where Michailidis and Silva both took Pereira down twice. However, Pereira was able to keep his back off the mat and quickly get to his feet, which kept him out of danger on the ground and allowed him to return to his distance striking game. This fight is also taking place at altitude in Salt Lake City, which can affect the cardio of fighters. Relentlessly hunting takedowns can be exhausting, and it’s possible Blachowicz’s gas tank is kept in check enough to keep Pereira upright, especially the longer the fight goes on. As long as Pereira can keep this fight standing, he has an excellent chance to emerge from this bout as the winner.

Pairing Pereira and Dustin Poirier together in a Parlay Bet increases the potential payout. Poirier already has a win over Justin Gaethje, finishing him via strikes in 2018. In that fight, Poirier out-struck Gaethje 174 to 115 in significant strikes landed. Poirier is the better technical fighter between the two, as Gaethje tends to fall into wild brawls that cause him to absorb a massive amount of strikes. Gaethje has absorbed nearly eight significant strikes per minute, which is one of the highest rates you’ll see by any top UFC contender. Poirier will be in a good position to take advantage of Gaethje’s wild style in the rematch and win this fight.

To place a UFC Same Game Parlay (SGP):

  1. Find a fight that has the SGP icon in the left corner.
  2. Click the SGP icon. Once you click the SGP icon, all available bets will appear.
  3. Build your Same Game Parlay. Combine multiple bets from one fight. The more bets you combine, the more you can win.
  4. Place your parlay. Add your Same Game Parlay to your bet slip, enter your wager amount, and submit your bet.

Learn more about SGPs at the DraftKings Sportsbook SGP page!

Place your UFC bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.