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UFC 291: Five things we learned

UFC 291 Results

UFC 291 Results
Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 291: Five things we learned

UFC 291 lived up to the hype and more. The card was packed with fun fights, finishes, and electric moments. It is difficult to ask for much more from a UFC card. Let’s run through the most important results from UFC 291 and discuss five things we learned.

Justin Gaethje wins the BMF title while earning a title shot

The UFC 291 main event featured a result that not many people were expecting. Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje recorded the biggest highlight of his career as he knocked out Dustin Poirier with a head kick. Gaethje added the ‘BMF’ Belt to his mantle as well.

The ‘BMF’ Belt was certainly a fun addition to Gaethje’s trophy case, but earning another crack at an undisputed title is far more impactful. While it is not official, it is nearly a guarantee that Gaethje fights for gold in his next bout. It is hard to deny him after finishing Poirier.

The lightweight division has a title fight booked. At UFC 294, Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira will compete for the lightweight title. Gaethje has positioned himself to fight the winner. Although, he could chase a money bout against Conor McGregor, who just called him out, instead. I doubt that is the outcome we get, however.

Alex Pereira can compete at light heavyweight

In the UFC 291 co-main event Alex Pereira proved that he can compete in the light heavyweight division. In his divisional debut, Pereira picked up a win over former champion Jan Blachowicz.

This was a strange bout. It never really felt like this fight was as intense as many expected and Blachowicz gassed out after grappling for a round. Still, Pereira came out on top which, for him, is more important than getting a flashy victory.

In the future, I will be highly concerned about Pereria’s grappling. Blachowicz was the first fighter to aggressively grapple Blachowciz and he found success in that realm. The only issue was that quickly gassed. If Pereira runs into an elite grappler at light heavyweight, he will struggle. Otherwise, the future is bright in his new weight class.

Pereira will likely fight for a title in his next bout. The UFC is searching for two fighters to fight for the vacant light heavyweight title. Pereira has put himself to be in a great position to be one of the two fighters competing for the vacant title.

Derrick Lewis remains electric

Derrick Lewis was one of the biggest winners of UFC 291. Lewis, who was fighting out the last fight of his UFC contract, knocked out Marcos Rogerio de Lima in less than a minute.

From a skills perspective, this was a great win for Lewis. At 38-years-old, Lewis entered the bout on a three-fight losing streak and had his career on the line. Despite having his back up against the wall, he landed a knockout shot and earned a win.

From an entertainment perspective, Lewis still has his fastball. After landing the knockout, he hit his iconic celebration, took his pants off in the octagon, and gave a hilarious octagon interview. Lewis is still as electric as ever.

It is time for Tony Ferguson to retire

UFC 291 did not net positive results for Tony Ferguson. The UFC legend suffered his six-straight loss as he was submitted in the third round.

It is time for Ferguson to call it a career. I take no enjoyment in telling any fighter to retire. Especially, someone that has impacted MMA to the extent that Ferguson has. The issue is that he has lost six fights in a row. Furthermore, you see his age in the octagon. If Ferguson passed the eye test we would be having a different discussion, but that is not the case.

This is honestly nothing new, it has been clear that Ferguson is passed his prime. The difference now is that he lost to an unranked fighter. It is different when you are losing to elite fighters like Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beniel Dariush and Michael Chandler. Now, he is coming off a loss to an unranked Green. That is not even counting his strange fight against Nate Diaz.

Ferguson should be given a hero’s send-off for all the outstanding fights he gave to the UFC. Hopefully, that is the ending we get.

Kevin Holland needs to stay at welterweight

Kevin Holland got the job done at UFC 291 as he submitted Michael Chiesa in the fight round. On the feet, he defended takedowns, landed shots, and punished Chiesa at the right time. It was a great game plan and he followed it to a tee.

The only issue I had with Holland’s performance at UFC 291 was that he expressed interest in returning to middleweight. Since dropping from middleweight to welterweight, Holland has gone 4-1 (excluding his catchweight bout with Chimaev). Now, he has picked up a ranked win at welterweight. If he wants to climb the rankings, his best chance is at welterweight. That gives him a solid height advantage and helps him defend takedowns.


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