Battle of the 'ustins Act II is set to take place at elevation. As if Alex Pereira needed another reason to take his foot off the gas at some point, he can rest easy knowing these two violent gentlemen have 'Fight of the Night' honors wrapped up.
1. Dustin Poirier (29-7) vs. Justin Gaethje (23-4)
Hardcore History: Some might say he was always the original B.M.F., having soundly defeated a few of the most violent strikers in Lightweight history. His victims include Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor, Michael Chandler, and the man he's set to face on Saturday, Justin Gaethje. Introducing the next official heir to the BMF throne, The Cayenne King, The Lafayette Diamond, Dustin Glenn Poirier. He came from rags and fought his way into Juvenile Hall. Then he redirected his aggression towards octagon foes and found riches. Now he has a beautiful daughter that drives him to make the world a better place. He runs the highly praised charity 'Good Fight Foundation', orchestrated by him and his fiercely loyal wife, Jolie Poirier. Having been together for over 14 years and thriving, they work tirelessly to right the ship in their native state of Louisiana. Contributions include hundreds of thousands of dollars donated towards school equipment for impoverished children living in and around the Lafayette Parish. *Editors note: Highly recommend trying his hot sauce, every flavor kicks as much ass as he does.
Enter his very game opponent, Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje. Fresh off the heels of a nasty uppercut course dished out to the beast that is Rafael Fiziev. He is in peak performance and thirsty for revenge, with a renewed focus on well-rounded striking defense, Justin equally pulls inspiration from a hard-knock background. Justin grew up in a multi-generational mining family from Safford, Arizona. Right after graduation, he made the trip an hour northeast to the Morenci copper mine. Knowing even his mom worked the mine, he was compelled to spend 3 summers there, at just 18 years old. After that intense perspective-changing labor, he decided he had enough to suffice his entire life. He promptly accepted an offer to the University of Northern Colorado, despite his desire to stay local, U.N.C. offered an NCAA division 1 program he couldn't turn down. From there he learned enough to transfer his skills to MMA and the rest is history. From highly touted World Series of Fighting Champion to multiple-time UFC title contender, the competitive sports journey was the only life for him. Justin currently trains with Kamaru Usman and Head Coach Trevor Whitman at ONX Sports in Denver, Colorado.
Dave's Pick: Dustin Poirier is the favorite at -145, the total is 2.5 with th OVER at -140.
One of the best perks to having a business in which I get to make bobbleheads out of my favorite MMA athletes is that I actually get to know some of these guys. Dustin is my favorite active fighter, and he is all around great dude. Dustin has treated me so well over the years and he couldn't be a kinder person. With that said, you know what else he is? A total SAVAGE. He's 8-2 in his last 10 with the 2 loses coming from Charles and Khabib. Dustin also beat Gaethje back in 2018 by TKO and I think that he's gonna do it again. Dustin will have a 2 inch reach advantage, to go along with his superior striking defense. Dustin gets hit at a much lower rate than Justin, at 4.2 SAPM (Strikes absorbed per minute) vs. Justin whopping 7.7. Guys. THIS IS GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS FIGHT. Although both of these guys have stone cold knockout power, and the exchanges may get brutal, overall when you factor this crazy defensive stat in the mix over a 5 round fight, all signs point to Dustin coming out victorious. I'm taking Dustin at -145
2. Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) vs. Alex Pereira (7-2)
Hardcore History: No stranger to defeating a less experienced middleweight champion, Jan has what it takes to put Alex on his ass for 25 minutes with no hope of a ref stand-up. He took care of Alex's career rival, Izzy Adesanya, in early 2021. A former UFC champion with almost four times as many UFC fights as his opponent, in all likelihood he will do the same here. He is most likely the B-side to this confrontation, but that is in no way an indictment of his accomplishments, it's more telling of the eyes now intensely focused on the Brazilian powerhouse kick-boxer. Playing the B-side isn't new to Jan. According to tapology.com, he has been the favorite only twice in his last 13 fights but won 10 of them. Now he is the favorite, rightfully so, and credits most of his success to Robert Jocz. Robert is the head coach of the WCA Fight Team. Since rejoining his original team in 2017, he has made a return to form, honing in on the skills that got him to the UFC in the first place. It's interesting to note that the Warsaw-based fight team is located only 4 hours from his hometown in Cieszyn, Poland. I think it's safe to say, unlike many of his UFC counterparts, he thrives where he is most comfortable.
Welcome to the Light Heavyweight division Alex Pereira. We hope you packed a decent sprawl, you're gonna need it. In all reality, Alex isn't scared of an uphill battle, he grew up in a harsh neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil. He dropped out of school early and around 12 started working at an auto repair shop. After years of grueling work, that led him to extreme alcoholism and an impulse to fight. All his coworkers would drink and Alex stated that at one point it got so bad, he would drink as much as a liter of rum and a few beers every day. That would last almost a decade before he entered his first kickboxing gym, for almost 4 years thereafter he would continue to drink before he finally got sober in 2013. That same year he started kickboxing, winning his first 4 fights. He had his last kickboxing fight in 2021. Since then he has been fast-tracked to the Middleweight Title and traded brutal TKO/KO's with his number 1 rival. The x-factor in this fight will be his renewed gas tank, not having to cut so much damn weight. An extra 20 pounds should do wonders for a guy whose frame matches that of the larger Light Heavyweights.
Dave's Pick: Jan Blachowicz is the -125 Favorite with the total at 1.5 rounds OVER -150.
If there was ever a blue print that specifically gave a fighter a step by step guide for the path to victory, for Blachowitz, Pereira's fight against Israel Adesanya back in 2022 was it. I mean, what can you say about Alex's take down defense except that it was NON-EXISTENT? Is Alex going to be able to get up if he's taken down? Like, ever? Ok. I know, It's easier said than done. Jan still has to to walk through the fire of Alex's left and right hands (and legs) BUT if Jan does withstand the striking barrage, and he is successful in getting Alex to the ground, then what? Seriously, what happens next? Either Alex Pereira gets A) Beat up badly B)Held down and smothered or C) Gets submitted. Pereira already has a suspicious gas tank, and he'll be fighting at 4,000 feet. Guys, I'm going with Jan Blachowitz and his "Polish Power" in this one. This will be my play of the night.