UFC books Dustin Poirier versus Justin Gaethje and Aljamain Sterling against Sean O'Malley

President Dana White confirmed numerous bouts for this summer, at UFC 291 and UFC 292

Dustin Poirier will face Justin Gaethje in a rematch of their 2018 Fight of the Year contender this summer. AFP
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UFC president Dana White has announced a raft of bouts for the promotion’s summer pay-per-view events, including a rematch between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, and a bantamweight title clash featuring Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley.

White confirmed the news in a series of videos on social media on Tuesday night, with Poirier-Gaethje headlining UFC 291 on July 29 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. The five-round bout, a rematch of the pair’s 2018 Fight of the Year contender, sees the UFC bring back the “BMF” title.

UFC 291 will also comprise a co-main event pitting against one another former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and ex-middleweight belt-holder Alex Pereira. The fight marks Pereira’s debut at 205 lbs.

Both former title challengers, Poirier and Gaethje represent the No 2 and No 3 contenders respectively at lightweight, and are considered two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. Their first encounter, in April 2018, was one of the most memorable fights that year, with Poirier defeating Gaethje by fourth-round TKO.

Since then, Poirier has registered six wins, including two against Conor McGregor – the first was staged in Abu Dhabi – and an interim title victory against Max Holloway. Poirier has two defeats in that time, too, both undisputed championship bouts, to Khabib Nurmagomedov – again in the UAE capital – and Charles Oliveira.

Gaethje boasts the same 6-2 record since his initial encounter with Poirier, with those two defeats coming also at the hands of Nurmagomedov and Oliveira. The former fell during the second Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi in October 2020.

Gaethje, 24-4 in professional MMA, last fought in March, when he recorded a majority decision victory against Rafael Fiziev. Poirier, 29-7, defeated Michael Chandler in his most recent UFC bout, submitting his American compatriot in the third round at UFC 281 last November.

The UFC 291 main card is completed with Paulo Costa’s return against Ikram Aliskerov, Tony Ferguson taking on Bobby Green, and Michael Chiesa facing Kevin Holland.

Meanwhile, UFC 292 will take place on August 19 at TD Garden in Boston, with bantamweight champion Sterling defending his crown for a fourth time, against No 2 contender O’Malley. The card includes two championship bouts: strawweight champion Zhang Weili puts her belt on the line against Brazilian Amanda Lemos.

Sterling, who successfully defended his title in Abu Dhabi last October, is coming off victory earlier this month in the main event at UFC 288, where he defeated former champion Henry Cejudo by split decision. He rides a nine-fight win streak.

O’Malley’s most recent outing came during UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi in October, with the American sealing a split-decision win against Petr Yan, another former champion. O’Malley is 16-1 as a pro, with Sterling 23-3.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 9:48 AM